Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Pop into Grayling‘s Bottle Cap Museum & ‘50‘s Diner

Al Parker - October 19th, 2009
Pop in to Grayling’s Bottle Cap Museum & ’50s Diner

By Al Parker 10/19/09

Tucked along East Michigan Avenue, just off Grayling’s main drag, is a classic ‘50s style diner that houses a 10,000-piece museum that pays homage to the world’s largest beverage company, Coca-Cola.
Dawson & Stevens Classic ‘50s Diner and Soda Fountain is home to the Bottle Cap Museum, Northern Michigan’s largest privately owned collection of all things Coke – century-old bottles, carriers, trays, posters, playing cards, bottle caps, barrels, ads, baseball cards, coins, dolls - even an original Coca-Cola delivery truck that came across Lake Michigan from Minnesota.
“Unfortunately, we’re only able to have about half of it on display at any one time,” says Marianne McEvoy, the curator of the Bottle Cap Museum. “We rotate items in and out of storage.”

But the amazing Coke collection is not the only thing that draws visitors from as far away as Japan, Kenya, New Zealand and Russia. Under the direction of manager Laura Serum, Dawson & Stevens serves up some serious diner food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast is served from 8 to 11 a.m. and features eggs, pancakes and classic three-egg omelets all made to order.
The lunch bunch can choose from almost 20 different sandwiches, all named after pop songs and personalities from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Try a “Soldier Boy” with corned beef, swiss, kraut and 1,000-island dressing on lite rye ($6.99) or a “James Dean” classic third-pound of beef on a grilled bun with your choice of toppings with fries ($4.99-$5.99).
“We have daily soup specials and all our soups are homemade,” says Serum.
Vegetarians can choose from five different entrées, including the popular “Johnnie Be Good,” stacked avocado, lettuce, tomato, Monterey Jack and special sauce on veggie bread ($6.29).
Dinners are named after popular dances, such as “The Stroll,” fried butterfly shrimp ($9.99), “The Sock Hop,” beef and shrimp, ($13.99) and “The Hustle,” ham steak platter ($8.99). Each dinner entrée includes a side salad, dinner roll and choice of baked, mashed or French fried potato.
The authentic soda fountain is ringed by shiny chrome stools where guests enjoy hand dipped ice cream, shakes, malts, phosphates, old-fashioned sodas and 12 specialty sundaes.
The “Good Golly Miss Molly” is for the heftiest of appetites, but not for the faint of heart. It features one scoop of each gourmet ice cream, flooded by a dollop of each available topping and smothered in a mountain of whipped cream. At $36.99 it’s more than a meal in itself.
Between the impressive Coke collection and the classic diner cuisine, Dawson & Stevens has been drawing crowds, according to McEvoy. “We have a large number of bus tours, senior citizen groups, birthday parties, and school classes that enjoy visiting our restaurant,” she says. “All we ask is that they call ahead for a reservation so we can best accommodate them.”

The original business was founded by Earl Dawson in 1938 as a retail store that included a bustling soda fountain. An electrical fire destroyed the business in 1957, but it re-opened a year later under the direction of Devere Dawson and his wife Pauline, who ran the business for five decades before it was bought by Russell and Jane Stevens in 1994.
The Stevenses transformed it into more of a restaurant and ran it until 2004 before selling it to Bill Gannon, the founder and owner of Gannon Broadcasting and the Bear’s Den Pizzeria.
“We ran it for a year, then closed for 18 months to make renovations,” he recalls. “We expanded the seating to 110 seats. The most important thing we wanted to do was make the upgrades in the building, but we didn’t want to destroy the feeling of the original soda fountain atmosphere.”
Gannon later purchased The Bottle Cap Museum, a sprawling 7,000 piece Coca-Cola collection from Bill Hicks who had operated the museum in Sparr for a decade. Over the years, Gannon has added another 3,000-plus items to the inventory.
“We’re one of the few museums with no admission fee,” says McEvoy, who lives in Traverse City and commutes to Grayling a couple times a week to work on the Coke collection. “Bill wants to keep it that way. He wants to make sure it’s accessible to the community.”

Dawson & Stevens Classic ’50s Diner
& Soda Fountain, at 231 East Michigan Ave. in Grayling is open Sunday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information or takeout orders, call (989)348-2111 or go to

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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