Jukebox joint called Pop’s Diner sparks nostalgic success in St. John’s

ST. JOHN’S, NL – If there’s still a craving for pomade-straightened hair, Audrey Hepburn style, polka-dot cocktail dresses and Chuck Berry blasting from a jukebox, then the answer to that craving is at Pop’s Diner in Churchill Square .

The restaurant, which opened almost two months ago and serves classics such as hot dogs, burgers, fries and hand-mixed milkshakes, is already consistently full, despite little investment in traditional advertising.

“We already have regular customers who come three times a week, and they come with a different group of friends each time, and then their friends bring friends,” said Terri-Lynne Meadows, who runs the restaurant with her partner and chef Perseverance “Percy ‘ owns ‘Meadows.

It’s an idea that’s been seeping through for many years, but really took shape in October 2021.

Perseverance “Percy” Meadows and Terri-Lynne Meadows at their newly opened 50’s and 60’s themed restaurant called Pop’s Diner in Churchill Square. Andrew Waterman/SaltWire Network.

“It Brings Her Back”

Music was like a religion in Percy’s family.

“My dad said Jimi Hendrix was a god,” he said.

Customers hear everything from the Everly Brothers, Ray Charles and Elvis to the Beatles and even The B-52’s, who started out in the late ’70s but whose music and style are cheesy, magnified throwbacks to early rock ‘n’ roll , rockabilly and low-budget films of the era.

“This just seems to be my favorite era in time,” Percy said. “And there wasn’t anything else like it in town, so we just thought it would be an easy niche to fill.”

It’s supposed to be family-friendly and suitable for all ages, but the older crowd really seems to like it.

“It brings her back,” Percy said.

After walking around Churchill Square midweek while waiting for a table, Trinity Bay’s George and Bertie Brown and Alvina March finally took their seats in the booth.

“I have to giggle,” March said.

They wouldn’t share a milkshake that day, but they were looking forward to some good food before heading back around the bay, they said.

food and movies

Apart from a few items, everything — from the turkey, brisket, rolls, bread and fries — is made in-house daily.

“It’s simple food that’s done really well,” Percy said. “And at a price you can get two or three times a week.”

The hand-scooped milkshakes made on the doorstep are a big part of the restaurant’s concept and vibe.

“We want people to hear it, we want people to see it,” Percy said.

Despite the brief opening, the restaurant has already been used for a film shoot.

“A guy walked by and he just said, ‘Can we do a movie here?'” Percy said.

They closed for a day to film the TV movie, which they believe will reach about 40 million people. Details on the movie, titled Dangerous Connections, are still under wraps, but the filmmakers even changed their script to name the cake shop in the movie Pop’s Diner.

“We were brand new and being closed for a day didn’t hurt us,” Terri-Lynne said.

“Anything that’s filmed in Newfoundland, Newfoundlanders love it.”

They will also bring autographed headshots to put on the wall, Percy said.

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