Walking into the newly reopened old-fashioned diner Roy's Grill is like stepping into the 1950s - literally - when the longtime Rossville staple began serving up home-cooked food and good conversations.
"I heard Roy's Grill was originally a Krystal in the late 1930s and 1940s. Some say it became Roy's Grill in 1949," said new manager John T. Arnold Jr. "Roy worked for Krystal's and acquired the property. Roy was here from the '50s to the '80s. It's nostalgic. There were a lot of neon lights in Rossville at that time."
Arnold said he dreamed of running Roy's years ago. He previously held management jobs at Southern Star Takeaway on Signal Mountain and at Merv's in Chattanooga.
"We are doing really good business here," said Arnold, who now walks to work from his rental house just behind Roy's. "We cook from scratch every day."
He said people often order the 8-ounce Roy's Super Burger, a Philly cheesesteak or the meatloaf. He said he often orders home-cooked vegetables when not cooking for others.
"I try to keep Roy's what it is," he said. "A lot of people have wonderful memories of Roy's. I like to speak to everyone that comes in. I'm open to suggestions and I love to hear feedback from customers."
To accommodate a new age of memory-making, the restaurant was recently remodeled.
Arnold said the new sitting area upstairs can seat 34 people comfortably in red booths. Downstairs, customers can select a stool to hop on while dining at the counter. The red, white and black color scheme creates a unique diner feel. For people wanting a slight modern twist, a flat screen TV hangs on the walls of both diner levels.
"The Potters did an incredible job on renovations of the diner," said Arnold, referring to the family from whom he rents the business. "I came to Roy's as a teenager to eat. It was smaller then and seated 20 customers."
He said people drive from LaFayette, Lookout Valley and Ringgold to dine at Roy's Grill.
"I want Rossville to do well and I want to be a part of it," said Arnold. "I've been in the restaurant business since age 15 and I'm 41 now. I want my business to be run like a family business."
Roy's Grill will begin hosting vintage car shows this summer to go along with the 1950s diner theme.
"I want what Roy had," said Arnold. "I want to be here for a long time. I would like to bring back memories for people of Roy's."
The restaurant will soon be decked out with old black and white photos of the glory days of Rossville, the days that Arnold is working to help bring back to life.