HARRY’S Diner in the Brisbane suburb of Windsor was opened 25 years ago by a bloke named Harry and his son. Tony ‘Webby’ Webb, of CULPRIT LJ Torana fame, was at the grand opening and has been going there ever since. But around 10 years ago Harry’s was struggling to survive, so Webby did a cruise night with five or six of his mates and their old-school cars to try and drum up some business. The idea caught on and Webby’s cruise from Harry’s has been growing ever since, driving to various spots around Brisbane.
For the past three years, an average of 200 cars would come to each event. “It was great; everyone behaved, there were no burnouts, and we filled Harry’s Diner, the car park across the road and the shopping centre around the corner,” Webby recalled.
Unfortunately the current owners of Harry’s had been copping a bit of grief from their body corporate about the whole car parking situation, and business was slow during the week, so a couple of weeks ago they closed, effective immediately.
“I found out on the news on Wednesday, and that night I made a tribute event on Facebook for the last Harry’s cruise,” Webby said. “The next morning I woke up and 700 people had clicked ‘attending’!” Clearly the final cruise was going to be huge, so Webby organised traffic management and notified the local police.
On the night, 1000 cars rocked up; everything from vintage stuff to classic and modified Aussie and US muscle, to late-model plastic-bumper rides. “We had people that hadn’t been to Harry’s for five or six years come to say goodbye, and for the last one we opened it up for all cars instead of just steel-bumper and carby,” Webby explained. “We had kids running around everywhere and everyone was well behaved – not one person drank or did burnouts.
“Even though they had closed Harry’s a couple of weeks before the cruise, the owners actually gave me the keys and let me open and close for the night, which was pretty cool.”
So what’s going to happen now? The owners of Harry’s Diner are looking at opening a burger bar elsewhere, but they aren’t car people, so it won’t have the same vibe and is unlikely to have the parking capacity.
“We’ve done a couple of cruises out to Bunnings Carseldine with a few food trucks, but I’m taking a break now while I decide where I want to take the event,” Webby said. “I’ve had a few food businesses contact and offer to have us, but it wouldn’t do credit to Harry’s to try and replicate it.”