A true survivor dishes up a bargain at a penny a year to celebrate

Blackstone Valley

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — Businesses come and go, especially if you follow the timeline since the Great Depression.

But the burgers from the café under the red awning on Dexter are still being churned out by Stanley’s, which will be offering the Rhode Island staple for 85 cents on August 6, when the eatery celebrates its 85 years in business.

Louie Augusta is the restaurant’s third owner.

“It’s our anniversary,” Augusta said. “Just to give everyone an opportunity to come back here. See us. Come with their friends who they haven’t seen in years. High school buddies.”

To understand how hard it is to stay in business for eight and a half decades, look down your street.

Or take a peek at Dexter. Countless businesses have come and gone, but Stanley’s goes through about 600 pounds of burger a week.

“We’ve lost a couple of businesses across the street,” Augusta said. “We’ve had a lot of businesses in and out of this building.”

Stanley Kryla opened up his first burger stand in about the same location in 1932, rolling through the Depression and surviving hurricanes, blizzards, recessions, the Great Recession and the city’s bankruptcy.

But Augusta says the same customers and their children and grandchildren remain loyal, even if they move out of state.

“They all come back,” he said. “A lot of people who live in Rhode Island, even if they live in Coventry, they come up once a week, twice a week.”

So even though he wasn’t here in ’32, when a burger cost about a nickel, he’s rolling back the prices to say thanks.

When asked if he’ll make any money, even if the crowds are huge?

“Not really,” he said with a big laugh. “But we’re expecting a lot of friendly faces.”

Eighty-five more years in business brings us to 2102. No word if hamburgers will be 85 cents for that anniversary.

Email Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com with you story ideas and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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