As the door swings open, five young males stroll into the restaurant displaying earrings, dreadlocks, and counterculture clothing, which causes several dozen flannel-clad, middle-aged men to turn their heads. The young men, all Goshen College students, sit down at a table in the corner and smile to themselves while the other customers continue to stare and chuckle at them for a few minutes. After the smirking waitress comes and kindly takes their orders, the guys recline in their seats and gaze out the window at the dawning sunlight, glad to be back for another quality breakfast at Southern Style.
This scene has become routine for a group of five guys that wake up at 6:30 a.m. each Friday morning (two hours after Southern Style opens) to frequent the restaurant, located beside the Goshen Hardware Do it Center on Rt. 33, about a mile north of the intersection with College Avenue. The tradition began over a year ago when a group of friends (all male) at Goshen College started visiting various local diners on Friday mornings before classes started. The group gradually thinned out to about five regulars, who eventually established Southern Style as the permanent eatery of choice for their Friday morning outings.
The group members give varying reasons for sacrificing sleep to return to Southern Style each week. Joel Beachy cites "food, friendship, and fellowship." Ryan Nofziger likes the "change of pace" from his busy college life that he gets by sitting and socializing for a couple hours in the diner. Andrew Histand (Stan) adds, "After a busy week, when we all convene at Southern Style…it's one of the most beautiful things," as he begins to choke up with ...
... middle of paper ...
..."greasy-ass rotating cloth towel mechanism" in the bathroom that requires customers to dry off their wet hands and faces on used fabric that makes them feel like "you're wiping your face in someone else's lice." Andrew suggests that "the USDA needs to make a surprise visit" to Southern Style in the near future.
Despite these scattered complaints about the restaurant, both the college students and the middle-aged construction workers remain religiously faithful to Southern Style. The diner's customers seem to find a sense of relaxation and togetherness within the restaurant's grease-splattered walls that they do not find in their lives outside of Southern Style. More than the food or the appearance, perhaps this laid-back, friendly ambiance makes Southern Style, as an anonymous customer states, "one of the only places open that's worth eating breakfast at."
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