Feeding Bennington Folks Since 1948!
You are participating in history. The Paterson Vehicle Co. of Paterson, NJ, manufactured the Blue Benn in the late 1940s. Those of you old enough and in the know might remember the company as Silk City Diner. In 1948, it was shipped and assembled on its present site here in Bennington.
Sonny Monroe had always dreamed of opening a restaurant. When he and his wife Marylou purchased the Blue Benn in 1973, they did not know they would be creating a legacy that would last for decades!
Sonny never forgot the old days when you could eat an excellent meal for a darn good price. It was a family operated business, as it well should be in the confines of tradition. But tradition was only part of the story. Just take a peek at the menu and you’ll see why. Sonny had been a diner man for a lot of years and knew the grille with the best of them. He and Marylou, and later their daughter Lisa, took a lot of pride in serving you the best food possible at a price anybody could afford.
People came from all around to eat at Sonny’s Blue Benn. It was not unusual to see a young sophisticated Bennington College co-ed in conversation with say, a fireman from Dubuque, Iowa. Not to mention what the colorful locals have to say.
The Blue Benn has been mentioned in many publication and websites over the years, such as the “New York Times,” “Martha Stewart Magazine,” “Yankee Magazine,” and thrillist.com, to name just a few. In “Classic Diners of the Northeast” the Blue Benn is praised not only for its fine food and design, but for sonny’s innovation of health foods as well. One should try his “Falafel” or “Nutburger” (see menu) and you’ll know why word of mouth and “The New York Times” tell only part of the story.
Sonny passed away in 2019, but his wife and daughter carried on until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic forced the Blue Benn to close, Marylou decided it was time to retire. She and her husband and daughter had done more than run a restaurant for 47 years… they had created an iconic dining experience that was justifiably famous.
As the virus raged over the summer, the community held it’s breath as their landmark diner sat in limbo. Customers from far and wide took to social media to share their stories and memories of the Blue Benn. Was this the end of a great tradition?
In Maine, John Getchell heard the call. John had been one of those Bennington College students who had loved eating at Sonny’s Blue Benn. Like the marble steps to a medieval church, his elbows were among the many thousands that had left their marks on the classic 1948 countertop. As a lover of the culinary arts, John felt an immediate need to play a lead role in the continuation of the Blue Benn tradition. Moving to Bennington in the midst of the pandemic with his loyal Neapolitan Mastiff Pookie, John vowed to not only re-open the Blue Benn, but to do so fully honoring the traditions and menu of the Monroe family.