Hungry customers line up as Penn's Hamburgers reopens in Decatur


Customers at Penns Hamburgers in Decatur lined up outside the door as the restaurant reopened on Friday.

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DECATUR, Ala. - The two-year-long wait for a cheeseburger is over for people in Decatur. On Friday, the long-time eatery CF Penn Hamburgers reopened in a new location after a storm closed the old restaurant in 2018.

"It's been a while, this is a big deal for Decatur," Chastity Hubbard said.

With a line out the door, calling it popular demand is putting it mildly.

"You remember the smell, you remember the taste," Mike Bentley said.

Before Friday, nobody had eaten a Penn's hamburger in nearly two years. A storm in April 2018 severely damaged the former Gridiron building on Moulton Street. The building in which Penn's was doing business had to be demolished. All customers had for over a year were rumors and a promise that Penn's would return.

"We thought they weren't ever going to open," Danville resident Marsha Roberts said.

"It was kind of sad, but we kind of knew they'd open somewhere else hopefully," Decatur resident Mason Livingston said.

Hope paid off on Friday, when the new Penn's opened on 6th Avenue.

"My husband took off work for this today," Hubbard said.

Customers had their money ready, ordering at the door.

"She said, 'would you go down there and get me a burger?'" Decatur resident Oliver Wilson said. "So, I said, sure, and while I'm at it, I'll get me one too."

Penn's customers say the owner wanted to keep the new Penn's as close to the original as possible, salvaging much of the wall art, many of the same lunch counter stools and keeping the price low. A hamburger will run you $1.95.

"It's pretty close to what was up there. It's just newer and looks better," Danville resident Euel Roberts said.

"It's a piece of history that maybe looked like it was lost forever. And it's returned in all its glory," Bentley said.

For most in line, the new first impression was comfortably familiar. Penn's closed at 4:00 on Friday when they ran short of food, which was upsetting news for some customers.

Penn's managers say they'll reopen on Saturday from 9:00 to 6:00 p.m.