Hometown Eats: Pink Cadillac Diner

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 3:42 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. (WDBJ) - Elvis is a name that needs no introduction or explanation, but there’s a restaurant in Natural Bridge keeping “The King” alive one double-decker burger at a time.

Fire up the engines, boys and girls, and drop the hammer toward Natural Bridge to The Pink Cadillac Diner in this week’s Hometown Eats. Trust me, you can’t miss it!

If you don’t know the story, Elvis Presley bought his first Cadillac, a 1954 Fleetwood Series 60 that was bubble gum pink, to travel to shows with the Blue Moon Boys.

The Cadillac outside this restaurant was originally in Greenville, Virginia, about 40 miles north of Natural Bridge, until the restaurant was moved here in 1999.

“A lot of people come here to see the Cadillac out front or the décor on the walls,” said general manager Darien Camp.

Inside you’ll find all kinds of Elvis memorabilia and many versions of the King to catch your eye. Military Elvis, movie star Elvis, moody Elvis, millionaire Elvis and messy Elvis.

It was enough to catch the eyes of two high school girls about 10 years ago, Courtney Ayers and Darien Camp. Courtney took over ownership in March 2022 with Darien right beside her as the general manager.

“One of my first jobs out of high school,” said owner Courtney Ayers. “Not going to say it was a dream of mine, but here we are!”

Outside the obvious drawing power Elvis brings, Courtney and Darien credit success to their core of regular customers, like local farmer Mack Smith.

“We wait on Mack in the mornings and if he’s not here, we definitely notice,” joked Camp.

“I’ve been coming here for years. I kind of helped Courtney get this thing up and going so it’s really been neat to see it happen,” said regular customer Mack Smith.

“It’s family. We have the same people who have been coming here for years,” said Ayers

But plenty of fresh Blue Suede Shoes step back in time at the Pink Cadillac, with the Safari Park nearby as well as several colleges around Lexington.

“It’s a tradition for so many people. You’ll meet people when they’re going to Florida for the winter and they come back through for the summer, they’ll pass through and we’re their stop,” said Ayers.

“It’s amazing how many people come in off the interstate and I’ll say were you from and next thing you know we end up in a conversation,” said Smith. “It’s kind of neat!”

You ain’t returning any food to sender, however; you’ll have a little less conversation when you order a hound dog of a burger called the ‘Elvis Burger’.

“Our famous burger is the Elvis burger, which is a 12-ounce, double-decker burger,” said Ayers.

“It’s an attraction to see it. It comes out with a steak knife in it,” said Camp.

“Topped with special PC sauce,” said Ayers.

“I can’t give you the recipe for it, but it’s a special sauce,” joked Camp.

Something new at Pink Cadillac are its specials. It started as a way to get people in during the slow months, but it will continue into the summer with days dedicated to smoked wings, turkey, prime rib, chef’s special... but arguably the most popular is the meatloaf.

“We don’t want people driving down here and us not have the special of the day, so we make a lot of meatloaf. I take pride in my work, so I found a recipe I like and did my thing to it. We get a lot of feedback on the sauce; it’s a ketchup base,” explained Camp.

Suspicious minds may ask, where’s the breakfast? Don’t cry daddy! They serve eggs & pancakes all day!

“The friendliness of the staff, the décor in here, the nostalgia theme,” said Brandon.

“It’s just family oriented. I play with people’s babies, and we get to know their families. It’s nice, and our staff is just as much as our family as our own family,” added Camp.

Pink Cadillac Diner, a hometown eat you can’t help falling in love with.

Pink Cadillac Diner is at 4347 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578.