Seattle: The diner from Twin Peaks, Twede's Cafe

Seattle: The diner from Twin Peaks, Twede's Cafe

Pop Pilgrims
Season 1

As Twede’s Cafe owner Kyle Twede will tell you, few things have changed in the area of North Bend, Washington, since Twin Peaks shot there two decades ago. At his diner, which was the Double R Diner in the show and the prequel film Fire Walk With Me, visitors can buy a map to the shooting locations, almost all of which are within a 10-minute drive of Twede’s Café, and easily recognizable.

That isn’t the case with the cafe itself, at least on the inside. The exterior looks pretty much the same (aside from a sign touting its coffee and cherry pie), but Twin Peaks fans would never recognize the interior, thanks to a fire that gutted the place in 2000. A wall along the bathroom hallway is covered with Twin Peaks memorabilia and photos, but that’s pretty much all that remains of the cafe’s previous life as a film and TV location.

The fire prompted an outpouring of support from the community, but that had little to do with Twin Peaks. The diner had existed in some form since 1940. But when it reopened, the old look was gone.

“This was a white tile ceiling that was tobacco brown, and the walls were tobacco brown, because you had 60 years of people smoking cigarettes in here,” Twede says. “The carpet was four carpets deep because they just kept putting carpet over it. Guys had missed the urinal for 40 years. The place was a mess. But it was dark and campy, and that’s what [creators David Lynch and Mark Frost] wanted. So when it burned down, we decided that we needed to make it cleaner so more people would come in—because at that time, there wasn’t a lot of people coming in here [for Twin Peaks].”

The coffee and cherry pie remained, though Twede’s Cafe is really a burger joint, with more than a dozen varieties on the menu. Prior to Twin Peaks, the place was basically a diner without many specialties. There’s some debate as to where coffee and cherry pie entered the picture. Twede says it came from Kyle MacLachlan eating it in the diner, but some say it came from Lynch, who was enamored with the region’s simple pleasures. Regardless, the coffee-and-pie combo became a hit, especially in Japan—a Japanese coffee company called Georgia Coffee shot commercials with MacLachlan and other Twin Peaks cast members.

Twede saw a resurgence in Twin Peaks tourism after Bravo started re-airing the series a few years ago, and he now estimates pop pilgrims account for about 4 percent of his business. That isn’t a lot, but while The A.V. Club was hanging out there, we saw several people taking pictures. Considering that North Bend is an hour outside of Seattle and not really on the way anywhere, that’s pretty good business for something whose cultural moment passed two decades ago.

“The people that come in for Twin Peaks are quite a variety,” Twede says. “You have people my age or older who come in because the scenery was just absolutely beautiful. Some people come in because they like the technical aspects of the show. The goths come in because it’s dark and campy. There’s not really one group I could say that would be Twin Peaks or not Twin Peaks.”

There’s no mistaking the eccentrics, though, like one man who came after the fire in 2000. 

“We had a guy out of nowhere standing on the roof, painting the building purple,” Twede says. “The building was all burnt inside, but he was painting the building purple. I said, ‘Are you from the insurance company?’ and he took off. Came back a couple of days later again and painted again, and we got ahold of him again. He was definitely on crank, but God had told him to come put the Twin Peaks restaurant back together.” 

They didn’t need his help, but fans are welcome at Twede’s—just save $2 to spring for a map of Twin Peaks locations.