Lynne and Phyllis Perreault run the diner now, and they say it’s been quite a ride. The pair said Donald Perreault, the father of Phyllis’ husband, started the place in 1936.
“Mary Jane was the mother of my husband, and in 1936, she was carrying my husband behind the counter when they first started,” Phyllis said. “It was kind of like he was born here. When he was 11, he had to stand on a milk crate to wash the dishes.”
The two said the store branched out from a small diner in the 1950s to a full-fledged catering service. They said Donald Perreault bought a few food trucks and made the rounds everyday at the local factories in Plainville, North Attleboro and Attleboro.
“We were famous for our catering and self-service canteen trucks,” Phyllis said. “They wen to all the area manufacturers. He first had these baskets and they used to fill them up with donuts and pastries and he delivered them in his car at first. That grew so they ended up buying the panel trucks in the early 40s.”
Though the trucks were a big part of their business in the past, the Perreaults said the Plainville area was becoming less and less a manufacturing center.
“We focuses on the catering trucks for quite a while, but the diner was always here,” Lynne Perreault said. “The catering started to do down hill because of the departure of manufacturing. We could feel it before a lot of people felt it, because our customers work in construction and manufacturing. We deal with the little guys.
The Perreaults said they still deal with a lot of families that over the years have become their regulars. Phyllis said they still serve a lot of the old regulars that use to come in more than half a century ago.
“We get a lot of the families that come here since they were two or three generations ago,” Phyllis said.
Lynne added many younger generations come in and see a bit of their own living history, as the place is strewn with old photographs of the area.
“A lot of people come in and say oh look there’s my grandfather!” she said with a lau “A lot of people tell us stories about the pond across the street. They used to come over here and get the fries in a brown paper bag or a sandwich and go ice skating on the pond in the winter.”
Over the years, the pair said they’ve had a lot of strange food orders, like one man who always ordered his eggs on top of a plate of mashed potatoes. They said this required a special order, since mashed potatoes and eggs are cooked at different temperatures, but the strangest they could at least remember was a little more up Elvis’ alley.
“We have a neighbor down the street who’s almost 90,” she said. “He’d always order beef stew with peanut butter in it.”
Don’s Diner is located on 121 South St. and is open Mon - Fri, 6am - 2pm; Sat, Sun, 7am - 1pm