Keep on Truckee

Today’s Zippy, back in Dinerville:


The diner in question is pretty much instantly identifiable as being in Truckee CA, though Bill Griffith has obscured its full name. In its current incarnation:


And there’s a story.

But first, the actual strip, which has several puzzling points. There is the character Merle, who seems to have no precedent in earlier Zippy strips and seems not to be an allusion to a specific Merle (certainly not Merle Kessler, of Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater and more), so might be serving as an all-purpose nerdish figure. The reference to snow in Truckee is certainly germane, since Truckee is one of America’s snowiest locations — but it doesn’t snow there in July or August, which are almost breath-takingly pleasant (except for the occasional intense thunder storm). And then there’s “We’ll All Flow Together When We Flow” in the last panel, which is a play on Tom Lehrer’s “We Will All Go Together When We Go” (recorded on More of Tom Lehrer, 1959), seen here in live performance (by a young Tom): (#3)

Back to Truckee, located near the Sierra Nevada crest, about 9 miles east of the Donner Pass (which lies above Donner Lake), on the Truckee River (the only outlet of Lake Tahoe). And the site of JAX at the Tracks (#2 above), which describes itself on its (self-promoting) website this way:

Housed in an original 1940s diner next to Truckee’s downtown railroad tracks [on West River Road], JAX offers honest food with a twist.

From the in-house history:

In 1992, successful San Francisco restaurant entrepreneur Robert Carey decided that the Sierra Nevada town of Truckee, Calif., where he owned a second home, was ripe for a restaurant that offered great food at affordable prices.

“There just wasn’t anything available in Truckee at the time,” Carey explains. “Then I thought: ‘let’s bring a classic American diner to Truckee.’ I always say there are no accidents and on the very same day I picked up the Wall Street Journal and read an article about a man who was saving these historic diners from the wrecking ball.”

After much research, Carey found the Birmingham Grille, a 1948 Kullman diner that was for sale outside of Philly [outside of Philadelphia, in West Chester PA].

… Eventually the diner was delivered to its new Truckee home. Carey and his son Andy took on the task of the meticulous 1.2 million restoration. On Dec. 6, 1995 Andy’s Truckee Diner opened its doors for business.

Later the diner was sold to new owners and became JAX.

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