Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner: A Desert Delight

Yermo, the last town on Interstate-15  before the Mojave National Preserve, can boast about having more than the average history of a highway pit stop.

The word “Yermo” is Spanish for “desert” or “barren.” The town of Yermo, California, was once named, “Otis,” after General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times and owner of several mines in the area.

In 1905, the postal service changed the town’s name to Yermo,  due to the fact there was already a town named Otis in Colorado.

Practically cradled in the shadow of the Calico Mountains along the 15 Freeway but easily accessible from Interstate 40 as well, Peggy Sue’s is one of the original roadside diners.    Peggy Sue’s is located at 35654 Yermo Road, Yermo CA 92398.   You can’t miss it since it’s right across the street from the vast repair and storage depot at the Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base Yermo Annex.

Originally built in 1947, the diner was your typical 1950s style eatery, catering to motorists making their way through the desert. It was small— 3 booths and 9 counter stools— but managed to stick around for a while, despite being in one of the hottest places in the United States.

Peggy Sue and her husband Champ reopened the diner in 1987 and attempted to restore and preserve it in its original state. Before moving to the desert in 1981, Champ worked for Knott’s Berry Farm and Peggy Sue worked in the movies. The diner was the perfect place to display their extensive collection of movie and TV memorabilia.

It’s seat-yourself for all the beautiful people at Peggy Sue’s.  Even the signs say to.  Get lost in the 50s, Daddy-o. Elvis at the door agreed.  Thank you. Thank you very much.

Photo courtesy: Chapman University

In January 2001, Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner played a role in television host Huell Howser’s first road trip to the desert that borders the I-15 east of Barstow, California.

Photo courtesy: Marvel Comics

Did you know Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner was also the major filming site of the 2003 movie “The Hulk”?


Mannequins are just some of the humorous aspects you will find at Peggy Sue’s.  Be sure to read their funny signs and posters too.

Colorful candy delights the eye, as well as the sweet tooth. You will likely find your nostalgic candy brands here. Show your restaurant receipt to an employee and they will give you free bubble gum or Tootsie Roll.

Lunch boxes galore.  You’re sure to find your favorite collectibles here.

It wouldn’t be a real diner without a juke box or two to liven up the joint while sharing a single malted and two straws with your best girl or guy.

Peggy Sue’s even features their own specialty pizza, calzones, cheese bread and other deliciousness.

Whether you fancy Lucille Ball, Scarlett O’Hara, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn or any other amazing old timey Hollywood stars, it’s very likely you can find memorabilia in Peggy Sue’s 5 and Dime store in front of the dining rooms. Speaking of dining rooms, did we mention you’ll find life-size statues of the Blue’s Brothers belting out a tune?

We met one of the friendliest waitresses anyone could be honored to know.  We bonded instantly because our names are so similar.

Each table offers trivia books and board games at your table while you wait for your order named after famous stars to arrive.  But you won’t be waiting long.  Leave room for fried pickles or one of their tempting desserts.

Peggy Sue’s offers an assortment of old-fashioned food, including desserts.  They serve breakfast all day.

You will find a Diner-saur Park behind Peggy Sue’s. Diner-saur. Get it?  It’s free and a great way to stretch your legs and let the kidlets have fun.

We found sunset to be a beautiful time of the day to have dinner at Peggy Sue’s.  We can’t get enough of the desert’s painted sky and tepid winter breezes.

You are sure to find something whimsical in whatever direction you look in the Diner-saur Park.

You’re not the first one to go ape at Peggy Sue’s. Life is short. Order the dessert!

There’s even a stage for the natural hams and wanna-be little actors in your life.

Whether you’re six or sixty, you will enjoy strolling through Peggy Sue’s Diner-saur Park.  Ducks and koi swimming in the ponds adds to its beauty, along with the reflection of the vast Mojave sky.

I’m not gonna lie.  This is who greets you when you enter the Ladies Room.


Yes, I jumped.  In fact, I know he’s in there yet I still jump every time I see him.  Then I laugh.  Like we said, Peggy Sue’s loves mannequins and a good sense of humor almost as much as she likes you to have a big appetite when you visit this unique Mojave Desert landmark. We’ve been coming here for years and it’s become one of our treasured family traditions. We’re sure you will make it one of yours too.

Citations and Resources:

Once Upon a Desert, Edited by Patricia Jernigan Keeling, Mojave River Valley Museum, 1976, 1994

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