DERRY — It’s known for its 1950s atmosphere, fast service and a place to see some famous faces.
But MaryAnn’s Diner is probably best known for the food that makes it worth driving miles out of the way to get.
That’s why the East Broadway diner is one of “603 Reasons” readers say New Hampshire is special.
For many, a visit to MaryAnn’s is like taking a step back in time when Elvis was America’s heartthrob and poodle skirts were popular.
Icons from the 1950s, such as Chubby Checker and Rex Trailer, have been there.
“I love it here,” said Brenda Carr, 74, “This is our era.”
Carr and her friend, Roger Comeau, were traveling recently from their homes in Lynn, Mass., to Lake Winnipesaukee and decided to take a worthwhile detour to MaryAnn’s.
“I will always make a stop here,” Comeau said.
He comes to the Granite State about six times a year to visit the North Country and go skiing. Carr and Comeau said they love the food, friendly servers and fast service at MaryAnn’s.
It’s those qualities that bring in a large breakfast and lunch crowd every day, manager Karen Lewis said.
“They come in for the atmosphere, but the food gets them,” she said.
The food certainly got Derry resident Jim Hoole, 67.
“The menu is excellent,” he said. “It’s really friendly here, good food.”
One recent morning, Hoole ordered the “Hungry Boy Special” — three eggs, pancakes, home fries, ham, bacon, sausage and toast.
Comeau and Hoole said they weren’t surprised to hear that the family-run restaurant, now in its 25th year, is a well-known campaign stop for presidential candidates.
“It looks like the kind of place John McCain would go to,” Comeau said.
Past visitors also include former President Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Bill Bradley, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Their photos, many taken with owner Bill Andreoli, grace the walls of the eatery.