All trucks make this stop in California: Pantyhose Junction Eatery becomes famous thanks to menu, hours and, yes, waitresses' uniforms.

February 27, 1991|By McClatchy News Service

DUNNIGAN, Calif. -- It might be a little hard for the everyday traveler to find Pantyhose Junction, hidden away as it is behind the oleanders beside Interstate 5.

It's attractive enough, but the signs don't loom huge the way they do at most freeway attractions these days.

Alvin Mazzanti, owner of the improbably named eatery, doesn't mind, however. If there are a few empty automobile parking spaces in the lot, that's fine. The truck lot usually is full and there are plenty of customers who look like truckers perched in booths and along the counter with their battered thermoses at their sides.

"I knew when I took this place over in 1973 it wouldn't work at all unless I got these guys talking about me on the CB radio, so that's what I went after, and it's worked," said Mazzanti the other morning in his busy 120-seat, 24-hour dining room.

The subject of all the citizens band radio chatter moved past in a blur as he spoke: A corps of personable, energetic, immaculately groomed waitresses whose short-skirted uniforms inspired the drivers to ignore any official name of the place and dub it forever Pantyhose Junction.

"Nobody knows us any other way, so now I've decided to make it part of the official name -- Aladero Pantyhose Junction," Mazzanti said, smiling a little proudly. "They call us Pantyhose Junction from here to New York to Florida. A guy the other day told me he saw a mileage chart at a truck stop in Arizona. There we were. Pantyhose Junction, 1,036 miles."

He decided to give the truck stop a try because he thought he knew what would make it succeed.

"I wanted the truckers to say nice things about us on the CB. I changed the whole menu to what I thought truckers would like, bigger portions, everything on the menu available around the clock. . . . I had these uniforms made, and the waitresses, well, my father always told me to hire pretty," he said.

The formula seems to have worked. For their part, Mazzanti said, the waitresses, from teen-agers to retirement age, usually make $100 or more in tips each shift, and for his part, the place is busy with repeat customers, truckers and travelers alike.

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