There is something to be said about the only Diner on the National Road in Indiana. Besides having that distinction, the wonderful Oasis is one of less than five historical diners to remain on US 40 from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois. For those like me in Central Illinois, the Mother Road is Route 66, but Route 40 has its own history which begins in 1926.
Using the numbered federal highway system, Route 40 was assigned to the route carrying transcontinental traffic at the nation’s midsection. The National Road website shares, “The mid-1950’s were a period described by many as the Golden Age of Automobiling. By that time, Route 40 served America well, carrying more automobile traffic than any other transcontinental highway. Back then, if you needed to go from coast to coast, there simply wasn’t a better choice. During its heyday, the highway ran 3,157 miles from Atlantic City to San Francisco, traversing the midsection of the United States. When the Interstate Highway system came along, many western sections of Route 40 were decommissioned.”
As one of a group of travel writers visiting Hendricks County Indiana, I had the chance to visit the Oasis Diner that located along Route 40. While there, I indulged in the Lumberjack Breakfast, which as the name surmises, is fit for a big logging man. I sat next to Sara Broers of the Midwest Travel Bloggers and she too ordered this humongous breakfast. There was not enough room on the table for all of our plates. Needless to say, we should have shared!
The Oasis Diner has been restored to its original glory, both inside and out. The diner was originally manufactured by Mountain View Diners in Signac, New Jersey. Mountain View Diners Company was established by Les Daniel and Henry Strys near Mountain View, New Jersey in 1938 to manufacture a prefabricated diner. “A Mountain View Diner will last a lifetime” was the company motto. The company was known for their quality craftsmanship. the pre-World War II models used Art Deco styling. After the war Mountain View Diners focused on the streamline style that is evident in the Oasis. While in business through 1957, the Mountain View Diners produced over 400 diners.
What is really cool about the Oasis Diner was not only was it prefab, but it was shipped by rail to Plainfield, Indiana in 1954! The Oasis Diner was first owned by James Canavan and Frank Thurber. Frank sold out, but James kept the diner running until he sold it in the 1970’s. The diner went through a couple other owners until it closed in 2008 due to the failing health of the owner. In 2010, the diner was listed on Indiana Landmarks 10 Most Endangered Indiana Buildings.
This listing prompted the town of Plainfield to take do a feasibility study about relocating it four miles closer to the revitalized town center. Doug Huff and Don Rector decided to take up the challenge and they relocated, restored and reopened the diner so that people like me could enjoy both the food and the history! The diner has been in the current location since November of 2014.
The diner has also been expanded when Doug and Don added a second dining room. The menu highlights include, all day breakfast, the best tenderloin in town, handcrafted sodas, desserts, milkshakes-float-malts, and more!
The diner is colorful, fun and has amazing food to boot! For more information about the Oasis, log onto www.OasisDiner.com.