I’m always on the lookout for the fun and unusual places on the Route 66 trail. Now I’ve never seen the movie Bagdad Café, but a lot of people from Europe have.
The day I pulled onto the gravel lot at 46548 National Trails Hwy. Newberry Springs, CA, I noticed the large white European travel bus parked a slight distance from the building. Several people clicked away on their cameras while others milled in and out of the cafe front door.
The pulsing energy drew me in as I snaked my way around the thick crowd. Booty bumping, languages galore and camera flashes made the room fill like a paparazzi party.
A woman behind the counter that I later learned was the manager, Andrea Pruett, took my camera and with a gentle shove, placing me behind the register and began firing away as she complimented my smile. Over the den of voices and jukebox music, she explained that in 1987, Bagdad Café was filmed on site. In 1989 it won a Caesar award in France.
Andrea has owned the cafe for sixteen years and states, “75% of the business comes from the French, 20% from the rest of Europe, like Africa, Australia Brazil, Czech Republic, Japan, Hungary, New Zealand, Israel and 5% from Americans.” Her energy is palpable as she cashes out a sale, redirects one of her clerks to help a customer and keeps the music playing on the jukebox.
She has recently written a screenplay based on the true story of Bagdad Caféin five different languages. By the looks of things, Andrea will not be slowing down anytime soon.