One of the reasons people love traveling Route 66 is the unique characters they meet.
Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke reports on another such character at the Peppertree Cafe in Glendora, Calif. She’s a waitress who serves sports commentary along with breakfasts, and she’s become so popular that some diners wait hours for a table in her section.
Her name is Julie Butkus. And, yes, Chicago Bears fans, it’s her real name.
We’ll let Plaschke explain:
Butkus, 45, with steely blue eyes that turn red when she covers them with Kansas City Chiefs contact lenses, spreads her passion five days a week from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a mixture of softness and sassiness that turns the Peppertree dining room into a family room.
She’ll hug a frail woman whose beloved New England Patriots just lost a game, she’ll high-five a couple of construction workers whose UCLA Bruins are on a roll, and she’ll put down her coffeepot to argue about last night’s college basketball game with two cops.
If the whipped cream on your waffle is in the shape of the Angels logo, that’s Butkus. If you hear someone in the kitchen whooping at a football score on a Sunday afternoon, that’s Butkus. And if the scrawl on your check reads, “Go Chiefs.” […]
Butkus has become so popular, diners will decline tables that aren’t in her section and wait until she becomes available. She is sometimes given as many as three extra tables — giving her 13 tables and booths at once — to accommodate her fans.
“She’s an amazing waitress — half the people who come in here ask for her,” says Dave Dallas, Peppertree owner. “Then once they sit down, they’ll sometimes sit for three or four hours at a table just to hang with her.”
It’s not just a schtick for Butkus. She genuinely loves sports, and she always wanted to be a sports commentator. But she grew up at a time when she thought few women would have such opportunities.
But at the restaurant, she can indulge her passion. And she provides company — for at least a short time — to her customers, many who are older and alone.
Even if you’re not older and alone, if you’re a Route 66 fan in the L.A. region who also happens to be a sports fan, the Peppertree Cafe is the place to go for breakfast.