American diners serve as the hub of any community wheel. PJs Corner Grill in Disney is no exception.
Purchased in 1979 from a friend, PJs owner Diana Owen has been capably running her business for 36 years. The grill stays hot from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the winter months and an incredible 7 to 11, seven days a week during the summer.
PJs is currently for sale because frankly, Diana is ready for a break. She raised four children while working in the diner. She’s likely filled, emptied and washed a million coffee pots. Lake visitors have come and gone through 144 seasonal transitions and she or her crew have served everyone who has entered through the front door.
PJs was the third link in the Disney chain leading us to our discussion with Russ Hogan, owner of Hogans Off Road Park. Russ and Diana attended the same school growing up, and have known each other all their lives. You can tell she’s a friend by the way Hogan strikes a conversation on her behalf.
“What price do you have on your business, Diana?” he asks.
“A hundred and seventy-five thousand,” she answered. “That includes my house out back too.” Diana told us later that she dreams of the time she’ll get to relax, fish and travel.
She deserves the full list, with extra relaxing thrown in for good measure.
“That’s a good deal for anyone!” Hogan declared, looking at us as if we were prospective buyers.
But we weren’t. We were there to have a discussion with the man himself, an evidently infamous local who’s stories don’t stop and whose life sounded like a rollercoaster ride still traveling at full speed. Hogan delivered for the next three hours.
He began our historical orientation with his first step into the diner, grabbed the coffee pot, poured himself a cup and kept on talking. All three members of our team were at the same time mesmerized and mollified. He was spewing information and we weren’t even set up.
We scrambled, turned on our equipment, and caught him half-way through his second tale. Russ was talking, we were listening, shooting and scrambling, and Diana was back in the kitchen doing her thing.
No doubt she had heard his stories before. No doubt she had heard everyone’s stories before. But this was the first for us. And we can’t wait to share them.
Please come back on Thursday for our “Disney, OK – Part Two” post covering “what the GRDA DIDN’T tell us,” Hogan’s speech in court, who owns the land, who can access the land, and the lo-down on how we ended up climbing rocks and crossing streams in “The Ambulance” for two hours.
See you then.
3 thoughts on “EPTOM Dam Run, Stop 5A: Disney – Diana Is Ready To Fish”
You forgot to mention that she raised was a mentor to her workers! How many of us went on to college? She taught us work ethics and morals above and beyond what she paid us. She is a role model to many. I am glad to have this influence in my life.
Thanks for your comments, Jo Anne! That’s something she would not have shared with us, and it’s great insight into the kind of person she is. Take care, RDK
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