With the rhythm of Johnny Cash echoing from the outdoor speakers, and a sign hanging from the awning that read “Lights on For Service,” Brunswick’s staple 1950s-style restaurant, Fat Boy, opened for the summer season on Thursday.

The drive-in diner closed in the fall but was in fact open for takeout and delivery, with a heated outdoor tent, in December through February. According to owner Mike Jerome, however, he shut down about two weeks ago to undergo a handful of renovations and prepare for the summer.

“We’re really excited to be kinda kicking off the summer in our world,” Jerome said in an interview, despite the rainy weather Thursday.

This year, Fat Boy will be offering the traditional menu and drive-in service, alongside a new socially distanced outdoor patio serving beer and wine.

Sitting across from the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, Fat Boy first opened on July 29, 1955.

Jerome bought the longtime establish from Ken and Jeanne Burton in early 2020, right when things “looked like they were taking a turn” in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“Who’s crazy enough to open up a restaurant right now?” Jerome said he had asked himself at first, however quickly realized that the drive-in style eatery was actually conducive to social distancing and the COVID-19 restrictions.

For this summer, Jerome said his “expectations are pretty high,” noting that with the easing of travel restrictions, more visitors will likely come to Maine this summer.

Jerome said that while he is making small adjustments and improvements here and there, he has no serious plans right now to change the drive-in service and nostalgic 1950’s feel of the establishment.

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