Legends Diner sign

The co-owners of Legends Diner in Denton have posted a sign instructing guests to wear masks, and one that says diners will pay $50 “if I have to explain why masks are mandatory” and $75 “if I have to hear why you disagree.”

Customers at Legends Diner in Denton are met with a new pink sign on the door when they visit the breakfast spot: “Our new surcharge,” the sign says: “$50 if I have to explain why masks are mandatory” and “$75 if I have to hear why you disagree...”

Co-owners Wayne and Kat LaCombe are asking their customers and employees to continue to wear masks even though the mask mandate lifted in Texas on March 10.

Owners

Owners Kat and Wayne LaCombe opened Legends Diner in 2019. The retro-style diner is located at 508 S. Elm St.

“I just can’t afford to get the virus. We’d have to shut our business down,” said Wayne LaCombe. His wife, Kat, is a retired nurse, and the couple has lived in Denton for more than 40 years. She is now the chef and co-owner of Legends, and she makes what her husband says is “the best patty melt in town.”

The two were set to get their first COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, but Wayne LaCombe notes that the shot doesn’t make people “invincible,” and he will still wear a mask afterward.

Besides, he said, a majority of the customers at the 1950s-style diner are over 60 years old.

“We want to stay safe for them,” he said. “For our customers, our employees, it’s the right thing to do.”

Legends Diner on South Elm Street joins hundreds if not thousands of restaurant owners in Dallas-Fort Worth who are continuing to wear masks and asking their customers to do the same. Dallas Morning News reporters found that customers and restaurant workers were mostly masked the day the mandate lifted in Texas.

The LaCombes got the idea to hang the “surcharge” sign after seeing a shop in Oregon post its own sign. People have been “lining up to take pictures of it,” Wayne said.

So far, no one has been charged $50 or $75 for not complying with the Denton restaurant’s mask rules. But he’s ready to use it if he needs to.

“I had two ladies who just left; and I was getting ready to charge them,” LaCombe said Tuesday morning. “They came in wearing a mask; they had breakfast. ... When they came up to pay, they didn’t have their mask on and I had to explain to them why it was important.”

“But no,” he said, “I didn’t charge them.”

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