Twede’s Café in North Bend, Washington would be your average small-town diner if not for “Twin Peaks.” David Lynch and Mark Frost picked the restaurant to serve as the fictional Double R Diner on their ABC cult favorite series and its acclaimed follow-up run “The Return” on Showtime, which has made Twede’s Café a booming tourist attraction for Lynch fans around the world. Rachel Bennet, a North Bend native, became the new owner of the diner with her husband, Max Spears, on February 29. Ironically, Bennett tells GrubStreet in a new interview that it took her a long time to become a “Twin Peaks” fan.
“I think growing up in the area, it was just too much of a thing,” Bennett said, “My very first job was at this place — it doesn’t exist anymore — called the Fall City Grill, and it was also featured in ‘Twin Peaks.’ It was in ‘Fire Walk With Me’ as the Haps Diner. As a 14 or 15-year-old, I would interact with ‘Twin Peaks’ fans. There was already such a cult following, and they would come in, busloads of people, and try to talk to me about the show. I just thought that they were weird!”
Bennett met even more “Twin Peaks” fans when she went to Evergreen State College, all of whom thought she was cool for growing up in the town where Lynch and Frost shot the series.
“Over the years, I was like, ‘I really need to give it a shot and see what all of the fuss is about,'” Bennett said. “I tried watching the pilot episode a couple times, but it’s 90 minutes long, and I’d fall asleep every time. I really think it took living here again, because it makes the experience much cooler. We’re in it and there are all these places I know really well. I went to the high school featured in the show, you recognize the roads they’re driving down.”
While she’s a later-in-life “Twin Peaks” fan, Bennett remains committed to ensuring Twede’s Café is a memorable dining experience for “Twin Peaks” fans with fond memories of the Double R Diner. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bennett pivoted the diner to takeout only and managed to stay afloat thanks to a government loan.
“When it was takeout only, we were not making money at all,” Bennett said. “We would’ve lost a lot of money because we were keeping our staff on, but we did get one of the PPP loans. The one we applied for was for over $100,000. That was huge for us, in that we didn’t have to think about our sales for two months, which was most of when we were takeout only. It allowed us to pay everybody as if we were open for regular hours. The sales we were doing were just paying for the food we were buying and nothing else.
Bennett added, “We keep saying to ourselves how lucky we are that this is the restaurant that we bought because there are so many people who care about it, want to see it continue, and have embraced us as owners.”
Head over to GrubStreet’s website to read more about the new owners of the real Double R Diner.