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Conversation Pieces at Remodeled TA Restaurants
It’s all there in black and white. Ten-point bucks and eagles taking wing, desert landscapes and serene lakes, small-town celebrations and industrial development. All along the walls of TA full-service restaurants you’ll find snapshots of a time and a place that evoke some part of America’s people and history. So not only does the name Country Pride capture the feeling, the restaurants themselves celebrate it.
Over the last several years TA has been revamping most of its restaurants, making sure the decor reflected the location. The basic framework might be the same, but an Ohio Country Pride won’t have the same look or atmosphere as one in Tennessee or New York. Walls are painted in vibrant colors and the photos celebrate the unique flavor and history of the area. The booths are decorated with funny or thought-provoking quotes that usually relate to the locale.
“I look at each place as a canvas to paint,” says Jeff Biggar, one of the main decorators on the remodeling program. “I do research of the area and try to find something interesting to include.”
In Nashville he was delighted to revive the much-loved country music mural that was saved after the TA was rebuilt following a 2010 flood. At TA Binghamton, he devoted a wall to Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, who grew up in the upstate New York town.
He’s happy to watch drivers who come to a revamped restaurant for the first time and begin to explore, looking at photos and reading the sayings on the walls or booths. He’s worked on so many locations that drivers are beginning to recognize him as the decorator, pointing out their favorite touches at various locations. One driver even asked for a copy of a particular photo and quote from one of the restaurants.
The restaurant makeovers have been going on for the past four years, with more to come. The plan is to revisit each location every six years for refreshes, so there will never be a time when a restaurant looks drab or dated.
“It’s exciting to watch the transformation take place,” Biggar says. “You can see how it changes the whole atmosphere.”