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Founder Of Bette's Oceanview Diner In Berkeley Leaves Behind A Legacy

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) -- Bette's Oceanview diner has been a Berkeley institution for almost 35 years is known for its famous pancakes and brunch.

It's well-known founder, Bette Kroening, even wrote a book about her special pancakes. She worked there until she couldn't anymore, battling lung cancer.

Lucie Kroening is Bette's daughter and says, "The restaurant meant everything to her."

Lucie, grew up in the restaurant and says the restaurant was a product of her parents' love story.

Lucie said her mother was a social worker, but loved cooking. And that her father wanted to spend as much time with her as possible, so they opened the restaurant so they could be together.

It's a family run business and Lucie says her mother treated everyone, both workers and customers, as family.

Some of the workers have been here from almost the beginning. Chef Darryl Kimble worked alongside Bette for almost 33 years.

Kimble said, "It's like losing a mother. You could talk to her about anything."

Aside from bette's famous pancakes... The diner made national headlines in 1991 when a waitress asked a man to leave because he was reading a Playboy magazine next to families that were eating.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner sent free copies for men to read the magazine in front of the restaurant to protest and argued it was free speech.

That move drew counter protest from people who supported the restaurant.

And to this day, Bette's diner still has a huge following due to the good food and partly because not a whole lot has changed. The jukebox, the tiles and the seats are still the same after all these years.

Longtime customers are sad by Bette's passing, but grateful for what she did for the community.

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