Eating at Grandma’s Place Is Still the Ultimate

eating at grandma's place

Shyrl’s Diner Remains Revered

When all you residents of this region conduct your daily, hectic routines in this super fast-paced world, do you ever think back about the pure joys of returning to Grandma’s for a hearty breakfast or lunch? It is reassuring to know those days are alive and well right here in the Lebanon region.

Shyrl’s Diner is located at 31 Main Street in West Lebanon and has been there for 15 years. In that time, it has become a haven for delicious home-cooked food, friendship, family values, affordable prices and a big warm hug on the way out! Overseeing all that is an energetic 73-year-old grandmother by the name of Shyrl Rafus who has become an established legend in this area. How energetic you ask? How about a lady who comes to work at 3am every morning to start preparing breakfast entrees that keep everyone coming back for more. How do you describe the quality of those entrees she serves up from scratch? This quote from Julia Child covers it. “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces. Just good food from fresh ingredients!

In that regard Shyrl has it covered and then some. “I always prepare homemade bread, muffins and doughnuts for the breakfast menu,” she explained. “For lunch we always serve homemade soup every day. We gear our menu to feed the everyday working man. Many of those customers who come for breakfast come back for lunch.”

shyrl rafus

Shyrl Rafus working behind the counter

The astounding fact about her eating establishment would certainly be the menu prices. Your complete breakfast (with ample portions) will run you somewhere from $3.00 to $7.00. No elite lattes or coffee offerings with fancy names and lofty prices served here. A cup of old fashion coffee will set you back $1.36 and add a homemade doughnut for .75cents. How does she maintain that pricing level? “Everyone keeps telling me I should go up on my prices, but I am here to earn a living and make sure the bills are paid. Cooking for people has always been in my blood I guess. I started back in my 20s and have always worked in the restaurant business.”

Shyrl has a strong link to local popular eating establishments. Her sister Lena Butterfield operated Lena’s Diner in West Hartford, Vt and her other sister, Shirley Boyce was connected to Mr. B’s in Hartford. A niece, Donna Burnham served at the Cross Roads Cafe in White River.

When customers arrive at Shyrl’s Diner (especially in the morning when they open at 5am) they may well have to stand outside and wait patiently to get seating. Space is limited but that doesn’t deter the faithful for enjoying the unique dining experience. A classic example would be devoted customer named Paul Battaini and his friend Frank Tamburrino. “I live in Utah and come back to this area often on business,” Paul explained. “I always come here to eat every time I get back. I would not miss it for the world. This place is simply a treasure! I only wish there was an establishment like this in Utah!”

devoted customers

Devoted customers Frank Tamburrino (left) and Paul Battaini

Frank lives in Canaan, NH and always teams up with Paul to make the trek. “Paul and I are good friends and we would not miss the chance to come to Shyrl’s. This is a very special place.”

What keeps the eating establishment prospering and full of happy customers every day goes beyond the delicious food and low prices. Far beyond! “These people are not just customers they are like members of my family,” Shyrl noted. “Everybody needs a hug and I will make sure they get one!”

Shyrl carries that family theme to the max. Joining her every day to serve those beloved customers are her two granddaughters, Kaleigh Wagar and Stefani Wagar.

Just how long does Shyrl plan to carry on her dedicated work? “Just as long as I can!” she exclaimed with a wide smile.” After all, wasn’t Grandma always there for you?