Posted by: dinerhotline | October 19, 2014

First Author Event for New Hampshire Diners book set

NH-Diners-cvr_Large-version

The first Author Event for my book New Hampshire Diners: Classic Granite State Eateries is set for Sunday, October 26, 2014. It will be at the Barnes & Noble store in Salem, NH! I will be signing books from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Here is the announcement from their website…
http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4767982
The store is located at 125 S Broadway Route 28 in Salem, NH right across the street from Rockingham Park Racetrack. Phone is 603-898-1930

I will be doing one of my Lecture/Presentations at the Lucius Beebe Library in Wakefield, Massachusetts on Wednesday, October 8th. It will start at 7:00 PM. As usual the lecture is based on my book Classic Diners of Massachusetts but has some parts tailored to the venue, generally at the end of the presentation.


Flyer for the Slide Presentation & Lecture

for info besides what I have here check the Library at… http://www.wakefieldlibrary.org/library-news/classic-diners-of-massachusetts/

other info at… http://www.wakefieldlibrary.org/libraryinfo/hours/

 

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While the official publishing date for my New Hampshire Diner book is October 7th. I was contacted by my publisher the other day and was told the book is now available for pre-ordering! It is getting closer to reality! If anyone is interested, there are at least 3 different places to pre-order the book. The first is directly from my publisher… The History Press, you can check it out here at  https://historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/New-Hampshire-Diners/9781626194014.
Another place is Amazon… http://www.amazon.com/New-Hampshire-Diners-Eateries-American/dp/1626194017
and still another would be Barnes & Noble… http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-hampshire-diners-larry-cultrera/1119826883?ean=9781626194014.

If you want to see a little tease as to what’s inside check out this link at…

http://books.google.com/books?id=TmxhBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=new+hampshire+diners:+classic+granite+state+eateries
&source=bl&ots=Ie7fTZCNeI&sig=UX2PJU8yRoJZGrH8__3tiCNdIYQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xaQQVMHPCN
H2yQS81oCYCA&ved=0CFMQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=new%20hampshire%20diners%3A%20classic
%20granite%20state%20eateries&f=false

 

NH-Diners-cvr_Large-version

 

Service-area_Hi-Way-Diner-sign1a
a portion of the sign at the construction site of the Northbound Welcome Center
in Hooksett, NH. If you look closely, you can see a rendering of the diner which
actually looks nothing like what they are building! In fact, it looks more like the
Route 104 Diner in New Hampton, NH! (see below)

Route-104-Diner-2
The Route 104 Diner in New Hampton is also operated by The Common Man
family of restaurants. The rendering above of the Hooksett Welcome Center looks
like this diner.

Not long after I had signed the contract to write the soon-to-be-published book – New Hampshire Diners: Classic Granite State Eateries (approximately a year ago) I had seen a press release from the Granite State announcing the total redesign and construction of the new Hooksett Welcome Centers (north & southbound) located across from each other on Interstate 93 (formerly known as the Hooksett Rest Areas). Located just north of the one and only Toll booths on this road, the rest areas originally housed rest rooms and possibly vending machines along with the State Liquor Stores. The press release below spells out what the new Welcome Centers will feature which is worlds away from what had been previously there. The thing that caught my eye was the fact that there would be on-site built diners incorporated into the new development. These diners (both referred to as the Hi-Way Diner) would be operated by Alex Ray’s company, The Common Man family of restaurants!  Check out the Official Press Release below…

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2013

Construction Begins on Redeveloping Hooksett Welcome Centers on Interstate 93
Groundbreaking Kicks Off Innovative Public-Private Project With The Common Man Restaurants

CONCORD – Calling it an innovative public-private partnership, Governor Maggie Hassan helped kick off construction work today on a major upgrade of the Hooksett Welcome Centers on Interstate 93 that will provide New Hampshire residents and visitors a wide range of new and improved services, including multiple dining options, an interactive visitors center, a NH Liquor and Wine Outlet store, a country store, a bank, and fueling stations.

The Governor led the groundbreaking for the project that brings together the State of New Hampshire and The Common Man family of restaurants to provide new, high-quality facilities replacing the existing northbound and southbound Welcome Centers.

“The Hooksett Welcome Centers project is an innovative public-private partnership that will help boost our economy and support our tourism industry by providing a high-quality welcome for all visitors to the Granite State,” Governor Hassan said. “With the project estimated to create over 130 long-term jobs, the new Welcome Centers will help spur economic growth and offer a uniquely New Hampshire experience that showcases what makes our state special.”

Under a 35-year ground lease with the State of New Hampshire, The Common Man family of restaurants is funding the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of both service areas, with the exception of the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet stores, which will be funded and operated by the NH Liquor Commission.

“This is a unique and innovative project involving all New Hampshire-based companies from the owner/operator, bank, architects, construction, and other partners,” said Alex Ray, owner and founder of The Common Man family of restaurants in New Hampshire.  “As a long-time resident and business owner in New Hampshire, I’m really looking forward to a fresh statement for visitors and residents at these welcome centers and service areas,” Ray said.

The redevelopment project will construct new buildings on both sides of the highway that will feature mill-building architectural style and house all Common Man food options in a food court setting, including a 1950s style diner, an Italian Farmhouse restaurant, a deli, and a breakfast shop.  A 24-hour convenience store, two new NH State Liquor & Wine Outlet stores, a bank branch, and an interactive and informative visitors center are also part of the redevelopment plan.  Irving Oil fueling stations for passenger vehicles will be added at each location, and a test run of plug-in stations for electric vehicles will launch at the new facilities.  When completed, the project will bring an estimated 137 new full-time jobs to the area.

“The Welcome Centers are often the first impression that visitors have of the state and this new facility will put our best foot forward. Providing modern and convenient facilities will help enhance our visitors’ experience”, said New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose.  “With tourism being the second-largest industry in the state, this will ensure that visitors have a positive impression of New Hampshire.”

The new 20,000-square-foot NH Liquor and Wine Outlet stores will more than double the size of the existing stores.

“These will be model Welcome Centers for New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement.  “It’s a great project for the Turnpike System, the DOT, the NH Liquor Commission, and the State.  The new Welcome Centers will be a “must stop” for commuters, tourists, and liquor store patrons.”

“These two new high-profile NH Liquor and Wine Outlet mega stores will benefit traveling guests and residents alike,” said NH Liquor Commission (NHLC) Chairman Joseph Mollica.  “Customers will experience the retail future of the NHLC thanks to numerous design improvements resulting in a more enjoyable shopping experience.   Spirit selections will increase by 50 percent and wine offerings will increase 75 percent, introducing customers to the hottest new brands and more exclusively allocated items.  All these factors lead us to project up to $6 million in sales increases between the two locations.”

In Fiscal Year 2013, sales at the I-93 NH Liquor and Wine Outlet stores at the Hooksett Welcome Centers were approximately $34.5 million.

“This development will set a new standard for the traveling public and shows our commitment to expand our retail network in New England with high quality destinations for travelers,” says Paul Browning, President & CEO of Irving Oil. “Irving Oil has a long tradition of providing excellent customer service and high-quality products to motorists; working with our partners, we’re delighted we will soon have the opportunity to enhance our service to both the local community and drivers on Interstate 93.”

Both Hooksett Welcome Centers, as well as the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet stores, will remain open throughout the construction project.  The new Hooksett Welcome/Service Centers are scheduled to be completed in April 2015.

For construction updates, site plans and downloadable renderings and photos, please visit http://www.nh.gov/dot/org/operations/turnpikes/ort/hooksett15970.htm.

I had spoken with Alex Ray of The Common Man family of restaurants when doing some research for the NH Diner book. I mentioned about the diners he had already been operating… the Tilt’n Diner in Tilton, the Route 104 Diner in New Hampton and the Airport Diner in Manchester. He was involved with the Tilt’n from the beginning when he bought and moved it in the late 1980s from its last operating location in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He had it in storage for a couple of years before finding a new operating location in Tilton. He basically set it up to be the front of the new, current restaurant. The Route 104 Diner had already been operating for a number of years as Bobby’s Girl Diner prior to his buying it, so the only change to that was a new parapet above the windows. Of the 3 diners, the Airport was the only one he had built from the ground up. It is attached to the Holiday Inn Express and certainly looks like a diner, inside and out. Ray told me he much preferred building from scratch instead of using an old classic diner as he did not have to deal with retrofitting an old building to conform to codes.

The last time I was up this way sometime in the Spring, both the Northbound and Southbound Welcome Centers were under construction but not far enough along to note where the diners would be located. But in recent weeks I had reports from Patty Desmond, a co-worker of mine as well as my sister Linda Artz who had noticed the facade of the diners taking shape. In fact Patty took a shot of the northbound location just over a week ago. I knew I would also be stopping by the locations to and from a family get-together in Laconia on Labor Day Weekend so I would also be taking some initial shots as well. Because of Patty’s photo I knew the site was surrounded by construction fences which would more than likely prohibit me from getting decent shots, and this was certainly the case as evidenced by the following photos.

Hi-Way-Diner-Northbound-1
The exterior of the Hi-Way Diner at the Northbound Welcome Center on I-93
in Hooksett, NH. August 31, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hi-Way-Diner-Northbound-2a
The exterior of the Hi-Way Diner at the Northbound Welcome Center on I-93
in Hooksett, NH. August 31, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hi-Way-Diner-Southbound-1
The exterior of the Hi-Way Diner at the Southbound Welcome Center on I-93
in Hooksett, NH. August 31, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hi-Way-Diner-Southbound-2
The exterior of the Hi-Way Diner at the Southbound Welcome Center on I-93
in Hooksett, NH. August 31, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Southbound side is not quite as far along as the the Northbound side, although as you can see, the buildings are mirror images across the highway from each other. As mentioned above, the 2 diners do not resemble the artist’s rendering on the sign at both construction sites but are more reminiscent of the Airport Diner in Manchester, which seem more in line to what I would have thought! The next photo shows the Airport Diner in Manchester, where you can see the similarities.

Airport-Diner-2
The Airport Diner at the Holiday Inn Express at 2280 Brown Avenue in Manchester.
April 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Tilt’n Diner in Tilton, NH is the other diner operated by The Common Man family of restaurants…

Tilt'n-Diner-5
The Tilt’n Diner is a 1950 vintage Jerry O’Mahony Diner that previously operated
in Waltham, Mass. (1950-1970) and Salisbury, Mass. (1970-1986).

Ironically, my old friend Ron Dylewski stopped to photograph the Hi-Way Diner on the northbound side on his way to Meredith, NH the very same day I was there (this past Sunday) and sent a message as well as his own photo. Looks like he avoided getting the construction fence in the shot by putting his camera thru the small gap between sections. If I had used my smaller Nikon digital camera instead of the larger Pentax DSLR, I possibly could have got a shot like that as well!

hooksstt_faux_diner
Ron Dylewski’s photo from this past Sunday of the Hi-Way Diner in Hooksett, NH

By the amount of work left to be done on the project, I would not expect to see these open before the end of the year, but who knows… I could be surprised! And by the way, they are mentioned breifly in the new book in Chapter 4 – the On-Site/Homemade Diners section under the Airport Diner. Thanks to Ron Dylewski for sending along the the photo as well as the link about the announcement from last October, it saved me a little time!

orVinyl-Dialogues-cover

Mike Morsch has written a new book that was published this past Spring by Biblio Publishing out of Columbus, Ohio. The book is entitled “The Vinyl Dialogues” and features a whole slew of stories behind some memorable LP record albums from the 1970s as told by the artists who recorded them. Artists like Doug Clifford, the drummer for Creedence Clearwater Revival (and now of Creedence Clearwater Revisted) talking about the band’s “Cosmo’s Factory” album, or Dino Danelli of The Rascals (formerly Young Rascals) talking about the very last album the band produced… “Search and Nearness” and even Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong (Cheech & Chong) talking about their album “Los Cochinos” which featured the hit song “Basketball Jones”, among many others. But the part of the book that especially interested me was the chapter on Daryl Hall & John Oates “Abandoned Luncheonette” album from 1973. Mike ended up using 2 of my circa 1982 photos as well as a scan of the postcard of the Rosedale Diner, the diner that became the Abandoned Luncheonette!

M2_Burlington-by-the-book_8-8-2014
Mike Morsch at an author’s event held at Burlington By The Book
on a recent trip to Burlington, Iowa (photo courtesy of Mike Morsch)

An experienced journalist, for over 36 years – humor columnist and writer, currently residing in Montgomeryville, PA, Mike Morsch is also the author of the book, “Dancing in My Underwear: The Soundtrack of My Life”. He was the executive editor of Montgomery Newspapers (2003-2013) where his award-winning humor column “Outta Leftfield” has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the Suburban Newspapers of America and the Philadelphia Press Association. I first heard of Mike Morsch back in February of 2013  thru a piece he wrote about the 40th Anniversary of the release of Daryl Hall & John Oates LP record album “Abandoned Luncheonette”. He actually told the story of the creation of the album as well as Hall & Oates association with the former Rosedale Diner that was depicted on the album cover. The link to that article is here… http://montgomerynews.com/articles/2013/02/13/entertainment/doc511a77017c794300082354.txt?viewmode=fullstory.  I found out in researching for that piece, Mike found my blog post from August 2010 (co-written with Matt Simmons) that told about the album cover from the Rosedale Diner’s point of reference, find it here at… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/the-story-of-the-the-abandoned-luncheonette-aka-the-rosedale-diner/.

When I contacted Mike back then about his piece he said that our blog post was very useful in helping him track down dates so that he had an idea when he went to the local newspaper in Pottstown to research its archives”. He went on to sayIt was a thorough piece and that we had done a lot of good legwork on it” (mostly Matt IMHO).  I subsequently wrote about his piece here at Diner Hotline… http://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/finally-the-abandoned-luncheonette-from-hall-oates-point-of-view/. Morsch also wrote a companion piece that appeared in a prominent music magazine around the same time. He sent me this message with a link…Larry: Here is the second H&O story, which was just put online by American Songwriter magazine: http://www.americansongwriter.com/2013/02/hall-oates/ “. These 2 articles basically became the catalyst for Mike writing his book, The Vinyl Dialogues!

What lead Mike in this direction was his love of popular music. Like a lot of us, he grew up listening to music, originally through exposure to his parent’s record collection and/or radio listening preferences. Usually by the time you are into your early “teens” you develop your own likes and preferences apart from your parents and more in tune with what your generation is currently listening to, and Mike was no exception to this. As he goes on to say in his introduction… “When I was a kid growing up in Central Illinois, my folks had a record collection that consisted of popular music from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. I played those vinyl albums – Elvis, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Association and many more – so much so I wore them out. By the time the 1970s rolled around and I was in high school, I was more into eight-track tapes, cassettes, big bushy sideburns and bell-bottomed pants”. (“Seventies suave” indeed.) He goes on to say that he “still did not have his own record collection!”

35 years later he decided to change all that when for Christmas of 2012, his wife bought him a turntable, thus facilitating the beginning in earnest of a vinyl record buying spree that continues unabated to the present! He approached this as a personal odyssey to listen to some of his favorite artist’s early work via their purest form of analog recording on vinyl records. Living in the greater Philadelphia area, Morsch had quite a few record stores to choose from to help feed his hunger for vintage LP’s. He goes on to explain that the first album he coveted was the Atlantic Records 1973 release of Daryl Hall & John Oates “Abandoned Luncheonette”! He found a pristine example early on in his search and this ultimately lead to the writing of his new book. He had so much fun writing this book that he is already lining up interviews for a second volume of The Vinyl Dialogues! The story continues…

rosedale-postcard
The Postcard image (from my collection) of the Rosedale Diner appears on
Page 105 of Mike Morsch’s “The Vinyl Dialogues”

rosedale1
My 1982 exterior photo of the Abandoned Luncheonette appears on
Page 110 of Mike Morsch’s “The Vinyl Dialogues”

rosedale5
My 1982 interior photo of the Abandoned Luncheonette appears on
Page 112 of Mike Morsch’s “The Vinyl Dialogues”

I highly recommend this book if your interests include 1970s popular music and how or why some of this came to fruition. It certainly is an enjoyable read! I am always happy to see my photos get published in something other than this blog or my own books, as the acknowledgement is a validation of my passion for doing  a small part in helping to document the American Roadside with my photographs.

Check out Mike’s Facebook page for the book… https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vinyl-Dialogues/300977096732836 as well as the book’s website… http://www.vinyldialogues.com/ and even the blog… http://vinyldialogues.com/VinylDialoguesBlog/

 

 

 

Haven-Brothers movie logo

 

In catching up on my blog posts, I am finally getting around to mentioning about attending the World Premiere of a documentary movie that was held on June 7, 2014 at the historic Columbus Theater in Providence, RI.  The documentary was filmed by Jeff Toste and tells the story of “The Oldest Operating Diner on Wheels” – Haven Brothers Diner of Providence! I had known about the making of this movie as I had been contacted by Jeff  to be interviewed  approximately 2 years or so ago. In fact I did have 2 small appearances within the film and I have to say I was pleased with how I came across! Jeff did an extremely great job in putting together hundreds of interviews to create this highly informative and entertaining film! I was honored to have a small part in it, thanks Jeff! The next 2 photos were shot the day that Jeff interviewed me back in the spring of 2012. The diner had just pulled in to start the daily shift from 5:00 PM til the early morning.

Haven-Bros.-7
Haven Brothers Diner, Providence, RI. Circa 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

Haven-Bros.-4
Haven Brothers Diner, Providence, RI. Circa 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

Haven-Bros.-5
The sign showing the reserved spot the diner has next door to City Hall in
Providence. Circa 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

Denise and I drove down to Providence on June 7th and had lunch at the newly restored West Side Diner not too far from the Columbus Theater. When we got to the theater in the early evening we saw old friends Paula Walsh (and her husband Ed) as well as her partner in crime, Denise Bass. I also finally met Chris Martin who is a Facebook friend and long-time acquaintance. He was also one of the people interviewed in the movie. The next few shots show Haven Brothers Diner parked right out in front of the the Theater on the evening of the Premiere!

Haven-Bros-Premiere-1
Haven Brothers Diner outside of the Columbus Theater, Providence, RI.
Before the World Premiere of the movie, June 7, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Haven-Bros-Premiere-2
Haven Brothers Diner outside of the Columbus Theater, Providence, RI.
Before the World Premiere of the movie, June 7, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Haven-Bros-Premiere-4
Haven Brothers Diner outside of the Columbus Theater, Providence, RI.
After the World Premiere of the movie, June 7, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Haven-Bros-Premiere-5
Haven Brothers Diner outside of the Columbus Theater, Providence, RI.
After the World Premiere of the movie, June 7, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Haven-Bros-Premiere-7
Haven Brothers Diner outside of the Columbus Theater, Providence, RI.
After the World Premiere of the movie, June 7, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Jeff Toste makes his directorial debut with this movie which is described as a “Feature length documentary” featuring an all Rhode Island music sampler soundtrack…

Haven Brothers: Legacy of the American Diner tells the story of Haven Bros. Diner, the oldest operating diner on wheels. The original “fast food,” the original food truck, this late night lunch cart has diligently served patrons for over 120 years. Located in the birthplace of the American diner, Providence, RI, the documentary centers around the fact that Haven Bros. was almost lost to the modernizing of Providence. The diner was moved from its reserved parking spot next to Providence City Hall, and this was considered blasphemy to its loyal followers.

In the words of lifelong Providence resident and founder of artists’ collaborative AS220, Umberto Crenca, “It’s not just the physical reality of it being here, but the conceptual reality of it being not here. What would be missed?”

Lovers, haters, historians, public officials, college students, and many colorful characters share the history and heartburn of the oldest diner
on wheels. (courtesy http://havenbrothersmovie.com/ ). The Haven Brothers Movie has been recently selected to take part in the Rhode Island International Film Fest and in fact it has won an award! See this link… http://www.providencejournal.com/features/entertainment/movies-tv/20140812-r.i.-international-film-fest-awards-prizes.ece

I highly recommend if you have a chance to see this movie, do it!

Posted by: dinerhotline | August 5, 2014

Exhibit on Silk City Diners

Silk-City-poster

My friend Michael Gabriele, Author of The History of Diners in New Jersey (The History Press, 2013) in conjunction with The Lambert Castle Museum is presenting an exhibit on Paterson’s Silk City Diner manufacturing business. It will open on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 and run through October 5, 2014 at the Lambert Castle Museum, 3 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ. There will be a reception on September 21st  which will double as a reunion of sorts for the extended Cooper family who started the Paterson Vehicle Company (manufacturers of the Silk City Diner). I must say that personally, Silk City Diners are quite possibly my favorite as far as the Jersey Diner builders are concerned!

The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. Attached is a link to the Lambert Castle website and the digital flyer for the exhibit.

http://www.lambertcastle.org/

I got word the other day from my friend Barry Henley (My Brother’s Place, Webster, Mass.) that the Central Diner was moved from its only operating location in Millbury, Massachusetts this week. The diner is a 1930 vintage Worcester Lunch Car (No. 763) which was built to replace a 1910 vintage Worcester Lunch Car on the same location for the Gillert family. They operated the 1930 diner into the 1980s before retiring and selling the property and business. There were a few operators after the Gillerts and the property that the diner sat on at some point ended up being owned by Millbury National Bank which actually blocked the diner’s inclusion to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places back around the year 2000. It was one of two diners on the multiple property submission by the Massachusetts Historical Commission to refuse the listing, the Edgemere Diner in Shrewsbury was the other one.

Central3a
Central Diner in Millbury, Mass. Photo by Larry Cultrera

The Central Diner closed earlier this year after being owned and operated by Chris and Amanda White for at least 10 years. Though capable, the White’s were not the friendliest operators I have come across. It was like night and day between them and the previous owners, Richard and Brigid Gore who were very friendly and personable. I wrote about the diner closing here… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/central-diner-closes-future-in-doubt/. There was recent talk that the diner was in danger of being destroyed unless someone came forward to buy and move it from the property. I know there have been possible interested buyers, but none who wanted to make the commitment. So when Barry contacted me thru Facebook, he sent along a link to a news piece about the diner being purchased and moved by Dave Pritchard of Salisbury, Mass. Dave owns Aran Trading, LTD., a company that deals in leasing and selling trucks, trailers and storage systems. Aran Trading is located just behind the former Chubby’s Diner right (Pritchard owns that one also) off I-95 at the Mass./New Hampshire line. Dave has become a sort of diner savior in the last 15 years and at various times has had the Englewood Diner, Fasano’s/Olympian Diner, the Monarch Diner and Miss Newport Diner stored at his yard. He sold the Miss Newport to Auto Dealer Kevin Meehan (Imperial Cars in the little town of Mendon, Mass.) who relocated and set the diner up as the Miss Mendon Diner. The Englewood was sold to New Balance Shoes who moved the diner adjacent to their corporate headquarters in Brighton, Mass. and restored it, using it for corporate functions as the Red Line Diner. The former Monarch Diner of Dover, NH and North Berwick, Maine was sold more recently to Roger Elkus who reopened the diner earlier this year at a new location in Portsmouth as Roger’s Redliner Diner. The last diner on the premises to my knowledge was Fasano’s/Olympian, a 1963 vintage Fodero colonial model that operated in South Braintree, Mass. until the late 1990s.

Monarch-&-Olympian-2
Fasano’s/Olympian Diner and the former Monarch Diner at Aran Trading, LTD.
Photo by Larry Cultrera

Pritchard1
The Miss Newport Diner and Englewood Diner at Aran Trading, LTD.
Photo by Larry Cultrera

I took a quick ride up to Salisbury on the morning of August 1st to get some photos and hopefully meet Dave Pritchard (finally, after all these years). I was lucky to find him at the office as he is a busy guy and is not always there! I had a pleasant time chatting with him talking about “diners”. He mentioned something that surprised me but not totally, not only did he have the Central Diner and Fasanao’s/Olympian Diner in the yard, but he had also recently acquired Worcester Lunch Car No. 666, formerly half of the Midway Diner (Shrewsbury) that Doug Johnson had for years in his yard in Andover.

Central-Diner-2_8-1-2014
The Central Diner at Aran Trading, LTD.

Central-Diner-1_8-1-2014
The Central Diner at Aran Trading, LTD.

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Dave Pritchard posing with the Central Diner at Aran Trading, LTD.

WLC-No-666-2_8-1-2014
Worcester Lunch Car No. 666, part of the former Midway Diner last operated
on U.S. Rte. 20 in Shrewsbury, Mass. at Aran Trading, LTD

WLC-No-666-1_8-1-2014
Worcester Lunch Car No. 666, part of the former Midway Diner last operated
on U.S. Rte. 20 in Shrewsbury, Mass. at Aran Trading, LTD

midway5
Midway Diner, U.S. Rte. 20 Shrewsbury, Mass.Number 636 is the diner on the
left, 4 windows on either side of that door on the left hand side. No. 666 is the diner
closest to me (the photographer) with 3 windows on either side of the door on the right hand
side. Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

I mentioned to Dave Pritchard that I noticed he also had the property a couple of blocks east on Main Street from Aran Trading that has the disguised former Dudley’s Diner on it. He confirmed that it was true and the diner was still inside the building. Below is a screen shot from Google Street View showing the building as it is today. Most people would never know there was a very rare early Sterling Diner buried within this building.

former Dudley's street view
Google Street View of the former Dudley’s Diner just down Main Street from
Aran Trading, LTD. Dave Pritchard owns this property as well.

The following to photos were from the early 1980s showing the diner before it got covered up.

Dudley's-Diner-1_6-13-1982
Dudley’s Diner the way it looked in June of 1982. Photo by Larry Cultrera

Dudley's-Diner-2_6-13-1982
Dudley’s Diner the way it looked in June of 1982. Photo by Larry Cultrera

The photo below is an exterior view of the same diner when it was brand-new at it’s original location in Ipswich. The diner was moved after a short time and ended up in Salem, Mass., then Claremont, NH before coming to Salisbury Where it was operated by Jimmy Evans who later went on to owning and operating Ann’s Diner also in Salisbury.

Strand-Diner-Ipswich-exterior
Exterior view of the Strand Diner at it’s original location in Ipswich, Mass.
This became Dudley’s Diner many years later.

Strand-Diner-Ipswich-interior
Interior view of the Strand Diner at it’s original location in Ipswich, Mass.
This became Dudley’s Diner many years later.

On another note, the diner I have referred to as Fasano’s/Olympian was bought brand-new by the Fasano Family and operated from 1963 until June of  1998 in South Braintree, Mass. The Fasano’s sold the diner in 1976 and by 1981 Paul Margetis became the owner who operated it as the Olympian Diner until 1998 when he was forced off the property for a new Osco Drug store. Margetis wanted to move the diner to another location nearby but that idea was eventually shot down by the town of Braintree. Ironically Ralph Fasano, the grandson of the original owner stepped in and bought the diner and moved it into storage with the hopes of finding a new location for it. That too never worked out and Dave Pritchard bought the diner. Dave informed me that he has in fact recently sold the diner and it will be moved to Leominster, Mass. in the near future although it is not clear if the new owner will put it into service.

Posted by: dinerhotline | July 27, 2014

Diner Hotline is back from hiatus….

I’ll bet a lot of my regular readers who are not connected to me on Facebook have been wondering where I have been. The last post was at the beginning of May and I have been inactive ever since! In fact it is probably the longest period between posts since I started the blog on October 31, 2007! Well some of you know I had contracted with The History Press to author another Diner book…. this new one is called New Hampshire Diners: Classic Granite State Eateries. It is sort of a follow-up to my Classic Diners of Massachusetts that was published almost 3 years ago – October of 2011. I actually worked it out with the publisher to have a longer lead-time with this book but outside of taking a bunch of new photos in late summer and early fall of New Hampshire diners, I basically dragged my feet in the writing department through a portion of the winter. So with the deadline looming I pushed thru the remaining time that I had, between not only working my regular job and trying to write the manuscript, I also was dealing with a health issue that had been coming on.

Back at the end of January I learned that I had Type 2 Diabetes and had to make some lifestyle changes. With the help of my wife Denise, I changed my diet by cutting back on almost all carbohydrates and pretty much all sweets as well as started walking the treadmill at a local gym. So I had to work the gym time into the schedule with the regular work and book writing, which of course increased the anxiety of getting everything done! I am happy to say that all the hard work paid off. I lost around 40 pounds since January and am no longer considered in the diabetes range. I am classified as glucose intolerant which means I will pretty much have to always watch the carbs and sweets intake and am allowed the occasional cheat. I am currently (according to my new scale) just over 170 pounds which is pretty amazing as I probably have not been this weight in 30 years or more!

Larry,-11-3-2013
November of 2013 weighing in at around 214 pounds or so.

LAC-&-RJSG_4-13-2014
April 13, 2014 with Dick Gutman after my slide presentation at the
Morse Institute Library in Natick, Mass. In this photo I am under 180 pounds and
I am actually even lighter at the time of this post!

Anyway, I also met the deadlines for the book,as the photos were submitted a week before the July 1st deadline and the manuscript 2 days before the July 22nd deadline! I approached this book differently than the first as the diner scene in New Hampshire is not as straightforward (in my mind) as Massachusetts was. In Massachusetts I was able to separate the chapters into the different regions of the state which made writing that book fairly easy. New Hampshire’s diners can be classified as either spread out or concentrated into small groups, making the regional chapters unworkable. I instead decided to break the book in chapters that touched on the strengths of this particular demographic that the state seems to dictate. Starting out with “Lunch Wagons, I of course show some old postcards from the collection that depict lunch wagons in street scenes and then went on to feature Gilley’s P.M Lunch, the last surviving truck-pulled Worcester Lunch Car (now permanently anchored and no longer movable) in downtown Portsmouth. The other place I featured in this chapter was the Lion’s Corner Popcorn Wagon of Goffstown. I consider this a second cousin to a lunch wagon and that is why I included it here.

Image-001_Woodsville_1914
A postcard image showing a lunch wagon in Woodsville, NH circa 1914

Image-004Gilley's-Lunch-1
Gilley’s P.M. Lunch in Portsmouth, NH. April 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Lion’s Corner Popcorn Wagon in Goffstown, NH. May 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chapter 2 is the longest chapter that talks about “Long-time Favorites”, basically diners that have spent their entire life (or in some cases, most of their life) operating in the Granite State!

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One of the Long-time Favorites is the Bristol Diner of Bristol, NH.
May 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Another Long-time Favorite is the Milford Red Arrow Diner.
May 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

The 3rd Chapter is about “Transplanted Diners”. New Hampshire is unique in the New England region because even though a lot of diners have disappeared or moved out of state in the last 50 years, at least 8 or 9 diners have actually been moved into New Hampshire in the last 35 years after having operated in other states previously!

Image-039_Tilt'n-Diner_Linda's-Jackpot
The Tilt’n Diner when it was in Salisbury, Mass. as Linda’s Jackpot Diner.
Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

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The Tilt’n Diner of Tilton, NH today. August 3, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-045_Route-104-Diner_Lloyd's
The Route 104 Diner at its original location on Route 6 in Johnston, RI operating
as Lloyd’s Diner. October 29, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

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The Route 104 Diner of New Hampton, NH today. August 3, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chapter 4 has the “Onsite/Homemade Diners” of which there are more than quite a few in the Granite State.

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George’s Diner of Meredith, NH. August 3, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-060_Joey's-Diner-2
Joey’s Diner of Amherst, NH. May 18, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chapter 5 is called “Former New Hampshire Diners Living Another Life Elsewhere” and deals with diners that have moved out of New Hampshire, either to a new operating location, or at the very least into storage for possible reuse.

Image-067_Tony's-Diner-NH-4
Tony’s Diner of Rye, NH. Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-071_Louis'-Diner
Louis’ Diner of Concord, NH. Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

 

The last Chapter (6) brings attention to some “Lost Diners”, including ones I have managed to photograph since the early 1980s as well as old postcard images of others that do not exist anymore!

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The Lancaster Diner of Lancaster, NH. January 4, 1986 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-078_Andre's-Diner-1
Andre’s Diner of Manchester, NH. August 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

 

A bonus that I had not planned to include was a piece on “Spider Osgood”, probably the most incredible short order cook ever to work a back bar! The idea cropped up while doing research and ended up being something that needed to be included in any book about New Hampshire Diners. Ken “Spider” Osgood was a well know character in and around the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and there are many people who have related stories about this guy over the years. I started hearing about him back around the mid-1980s and in 1989, while being interviewed by a producer for a segment on Diners for the CBS Sunday Morning show, the cameraman related a story to me about recalling this guy everyone called Spider working the grill of a diner he frequented back in his college days. So I googled his name and found this video made from a movie shot by Gary Anderson of New Hampshire Movies Inc. back in 1971. This shows Spider at his best late one night….  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR1Z99XgQew

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Spider Osgood at the Paugus Diner. 1991 photo by George Surabian

 

I recently got the first draft of what the cover will look like back from the publisher and besides an edit on the back of the cover this is pretty much the way it will look….

401.4-NH-Diners-cvr

I like the mix of new an old photos on this cover as in fact this book does feature a lot of before and after shots. More than the last book! I am also glad they took my suggestion of including Mary Ann’s Diner on the cover and that it is the largest image outside of the title block! For many years I have been looking to take the definitive photo of this on-site diner and was never successful. Part of the problem (OK, most of the problem) was the fact that I was always there in the morning and it was never the best light for a photo. Finally at the end of a day shooting diners for the book back in April, I was on my way back from the Lakes Region and decided to swing by on the way home. This was around 3:00 or 3:30 pm after the place closed for the day. It was the perfect light! When I downloaded it from the camera I saw this shot and said YES! This should be on the cover of the book!

The book should be published by October. I’ll keep you posted

Shawmut-Diner-5_3-30-2104
New Bedford, Massachusetts’ Shawmut Diner on next-to-last day of operation
March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

On a rainy, gloomy Sunday morning, Denise and I visited the Shawmut Diner for the last time at its first and only operating location! We had a late breakfast at around 11:00 am (we usually eat closer to 7:00 am) in the extremely crowded diner. Phil & Celeste Paleologos, the owners and caretakers of this well preserved late model (1954) Jerry O’Mahony diner since February of 1981 had decided to retire. A deal was made to sell the valuable property located at the busy corner of Shawmut Avenue and Hathaway Road to convenience store chain Cumberland Farms. The Paleologos’ knowing the nostalgic value of the diner building were hoping to find a local buyer who would move the diner to a new location but these likely buyers never materialized. So at the time of the closing Phil was resigned to move the diner off the property and into storage on his dime.

Shawmut-Diner-1_3-30-2104
The Shawmut Diner serving a packed crowd on the last Sunday in operation
March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

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The Shawmut Diner serving a packed crowd on the last Sunday in operation
March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Shawmut-Diner-4_3-30-2104
Saying goodbye to Phil & Celeste Paleologos, among the most congenial hosts
I have ever had the pleasure to know! March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

After we had an excellent last breakfast (I had to sample some of Denise’s wonderful Shawmut Diner Cheese Roll) as well as an emotional farewell to Phil, Celeste and the diner, we drove back home and I immediately downloaded my photos to the computer. I posted 2 or 3 on my Facebook page. I had made plans to start this post but decided to hold off. I had heard from Marybeth Shanahan who inquired about the diner. Marybeth is the owner of the Dream Diner in Tyngsboro, Mass. The Dream Diner is a stick-built (on-site) diner that does a tremendous business hard by the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. Marybeth’s “dream” has always been to somehow obtain a classic diner and asked me if I thought the Shawmut would fit in front of her building. I told her that it probably would but she would have to sacrifice some parking to do it. So the next day I got Phil and Marybeth together to talk it over. After Phil made some inquiries about the cost of moving the diner it was decided that the cost to move it from New Bedford on the South Coast to Tyngsboro in the Northern Suburbs was probably cost prohibitive for Marybeth.

So now Phil & Celeste had to come to a final decision as to the final solution to where the diner would ultimately go, as it needed to be moved ASAP. Well this past Tuesday (2 days ago), I got an urgent message to call Phil. He told me that they had come to a decision and the family decided to donate the diner to the nearby Bristol County House of Correction. The prison is located about six miles from the diner’s location, making the move relatively short, but albeit still a very costly one. Phil made the official announcement the next day on his radio show (WBSM-AM, Mid-Day magazine show).

Phil also sent this email to me and Richard Gutman as a courtesy announcement…

Hi Larry and Dick: As nationally revered diner experts, I wanted to personally share some good news with you and all our diner friends. Celeste and I, along with our children, have decided to donate the Shawmut Diner to the Bristol County House of Correction on Faunce Corner Rd. in Dartmouth, Mass. In what is an unconventional move, to say the least, is also the direction we decided for our diner as she enters a new chapter of serving people. We’ve always thanked God for the blessings the Shawmut Diner gave us as a family, and to the community, as well. More than just a local eatery, the diner has taken on a spirit of community building and goodwill. That’s the reasoning behind our donation. In essence, we are hopeful the diner will give inmates a new beginning that they can take with them as they transition back into the community from incarceration. The diner will be lifted off its foundation on Friday, May 2, however, it will be transported to its new home on Tuesday, May 6 at 9 am.

 As always, Celeste, Andrea, Athena, Alex, our 7 grandchildren and I send our warmest regards!

It has yet to be determined if the diner will be open to the public when at the new location but it is seriously being considered by the Bristol County Sherriff, Thomas Hodgson. If it does, I will certainly check it out!
The following is a link to A South Coast Today article…
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140501/NEWS/405010383

The following are images from my collection…

beckys_shawmut_diner
a painting by my friend Becky Haletky, highly reminiscent of my last visit in March!

 

Shawmut-Diner-2_5-28-11
a photo of mine that appeared in my book, Classic Diners of Massachusetts

 

Shawmut1
Perhaps my favorite of all my photos of this diner over the years…

I will say this again, I will miss going to this diner when in the neighborhood as well as seeing my friends, Phil & Celeste. I want to wish Phil and Celeste a happy retirement, I know we will stay in touch!

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