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New book honors the history of Bennington's Blue Benn Diner

A photo of the Blue Benn diner in November 1982, with a light dusting of snow on the 1980s-era cars in a winter scene.
Larry Cultrera
/
Courtesy of Peter Crabtree
The Blue Benn Diner in November 1982.

In 1974, a short-order chef named Sonny Monroe and his wife Mary Lou bought a small, scrappy diner in Bennington. The couple (pictured below) transformed the Blue Benn Diner into a local landmark, a place where their community could come together over good food and hot coffee.

The story of the Blue Benn is now preserved in a richly illustrated book by Caitlin Randall and Peter Crabtree, Sonny’s Blue Benn – Feeding the Soul of a Vermont Town. They’re the co-founders of the Story Project, a North Bennington-based business that creates books on commission.

Our guests are:

  • Peter Crabtree, co-author of Sonny’s Blue Benn
  • Caitlin Randall, co-author of Sonny’s Blue Benn

Broadcast at noon on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.

Counter.jpg
Courtesy of Peter Crabtree
/
The well-worn counter of the Blue Benn Diner bears the evidence of supporting years of elbows, plates and coffee mugs.
BB in Winter 2021.tif
Peter Crabtree
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The diner is a haven for many Bennington residents on wintry days.
Sonny and Mary Lou Monroe, 1977 by Julie Snow.jpg
Photo by Julie Snow for "The Rock Ribs of Bennington Town"
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Courtesy of Peter Crabtree
Sonny and Mary Lou Monroe, the owners of the Blue Benn, in 1977.

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Mikaela Lefrak joined Vermont Public in 2021 as co-host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.