May 19, 2023
The R & S Keystone Diner, a family-run restaurant in the Philadelphia suburbs, served its last guests Thursday after 75 years of business.
The restaurant opened as the R &S Grill in 1948 on Line Lexington Road in Hatfield, Montgomery County, but moved to its current location at 4714 Bethlehem Pike in Telford, Bucks County in 1960.
Owner JoAnn Kerr, who took over the business from her parents, Butch and Thelma Ruth, in 1981, told WFMZ-69 that the diner's closure is "bittersweet" because she's worked there since she was a teenager.
Kerr listed the business for sale three years ago. The building will remain, but it won't survive as a restaurant. Instead, it will become home to Weaver, Reckner & Reinhart Dental Associates, which is moving from an office down the street.
Customers who paid final visits Thursday told the Bucks County Courier Times that they'll miss the homey environment.
"I've been coming since I was born. We have so many memories here. I don't think any other place will feel this way," said Sellersville resident Sue Benner, who used to eat at the diner with her grandparents, and later her husband and kids.
Classic diners in the Philadelphia region have been dwindling over the last decade. Little Pete's in Center City, the Trolley Car, the Ridge Diner and the Oak Lane Diner all have closed during that timeframe. And last month, the Cherry Hill Diner on Route 38 in New Jersey closed after 58 years. It will be replaced by a car wash.
In Philadelphia, diner owner Michael Petrogiannis plans to redevelop the lots of South Philly's Melrose Diner and Broad Street Diner. Petrogiannis, who also owns Northeast Philly's Country Club Diner and the Mayfair Diner, said the Melrose Diner will stay at its location. Plans for a 29-unit apartment building at the site of the Broad Street Diner include commercial space on the ground floor, although it's not yet clear if the diner will stick around.
Kerr shared her gratitude for the regulars and guests who have patronized the R & W Keystone Diner over the years.
"Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. You are what's made us been here for 75 years," Kerr told WFMZ-69. "I just hope my mom and dad are proud of me."