The Heart of New England
Miss Wakefield Diner
Sanbornville, NH
By Kimberly Ripley

When Scott Bramer purchased the Miss Wakefield Diner in Sanbornville, New
Hampshire in 1998, it was the culmination of years and years of dreams. After
more than 25 years in the restaurant business, he felt fulfilled. But why did
fulfillment equal ownership of a diner? Wouldn’t most successful restaurateurs
prefer a five star establishment or a trendy steakhouse?

“A diner is something everyone relates to,” Bramer explains. “People of all
socio-economic backgrounds come to eat at the diner. From the very wealthy to
the guy with a roll of quarters—they all come and eat hearty meals and enjoy
friendly conversations.”

Ample portions of home cooking are piled high, as the delicious aromas waft
amongst the booths and counter with stools. Two waitpersons hustle back and
forth—from the customers to the coffee pots to the kitchen.

“I have great help,”  says Bramer as he looks on. “I hire good people and they
tend to stay for quite a while. I don’t believe in minimum wage, so I pay fairly

Josh Pino is a fairly new employee, but already seems right at home. He
already has a repertoire of regular customers who have become a part of his
daily life.

“I see lots of regulars,” he says. “It’s great to talk with them every morning.
Some of them are hilarious. It really adds something to my day.”

Ashley Hall has served customers at the Miss Wakefield Diner for more than
two years. She loves the diner, the staff, and the diversity of patrons.

“I see a lot of new faces every day,” she says.

The Miss Wakefield Diner is one of only 22 operational diners manufactured
under the name of Jerry Mahoney. Mahoney actually invented the diner. This
particular unit originated in Albany, New York, and went under the name of its
owners—Pat and Bob. Pat and Bob’s Diner was established in 1949 and ran
until their retirement in 1968.

The diner eventually was abandoned in a junkyard in Albany. Interim owners
purchased it and refurbished it and hauled it north to Sanbornville, New
Hampshire. This quaint New Hampshire region heads straight toward the
illustrious White Mountain Range and the many delights of that region. Within
the immediate vicinity are a plethora of antique shops, crafts stores, and
seasonal roadside stands selling maple syrup or fresh vegetables.

Miss Wakefield experiences her busiest season from May 1 to October 15. Scott
Bramer’s average workday runs from 4:30 AM to 4:30 PM this time of year.
During the summer months 4:30 AM to 9:30 PM is more like the norm.

From its Route 16 location, passersby include lake-bound families in the
summer, leaf peepers and hunters in the fall, and of course skiers all winter

This year Bramer and his wife Grace—who
owns the gift shop adjacent to the diner—
are taking some much-needed time off.

“We’re closing the diner from November 1
through the 26th,” he says. “Running a diner
is a 7 day a week thing. You’re always working.”

This hiatus from cooking, cleaning
and customers will be the first vacation
the Bramer’s have taken for a long, long time.

“It’s been fourteen years since I’ve even had an entire 7 days off,” he says.

Yet despite the arduous tasks involved in running a diner, Bramer wears his
happiness on his sleeve. While flipping pancakes or turning omelets—of which
he claims they sell “massive amounts” he is animated. Hard work becomes
him. He owns and operates a successful business that has withstood what he
considers a healthy test of time.

“When things get tough economically, my business increases,” Bramer
explains. “More expensive restaurants tend to experience a decline, but not so
with diners. Almost everyone has been to a diner and nearly everyone enjoys

The well-fed customers at the Miss Wakefield Diner do indeed seem satiated.
After home cooked specials like American Chop Suey or Liver and Onions with
Gravy—or perhaps a juicy cheeseburger with French Fries—what more could a
person want or need?

“Apple crisp,” is Scott Bramer’s matter-of-fact answer.

It’s the best selling and most popular homemade dessert at the Miss Wakefield

The Miss Wakefield Diner is located in the village of Sanbornville in the town
of Wakefield on Route 16 in New Hampshire.

For more information on diners, contact The American Diner Museum

About the author:  Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer from Portsmouth,
New Hampshire. Her “Freelancing Later in Life Writer’s Workshop” has been
presented throughout the country. Visit Kim at
Owner, Miss Wakefield Diner
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Miss Wakefield DIner
Sanbornville, NH

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