Wherever Faye goes, her customers follow Diner developed devoted following GLEN BURNIE

January 06, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

Like groupies around a rock star, they have followed her.

But they don't want an autograph. They want a meal, a place to meet, the familiar '50s paraphernalia.

They come to Faye's Dorsey Diner, the restaurant that relocated in July to the western edge of Glen Burnie on Dorsey Road -- after seven years at the corner of Crain Highway and Delaware Avenue.

Two car clubs and droves of other customers have followed Faye Hines, 47, to her new digs, about three miles from the old place. They like Mrs. Hines and they like the food.

"We wanted to stay with her. We're kind of one big family," said Richard Lord, president of Lost in the '50s, a 125-member club whose members own pre-1965 cars. Faye Hines gave the club a place to meet five years ago, and members pack the place the first Monday night of the month.

"Faye's is home. This is home. They are good people," said Gil Smith, outgoing president of Vintage Tin of Maryland, whose 50 members own pre-1948 street rods and meet every Thursday night at Faye's. "Leaving here would be like cutting off my left arm."

Faye Hines and her customers do for each other.

The two car clubs rounded up 25 trucks to help Mrs. Hines move. Mr. Smith, seeing Mrs. Hines tired after a 15-hour workday, occasionally has helped her clean up at night.

Last month, when Mr. Smith's wife, Joan, was hospitalized after a car accident, Mrs. Hines delivered a huge pan of lasagna to the Smiths -- enough to feed him, two children and his brother-in-law for three days, he said.

The "Table" -- a dozen business owners, workers and retirees from Glen Burnie and Pasadena -- has a lunchtime contingent at Faye's four days a week. Members said yesterday that when Faye's moved, it didn't occur to them to seek a new place to eat.

The name changed and the location changed, but the atmosphere and decor are from the old Faye's Sub Shop. Plaques, trophies, photos of vintage cars, posters of James Dean, old Coke and Pepsi machines, bottles of beers no longer made and other memorabilia from 40 years ago line the walls and pack the corners. One of the Carols -- three employees are named Carol -- calls out when an order is ready. When Mrs. Hines isn't too busy in the kitchen, she gives customers a "Thanks, Hon," and a little squeeze of the hand.

But business "is not as good as it was downtown," Mrs. Hines said. In some ways, "it's like starting over."

She hopes word of mouth will keep bringing more customers and that business will pick up in the spring, once the car clubs resume their Saturday "cruise nights" that bring as many as 400 vintage autos to the parking lot.

Mrs. Hines' new digs are thoroughly modern, even with restrooms inside. The old place had been a filling station, with lifts still in the floors and bathrooms on the outside of the building. The landlord, with whom Mrs. Hines had a dispute that led her to move, is planning a seafood restaurant there.

Initially, Mrs. Hines had misgivings about moving to the site of the former T. R. Corner Cafe. "We thought it was too far out," she said.

Some people, especially older ones who used to walk a block from the senior citizens' apartments on Crain Highway, haven't followed.

The Hines family has accommodated others. Butch, Mrs. Hines' husband, makes deliveries, mostly to the old neighborhood.

Three other family members work at the diner.

And there are new clients, such as Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. workers in Harmans, Westinghouse workers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and people who occasionally ate at the old Faye's Sub Shop and are now regulars here.

"We go to Faye's three days out of five," said Karen Larrauri, office manager of Braswell Precision Inc., a nearby aerospace machine shop. When Faye's is delivering lunch, at least 20 of the 26 workers order.

They like Mrs. Hines and they like the food, Ms. Larrauri said.

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