In the small town of Stormsrivier or Storms River Village off the N2 between Plett and Humansdorp is a memory not to be forgotten. Storms River is a quiet, untouched town right in the middle of the Tsitsikamma Forest. In the centre one will find one very retro, neon rimmed eatery ‘Marilyn’s 60s Diner’ that should not be missed.

I was entranced from the moment that I set my eyes upon the cafe and like all who walked past, was immediately drawn to the interior decorating, vibrant atmosphere and fitting 60’s music playing from a juke box in the corner. The diner is decorated from the inside out with Marilyn Monroe Canvas Photo Boards, Elvis Presley Head Shots, James Dean Posters and Beatles Records. The diner leads into a ‘Garage’ of sorts where four 1950’s Cadillac’s have been polished and are shown in pristine condition automatically pulling you into your own Grease dream world.  Further along a classic bar and ice cream parlour has been set up where one can purchase memorabilia and take a peek at a genuine 1960’s pin ball machine.

The Diner itself forgoes no detail from the checked floors to the red & white colour scheme and sugar shakers.  Like the classic diner of the movies this restaurant serves everything from breakfast, cakes and milkshake numbers to All American Cocktails, burgers, steak and diner style deserts. The menu proved to be a great read with breakfast specials named ‘The New Yorker’; ‘Egg Florida’ or ‘The All American Breakfast’. Grills & Fries were even more fun to read all named after Marilyn Monroe movies such as  ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (grilled BBQ pork baby back ribs); ‘Some like it Hot’ (Rump 300g) or ‘Love Nest’ (A mixed grill with 150g Rump Steak, 100g Boerewors, one lamb chop, served with fries, onion rings and a fried egg ). Other menu sections were cleverly headed ‘Bus Stop Legendary sides’ including classic American Onion rings and Chilli Cheese Fries and ‘All Cruisin Sandwiches’. Sparing no information each alternate page provided a brief biography of stars such as Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

Much to my delight our soda floats and milkshakes were served in classic milkshake and ice cream sundae glasses with tall spoons. Waiters were friendly all wearing jazzy sequined top hats or berets and I wouldn’t have been surprised had they glided in on roller blades. Prices were acceptable (classic burger costing R49) and well worth the scenery. The bathrooms too were impressive and of hotel standard – clean and luxurious with added extras like Woolworth hand cream and clean, individual face cloths.

Also home to a distinctive music journey ‘The Elvis Festival Africa’ running from 29 April to 2 May boasts an impressive line-up including Miss Marilyn Beauty Pageant; “Almost Elvis” Singing Competitions; SA Elvis Tribute Artists, classic cars display and much more.

Without exception this American Style 50’s and 60’s diner is not to be skipped and as stated by my father is “worth travelling to”. Next time you’re travelling along the garden route, make a turn into Stormsrivier and take the time to remember and enjoy all the posters, musical numbers and memorabilia on display at this fantastic establishment.

For more info visit: www.elvisfestival.co.za

Robyn Smith (@RobynLeaSmith)

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