'I love to gab': Popular P.E.I. server retires after more than 30 years

It was hugs and kisses all round today as staff and customers celebrated the end of an era at Maid Marian's Diner in Charlottetown.

'The people is what I'm going to miss the most'

Regulars at Maid Marian's helped to celebrate Barb Condon's retirement. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

It was hugs and kisses all round today as staff and customers celebrated the end of an era at Maid Marian's Diner in Charlottetown.

"Today has been terrific, getting to meet all the customers that I usually serve, I'm enjoying today, it's terrific," said Barb Condon, one of the diner's most familiar faces. 

"It's been awesome, I enjoy meeting all the people, the staff's great. It was wonderful."

Barb Condon gets a hug from Maid Marian's Diner co-owner Stephanie Drake. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Condon started working at the iconic restaurant in 1987 just months after it opened, hoping to earn some extra cash on top of her job as a school custodian.

"I came here for six months just from September until Christmas," said Condon.

"I loved it so much that I ended up staying and I would have stayed even longer but the body just don't take it any more."

A vintage photo of Maid Marian's where Barb Condon started working in 1987. (Maid Marian's)

Condon says what she will miss the most are the people.

"The people and the girls here are all terrific. The owners, everybody's terrific," Condon said.

"And I love to gab."

There was even cake in Maid Marian's colours to help mark Condon's retirement. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Decades of memories

There have been challenges along the way, including a fire in 2009.

In May 2009, a fire ripped through the building. Condon rushed to watch the firefighters work, but it was clear the restaurant could not be saved. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

"It was devastating, that was our job, what were we going to do? Were they going to reopen?" Condon said.

"And sure enough they did and everybody was happy to come back."

Condon says several other waitresses have been at Maid's for more than a decade and one of her sons has worked in the kitchen for 25 years.

"It's like a family, it's a big family," Condon said.

Barb Condon marked 30 years at Maid Marian's in September 2018. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Keeping busy

Condon retired several years ago from her other job as a school custodian but she says she plans to keep busy. 

"I'm going to take about a month off and then I'm going to look for something a couple of days a week," Condon said.

"Maybe delivering, where I can be out seeing people and doing things. And I might volunteer a day a week at the soup kitchen and one day at the hospital."

Condon says she still plans to spend time at the diner but sitting with the regulars and having breakfast now. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Her days of carrying heavy plates laden with breakfast may be over but she says she'll still be spending time at the diner.

"I'll come here of course on Saturday for breakfast with the regulars and sit with them now instead of waiting on them." 

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Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water or in the gym rowing, or walking her dog.