Iconic Dan’s Diner moving from 28th Street to Muskegon

Muskegon County

An image provided by My Auto Import Center shows Dan’s Diner, previously known as Pal’s Diner, lifted off its foundation ahead of its move to Muskegon. My Auto Import Center is owned by Mark and Scott Campbell, who bought Dan’s Diner in 2021.

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time in decades, the shuttered iconic Dan’s Diner is getting ready to hit the road.

Previously named Pal’s Diner, the restaurant stationed on 28th Street SE in Cascade Township for about 25 years shut down in November.

“2020 and the pandemic were just too much for us,” Dan’s Diner posted on its Facebook page at the time.

Months later, Scott Campbell and his father Mark Campbell, who also founded Muskegon Bike Time, struck a deal to buy the diner. Their plan: move it to their Hot Rod Harley-Davidson dealership in downtown Muskegon.

Scott Campbell said they’ll restore the 828-square-foot landmark, fixing its neon signs and lighting and adding some historical elements. However, there are no immediate plans to reopen the diner as a full restaurant.

(Left: An photo of Dan’s Diner before its November 2020 closure. Right: A 2021 photo of Dan’s Diner on lifts before its move to Muskegon, provided by My Auto Import Center.)

“We’re just excited to create another attraction and also save the history of this diner and continue it on in the future,” Campbell told News 8 Wednesday.

Dan’s Diner started as Pal’s Diner in Mahwah, New Jersey, in 1954.

“It’s got a really cool past. Les Paul used to eat breakfast in there,” Campbell said.

The restaurant’s third set of owners moved the entire diner car from New Jersey to Cascade Township in 1993, reopening the restored restaurant in 1996. The last owner, Dan Chudik, adopted and renamed the restaurant after the third owners retired in 2017.

Campbell, an Ada native, grew up going to the diner, where some of his friends worked and classic cars would stop for photos.

“On Thursday nights, they used to have a photographer come out. They would wet the pavement and shoot photos of the neon reflecting on the cars, and have the photos framed,” Campbell recounted.

He hopes to restart that tradition as soon as next year. But the first step is to move the diner onto a foundation butted up against Hot Rod Harley-Davidson, where it will overlook Muskegon Lake.

While Pal’s Diner will be located next to a bar, Campbell says he has no intention to run it like a bar or nightclub. Instead, he envisions bikers and other travelers visiting for photos and sunsets. Eventually, Campbell says the diner may serve a single iconic food, similar to how Pronto Pups operates.

“It’s going to be an exciting thing. We want it to be fun, we want it to be something that’s an attraction to downtown Muskegon,” said Campbell.

The 60,000-pound diner is off its foundation, ready to be transferred to a trailer for the 51-mile journey, which is expected to happen at the end of the month.

“We’re just excited to have it carry on,” Campbell added.

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