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New Eatery: A dream come true for Kris, a boon to the area
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They also serve or Heather does, anyway. Heather Haney, server, is at left, and Ben Mitchell, cook, at right, in a photo taken Wednesday at Kriss Diner. - photo by JERRY BUXTON Great Bend Tribune

Did she lie awake wondering "Who Put the Bomp?" as in the Barry Mann classic? We don’t know about that, but we do know that Kris Akers always wanted, always dreamed of having a 50s-themed diner.

And now she has one.

Kris’s Diner, at 13th and Broadway in Larned, features, or did during last week’s grand opening, poodle skirts, saddle oxfords, bobby sox, and much more. Echos of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis and maybe his competitor Conway Twitty before he went hillbilly, Paul Anka, Bobby Rydell — Wow!

And the food is very good, too. Fifties music is piped into the restaurant, which actually opened a few weeks ago, but had its grand opening last weekend.

During those three days, you could also see rolled-up jeans or pants, a bowling shirt or two, and, as Mary Alice Skelton painted in the women’s (chicks’?) bathroom, other iconic images of the 50s included beehive hair, red lips, stand-up collars, midriff "ties," platform heels, and more signs of the time.

Mrs. Skelton painted a picture, in silhouette, of Marilyn Monroe in her iconic pose above the heating vent in New York City, in 1955’s "The Seven Year Itch." She created quite a few more images in those restroom murals. She listed the 10 most (exemplary, influential, etc.) women of the time — Monroe, the cover girl; Elizabeth Taylor, the movie star; Debbie Reynolds, America’s sweetheart; Lucille Ball, TV comedian; Eleanor Roosevelt, for political fame and influence; Babe Zaharias in sports, including, but not limited to, golf; Rosa Parks, Civil Rights activist; Marian Anderson, opera singer; Margaret Sanger, women’s rights/birth control (b.c. is not mentioned on the wall of the restroom);and Queen Elizabeth II, monarch. She also painted "Kris’s Diner" on the south wall inside the restaurant.

Kris’s Diner is open from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily. The phone number is 285-3663. The diner features hand-battered chicken-fried steaks and steak fingers, with gravy; homemade french fries and curly fries, as well as homemade mashed potatoes; and soft-serve ice cream in cones, dishes or shakes.

And, for your inner lumberjack, there’s the Hungry Man Omelet for breakfast or "whenever." "It’s popular," Kris said. It contains six eggs and "everything but the kitchen sink," she said: Sausage, bacon, ham, green peppers, onions, hash browns (inside the omelet), tomato, black olives, and cheese, served with toast.

Other employees at Kris’s, not mentioned and perhaps or perhaps not pictured in the ribbon-cutting photo on this page, include: Brett Buckley, assistant manager; Shawna Gilliland, also an assistant manager; Ben Mitchell, Kris’s son, cook; Tim Iverson, cook; Matt Hackerott, cook; Corey Hartman, Mary Brown, Sheila Herman and Leslie Shore, servers; and Jessica Ramirez, cook/server.

Let the sock hop begin, with or without Danny and the Juniors!