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Denny's slammed with patrons

February 03, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- At Denny's on Tuesday, the bases were loaded and so were the plates.

The chain restaurant offered its signature Grand Slam breakfast meal free to all Americans Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Customers crowded around tables and in booths, smearing butter on stacks of hot pancakes with their plates full of eggs and bacon.

Allan Buckalew, general manager for the Hagerstown Denny's on Dual Highway, said all his employees were working Tuesday to accommodate the crowd.

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At about 1:30 p.m., the hostess said the wait was 45 minutes, as the line stretched through the lobby, out the door and into the parking lot.

Lindsay Williams drove up from Martinsburg, W.Va., with some friends after they heard about the free Slam special.

The Denny's in Martinsburg closed awhile ago, so they don't usually eat at Denny's, Lindsay said as the hostess announced her group would be seated.

Jessie Gudelski of Boonsboro sat waiting for a table with her 16-month-old son, Teddy, on her lap.

She and her husband often eat a Denny's, Gudelski said.

"We enjoy it. The quality of food, atmosphere, the workers. We love it," she said.

Gudelski found out about the special while watching the news Tuesday morning and decided to bring her son in for a meal. Pancakes are his favorite, she said.

Tiara Wilson of Washington, D.C., was in town for a short getaway with her fiancé. She was sitting on a bench in the Denny's lobby waiting for a table while her fianc ran some errands. There aren't a lot of Denny's in the city, and she likes the quality of food, Wilson said.

An employee estimated that 500 people came in for the free meal Tuesday, and by 1:30 p.m., Buckalew was handing out "rain check" coupons that allowed people to come back for their Slam by Feb. 13.

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