The little cafe is still clean and reasonable, and the cherry pies that made a regular of FBI agent Dale Cooper in the quirky TV series “Twin Peaks” are as tempting as ever.
And almost seven years after the series was canceled, it still has a cult following in the United States. And new fans, drawn by reruns in Europe and Japan, tour the area to see the cafe, Mount Si, Snoqualmie Falls, Salish Lodge - called “The Great Northern” for the show - and the railroad tracks.
But the Mar T Cafe is putting “Twin Peaks” behind it. Now owned by Kyle Twede, formerly a cook at the landmark diner, its name has been changed to Twede’s - the big “T” on its sign is still there - and it’s gradually being transformed into a ‘50s theme restaurant.
“I’ve nothing against ‘Twin Peaks’ … It did a lot for this town,” Twede said. “But it’s time to move on.”
Other locals agree.
“It was fun while it lasted,” said Ted Bernoski, who eats at the diner at least once a week. “I think they got about as much as they can get from it.”
A visitor from England mulled the revamped menu - 14 kinds of burgers!
“I hope they don’t change it too much,” said Denver Humphey of Manchester, who brought his family to North Bend to see the “Twin Peaks” sites. “The cafe sort of evoked a friendly American diner.”
But many locals were uncomfortable with the show’s bizarre plot twists and sometimes creepy characters.
“It’s all Hollywood,” said Mayor Joan Simpson. “It’s got nothing to do with the people of North Bend.”
Simpson never saw the show, but says from what she’s heard “it’s not too wholesome.”
“There’s no similarity between ‘Twin Peaks’ and North Bend,” agrees Salish Lodge manager Loy Helmly.
One of its Web sites describes the series as “part murder mystery, part soap opera spoof, and part comedy.”
Helmly says the inn never played off the series: “We don’t want to foster mystery and intrigue in the lodge.”
“I’m just not into shows with murders,” said the 40-year-old restaurateur, who bought the cafe last month from former owner Pat Cokewell.
The show opened with the discovery of a young woman’s body in the Snoqualmie River - “just like the way they found bodies during the Green River killings,” noted Twede, 40, referring to a river south of Seattle where some victims of a never-caught serial killer who preyed on women were found in the 1980s.
“It’s too eerie,” said Twede, who prefers more family-oriented fare. “A Disney movie would be nice.”
The Mar T opened in 1940 as Thompson’s Cafe. It was renamed the Mar T when it was bought in 1952 by Frank Marsolais and Don Tift, and the name still fit when Margit Haverson and Jo Tinglestad owned it from 1971 to 1976. Cokewell, the next owner, kept the name when she took over.
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