On a recent weekend morning I took off with my best little buddy looking for something fun to do. Mother Nature was not cooperating with us, leaving little to do outside, and suggestions of our usual indoor adventures were not being met with much enthusiasm. An ardent fan of monster trucks, he asked if we could go to the Monster Jam. The monster trucks weren’t in town, but his favorite truck, the Grave Digger is based in North Carolina just about an hour south of us. I was a fan of the Grave Digger when I was a boy, and I have to admit I was as excited to check out Digger’s Dungeon as he was.
Digger’s Dungeon and Digger’s Diner are but a small roadside stop on Caratoke Highway on the ride into North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The “Dungeon” is actually a small gift shop with all manner of Grave Digger and Monster Jam toys and memorabilia. Though he was not there for our visit, Grave Digger creator and driver Dennis Anderson makes scheduled visits to the Dungeon to meet fans and sign autographs.
Next door is a Power Wheels dirt track where kids can race Power Wheels trucks in the warmer months, and behind that a large track where for five bucks you can take a ride in a real monster truck during the spring and summer months. The property is also littered with retired Grave Digger trucks for curious fans to check out and pose for photos.
Past the gift shop, the garage – where you can sometimes watch the crew working on A-list monster trucks, and the track is Digger’s Diner, a shiny 1950’s style diner. The interior is adorned with Grave Digger decor and memorabilia, as you would expect, and Monster Jam dvds loop on flatscreens on either side of the counter. Menu items include typical diner fare, as well as some locally inspired plates. My little buddy had a hot dog and waffle fries served on a Grave Digger frisbee and I went with a crab sandwich. The food was good, reasonably priced, and came with great service.
Ironically, the weekend after our trip to Digger’s Dungeon the real life Dennis Anderson, owner and driver of the Grave Digger sat down next to me in the Philadelphia airport. Anderson isn’t a tough guy to recognize. He’s a bear of a guy to begin with, but he was also decked out in Grave Digger swag from head to toe. If all that combined with the signature mustache still leaves you unsure, his luggage has “Dennis Anderson” embroidered right on it. So there you have it.
I introduced myself and told him I had just taken my son down to his place the weekend prior and showed him a few photos of my boy sitting on the fence outside the diner. The guy really couldn’t have been any nicer. After a brief conversation he autographed a Hot Rod Magazine I had in my bag, told me about the upcoming annual Grave Digger Easter egg hunt and said he hoped to see us there. We didn’t make it this time, but I’m sure it won’t be our last visit to the Dungeon.