EL RENO, OKLAHOMA — He knows exactly how many burgers will fit on this grill surface.
“34,” he states with confidence.
Marty Hall can tell you everything about what it takes to run Sid’s Diner, all 860 square feet and 32 seats of it.
“Its old school. It’s an old school diner,” he says.
But other numbers have long since escaped Hall’s comprehension.
The big one, he does know, is ’50’, 50 years of slingin’ hash and diner cooking.
Hall explains, “It’s really fulfilling to me to be able to fix something and give it to somebody to eat, and they enjoy it.”
Marty got his first job at the old Johnnie’s burger joint in El Reno.
He was a 13 -year-old dishwasher and professional onion peeler on his very first day.
“Boy. It was rough,” he recalls. “About 25 pounds of onions and I was crying.”
Marty did all right for himself in the burger business.
He owned the Dairy Hut around the corner, then built this diner in 1989 and watched it become a national landmark.
“It seems like the world is fascinated with Route 66,” he says.
The onion burger is the star but Marty helped get it there.
TV shows from every network made pilgrimages.
We made our own trip there back in 1996.
So did food and travel writers over the years.
Marty and Carolyn welcomed every one.
“Galen,” he says. “It’s the people I meet. There’s a million stories out there.”
After a half-century of hearing stories from behind the counter, Carolyn told Marty to write some of his.
The result is a whole book of them called, ‘A Burger Boy on Route 66’.
Fortunately for us, and every hungry person out there, Marty and Carolyn still kind of like it around here even 50 years later.
He says, “I wouldn’t trade a minute.”
Hall named his diner Sid’s to honor his father who passed away just before he opened in 1989.
Sid’s is open 7:00am to 8:00pm every day.