Family brings Happy Dayz to Atmore

Published 2:48 am Monday, January 24, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Weekdays will soon be happier days in the Town of Atmore.
Dennis and Nancy Pittman, who have operated Creek Family Restaurant at the Best Western since 1997, are starting an old-fashioned, 50's diner in the old Sutton's Restaurant building on Hwy. 31 called Happy Dayz.
"I'm a classic car guy; I love old classic cars and I love restaurants," Mr. Pittman said. "When you combine the two you get a 50's diner."
According to Pittman the nearest 50s-style restaurant is in Mobile.
"There's a need to have a place like this in Atmore where people can bring their children and families and there is no alcohol or smoking," Mr. Pittman said. "I think the community needs something like that."
From 1945 until Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004 Sutton's Restaurant was owned and operated by Adolf Sutton and his family.
"Daddy bought this place in 1945, back then it was two stories tall," Adolf's daughter Carol Sutton said. "Back then people used to come two or three times a week with live chickens, but the health department would have a fit over that now."
"After Ivan the Suttons decided not to open it back up," Pittman said.
The Pittman family has worked to rebuild and clean the old restaurant.
"The old front of the building used to be big panes of glass," Dennis Pittman Jr., Dennis' son said. "An entire wall of glass was shattered by the storm, only one pane of glass wasn't destroyed."
The younger Pittman will serve as the restaurant's cook his fiancee will be a waitress at the diner.
"It really is a family business," Dennis Sr. said.
The food industry has been a life-long career for the Pittman family.
"We've been in the restaurant business all our lives," Dennis Sr. said. "We've run everything from Denny's to the Creek Family Restaurant."
The restaurant is going to serve classic American food
"We want people to feel like they're stepping back into the 50s," Dennis Sr. said "We're going to have hand-dipped ice cream with homemade milkshakes, burgers, po-boys, sandwich melts, soups and salads."
Pittman also plans to hold antique car shows at the diner.
"In April or May they are going to turn the old bus depot part of the building into a kid's zone," Dennis Sr. said. "A lot of people have been calling about the bus depot. It has moved permanently to the Texaco station, in it's place we're going to do a kid's zone for the three to 14-year-old range with games and food ideal for birthday parties."
The Pittman's hope Happy Dayz will be open by the first week of February.
"We're tentatively planning a grand opening then, after that our regular hours will be Mon. through Fri., 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.," Dennis Sr. said. "We're going to have the best burgers you've ever tasted."

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