It's a Team's Life
Old Union 76 Truck Stops
The restaurant at this location has atmosphere, which many of the TA-Petro restaurants no longer have. When we walked in the first time we knew this place was a little different as it has a wood plank style floor leading us into the dining area. The walls are adorned with old “real” worn out wagon wheels and a great fountain in the center of the restaurant. The decorations are not overwhelming they are meant to sooth the weary traveler. It works....
While we were sitting at one of the booths Bob Ryan, president and owner of this TA Franchise walked over to welcome us. Bob immediately stuck me as a guy who has a great sense of humor and is very proud of his establishment. I asked him about the history and he said it originally was a Union 76 Truck Stop. That accounted for the unusual style of the building compared with many of the other truck stops.
There are a few TA-Petro restaurants around the country that have not changed that we really enjoy and we know we will not eat in the truck when we pull in for the night. Another TA that we enjoy is east of Buffalo, NY, Pembroke, we have been in there during blizzard conditions and after sitting for a little bit we forget about the outside world as we listen to the train traverse the restaurant overhead.
One of my favorite stories when talking to the “Old Timers” is that when they pulled into a truck stop to get fuel and to eat is the way they were treated. They pulled into the fuel island, handed the fuel attendant their keys and went into the restaurant for a meal. They would come back out to a parked truck, windows clean, and their truck full of fuel. Hard to imagine that level of trust.
The Unocal Truck Stops sold in 1992 or 1993 for 180 million dollars to National Auto/Truckstops Inc. and since then seem to have been divided up again a few times. I am glad that TA-Petro has some of these places and has left them as close to original as possible. Finding one of these truck stops is like finding hidden jewels, as we can get our fuel, take a shower, have a nice meal, and head back out to the truck totally relaxed and refreshed.