Real-Life 'Twin Peaks' Diner Saved by $100,000 PPP Loan Amid Pandemic

Welcome to Twin Peaks - Photofest - H 2017
Lesley Balla

Twede's Cafe, which served as the Double R Diner on the show, had just been purchased by its new owners two weeks before the establishment was forced to pivot to carry-out only.

The owners of Washington state's famous Twede’s Café, which served as the location for the fictional Double R Diner in David Lynch's Twin Peaks, were facing financial hardship during the COVID-19 shutdowns, but the restaurant was saved in part thanks to a large PPP loan.

North Bend local Rachel Bennet and her husband Max Spears had completed their purchase of the restaurant, known in the show for its cherry pie, from its previous owner in late February and just two weeks before the governor ordered a state-mandated restaurant shutdown. While the establishment was still able to do carry-out orders, Bennet told Grub Street that the cafe's sales were only "paying for the food we were buying and nothing else" before they were granted the loan.

“When it was takeout only, we were not making money at all,” Bennet said. “We would’ve lost a lot of money because we were keeping our staff on, but we did get one of the PPP loans. The one we applied for was for over $100,000."

That money, according to Bennet, has allowed the restaurant to keep its doors open and keep its staff paid. "That was huge for us, in that we didn’t have to think about our sales for two months, which was most of when we were takeout only. It allowed us to pay everybody as if we were open for regular hours."

Bennet, who grew up in the town before moving away when she was 18, said that she had never really been a Twin Peaks fan before owning the restaurant, much like its previous owner. But after returning to her hometown in 2018 and trying once again to get into the show with her husband, she engaged the former owner first about getting a job at Twede's and then about buying the entire cafe.

"As time went on, neither my husband or I were finding any good job opportunities that would allow us to live where we wanted to be," Bennet told Grub Street. "That’s when it became a more serious conversation, and even though I hadn’t been working there for long, the owner was really excited. It snowballed from there, and we got a Small Business Administration loan to buy the business."

When fans are finally able to return to the restaurant, they'll be greeted by several renovations geared toward paying tribute to the famous show. Updates include hand-painted wallpaper in tribute to the wallpaper featured in the show, as well as a memorabilia museum featuring photos from the show that's been converted into "more of a Twin Peaks experience," according to the Twede's owner.

"So my idea was to make it more like the Black Lodge. We repainted it with this deep red color, we have black trim, we replaced the ceiling tile with these cool black tiles. There’s a closet that I’m in the process of turning into our merch room. I have red velvet curtains I’m going to put up. And I just hung the photos in a more intentional way, so they have a zigzag pattern," Bennet explained. "David Lynch is so into symbolism, so we’re trying to also incorporate that into how we present all the things."