The iconic Fairview Dairy Bar will open its doors for the first time in eight months on Monday, rising from the ashes of a fire that gutted 62-year-old eating establishment back in July.
Owner Steve Brewer, who bought the restaurant that neighbors his Flame Steakhouse one month before the fire, said the Dairy Bar will serve lunch and dinner only the first two weeks and will start serving breakfast again by mid-April.
The news will be welcome to many, as the Dairy Bar has grown into more than a breakfast, burger and ice cream joint over the years. Generations in Sanford have their Dairy Bar stories, and the restaurant’s rich history served as the inspiration for the new decor. Gone are the photos of Marilyn Monroe and jukeboxes and in its place are large portraits of the Dairy Bar through the decades.
“When I was a kid in the 60s, the front looked more like a grocery store,” said Brewer, who bused tables there when he was 15. “I remember my brother lifting me into the freezer to get Push-Ups out. I wanted to pay homage to the history here and show how this place has changed with the times.”
The 2015 version has taken a huge step toward modernization. The kitchen has been upgraded, checkout will be quicker with new computers, and guests will have access to free WiFi. The only recognizable features are the floor and the 50s-era counter top and stools at the center of the restaurant.
“The upgrades were needed,” said Brewer. “When we started from scratch, we asked ourselves, ‘How do we last another 60 years, yet give it the same feel it had back in 1953?’ I think we’ve accomplished that.”
See below for the first public images of the new Dairy Bar.
Images on the wall of the new Dairy Bar reflect the restaurant’s changes over the decades, plus photos from longtime customer Donny Pardue, who died in 2014.