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My Story: Parker Sjolander Carries on a Legacy with Custom Dinnerware

Homer Laughlin's Custom Design Department is affordable and accessible to all kinds of eateries. Take a down-home, family-owned diner in the Pacific Northwest, for example.

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Parker Sjolander

When a restaurant has been around for 50 years and is on its third generation of family ownership, details can get fuzzy. So, Parker Sjolander doesn't recall the conversation that initially brought logoed HLC plates to his family's restaurant, Lil' Jon, in Bellevue, Washington. He probably wasn't even born yet. But, at age 27, Parker knows exactly why the restaurant updated their custom plates with a special 50th anniversary logo. 

"Fifty years is a long time, and we knew we wanted to mark the occasion. Over the years, our plates have become part of the legend of the restaurant, so we knew we couldn't radically alter the design." 

Adding a perfectly proportioned number 50 behind a rendering of the diner's iconic signpost, which can be seen for miles around, did the trick. "It's one of the tallest structures in town. So tall that it's grandfathered in. If it ever falls down, we won't be able to replace it with one the same height." 

Lil Jon dinnerware

Lil' Jon is classic American comfort food, and famous for cinnamon rolls "as big as people's heads." The HLC dinnerware chosen for the restaurant reflects similar simple, unpretentious values. "It's nothing fancy, and it's built to last. Just like we are."

Lil' Jon is a family place to its core. It starts with the family who runs it and the workers who have been there for decades, and continues with the customers, including a few who come in twice a day. "We want people to feel at home here," said Parker. "I think the dinnerware we've chosen from Homer Laughlin helps us create that warm atmosphere."

"People come in all the time wanting to buy our plates. They'll send a set with a child heading off to college, or give some to a relative who's moved away, or just use it at home. It reminds them of a happy place in their lives, and I love being part of that legacy."

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