This week the Bulldog Diner is proudly showing off a fresh, new look inside while continuing to serve the same great meals that residents here have come to expect. Tucked away on the corner of Main Street and Lowry Drive, the diner just underwent an interior ‘facelift’. The dining room has been rearranged to make it feel less crowded and a new prep cooler, located next to the grill, is making it much easier to serve customers quickly and efficiently. The walls, ceiling and cabinets have also received a new coat of paint. This work has been completed by owner Toni Willis, her husband John and a valued customer. Toni and John have been married for seventeen years and have five children between them. They also have four grandchildren.
The Bulldog Diner first opened up in the early 1970’s as a “Scotty’s” in a double-wide trailer. It has changed names various times in the past 4 decades. Toni, a graduate of Milton-Union High School, first started working at the diner when it was called the Friendly Fox and she was just 14 years old. Back then she waited the counter and cooked. There was no dining room at that time. She recalls be thrilled with making around $10 – $13 per day.
Toni bought the diner on August 15, 2003. At that time she was working there 3 days a week, selling real estate at Yates & Associates and cleaning businesses in the area. When she found out the diner was going up for sale, Toni decided working at one place was better than working the three jobs she currently held. With the help of family and friends, the diner was closed for five days while she painted, created new menus and made the place her own. Tuesday, February 15, 2011 marked day 2,857 that the Bulldog Diner has served both patrons and new-comers alike.
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, seniors are offered breakfast for a requested, not required, donation. The suggested amount is $2.00, but any amount is accepted. “This is a government-sponsored program offered to our senior citizens as a way of thanking them for working hard throughout their lifetime,” Toni says. It gives seniors a break twice a week, in a time of economic uncertainty, by offering them a basically “free” meal. Toni wants to make it clear to everyone that this is not an income-based program. It is open to all senior citizens and she hopes to see more of them taking advantage of this program while it is still offered.
The Bulldog Diner also proudly gives back to the community by hosting yearly motorcycle “Bike Runs”. The proceeds raised are donated locally to assist a person or family in need. In addition, Toni has held several block parties, most recently in the form of a “Cruise-In”, as a way to help bring the community together. She plans on holding another Cruise-In this coming summer and will announce the date as soon as it is confirmed. She is very impressed with the response to these events and is looking forward to an even bigger turnout this year.
Stop in at 30 Lowry Drive to say “Hi” to Toni during breakfast or lunch, six days a week. You can order “The Best Cheeseburger in Town” made from fresh, never frozen, beef or sample one of their delicious homemade desserts. Breakfast is available all day long and the diner also offers hot lunches, salads, sandwiches, wraps and even lite plate lunch options. The Bulldog Diner is open at the following times: 6 a.m. – 2 p.m Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. – 2 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday.