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!

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November of 2013 weighing in at around 214 pounds or so.

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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.

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A postcard image showing a lunch wagon in Woodsville, NH circa 1914

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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!

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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

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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

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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.

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Tony’s Diner of Rye, NH. Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

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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

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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….

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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

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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.

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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

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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…

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

 

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a photo of mine that appeared in my book, Classic Diners of Massachusetts

 

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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!

Posted by: dinerhotline | March 30, 2014

The last Sunday at the Shawmut Diner

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The Shawmut Diner of New Bedford, Mass.
March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Well, it was a bitter-sweet trip down to New Bedford, Massachusetts on a rainy Sunday morning at the end of March! Part of our mission was to have a late (for us) breakfast at the incomparable Shawmut Diner. But the most important reason for the trip was to be witness to the last Sunday open for this diner. Phil & Celeste Paleologos have owned the diner since February of 1981 and made the diner not only a local landmark known for good food and and tons of hospitality, but it was also a must-visit destination for any diner lover who was anywhere near the South Coast area of the Bay State! Phil & Celeste have decided to hang up the spatulas and aprons and retire from the business.

They received an offer for the property (which they accepted) to be used for another type of business but they did not want to see the diner get destroyed. After all it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a superb example of a late model Jerry O’Mahony diner. Phil did attempt to find someone to buy the building but time has run out, so he is paying to have the diner moved into storage locally until a suitable buyer comes forward. Phil says he has received offers from out-of-state buyers and so far has rejected those. Ideally, he wants to see the diner stay in the immediate vicinity and not be moved out of state. The diner’s last official day of business is tomorrow, March 31st.

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Interior view of the Shawmut Diner, the place was really hopping!
March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Interior view of the Shawmut Diner, the place was really hopping!
March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

I know Phil will stay busy with his afternoon radio show on WBSM and Celeste will be busy with their grandchildren! I am certainly conflicted as this diner holds a special place in my heart as well as my life, primarily due to the friendship I have with the Paleologos’! But I know we will remain friends and be in contact for many years to come and I wish them well for the future! Good luck Phil & Celeste until we meet again!

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Phil & Celeste Paleologos… the  extremely congenial hosts at Shawmut Diner!
March 30, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Posted by: dinerhotline | February 15, 2014

Ugly Mug Diner proposed for Salem, Mass.

My friends Diane and Lee Wolf, owners of the Lobster Shanty in downtown Salem, Mass. are planning to open a restaurant called the Ugly Mug Diner soon, right around the corner from the Lobster Shanty. Here is a press release about their efforts……

Local Restaurateurs Seek Crowd Funding to Bring Unique Diner to Salem

February 3, 2014, Salem, Mass. — Salem residents Diane and Lee Wolf are hoping to open a diner at 122 Washington Street, previous home of A Taste of Thyme Café. Since 2007, the couple has owned and operated the popular Lobster Shanty on Artists’ Row, which was featured in an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The plan for the new eatery, dubbed The Ugly Mug Diner, is to create a fun, funky combination of old and new. The diner will offer handmade, fresh foods that are locally sourced when possible while maintaining a classic diner atmosphere with weekly specials and breakfast served all day.

All photos courtesy of Diane Wolf

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exterior of the building that will house the Ugly Mug Diner. It is going into the spot on the right-hand side of the building where the blue & white sign is in the window.

Ugly-Mug-9aA close-up showing the storefront for the new establishment

“Our laser-like focus on the food will set us apart from other breakfast spots,” said Ms. Wolf, a graduate of the Culinary Arts program at Johnson & Wales University.  “We’ll be a full-service diner with culinary professionals in the kitchen. We will cure our own bacon, serve farm-fresh eggs, smoke our own salmon for bagels, and whip our own cream.  We have fostered relationships with local farmers, including Maitland Mountain Farms here in Salem, to provide us with the best foods to offer our guests.” The Wolfs are sourcing capital from several places, including RocketHub, a crowd-funding website that recently garnered attention for its partnership with A&E Networks. The couple’s goal is to raise $50,000 through RocketHub by the end of February. Within the first 12 hours of the project going live, dozens of friends and several city leaders had contributed.

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Interior detail showing the counter and stools

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Here is another interior shot looking from behind the counter toward the dining area.

Hoping crowdsourcing will help turn their diner dream into a reality, the couple is offering incentives such as the contributor’s name engraved on a dining room chair, naming rights to a menu item, a VIP dinner for six at the diner, and an in-home cooking class for six. More information on the diner and the crowdsourcing plant is at http://www.rockethub.com/projects/38812-partner-with-the-ugly-mug-diner-launch-a-new-community-breakfast-joint https://www.facebook.com/uglymugsalem

http://lobstershantysalem.com/

Even though I tend to prefer a classic factory-built diner, that does not stop me from patronizing on-site/storefront diners. I am looking forward to checking this place out when they open! Diane informs me that it might happen next month and we’ll be there!

Posted by: dinerhotline | February 15, 2014

Suffolk Diner in Revere, Mass. reopens!

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Frank’s Suffolk Diner, February 9, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

The diner last operated as Jonquille’s Diner in Revere, Mass. has reopened in the last 3 weeks under a variation of its original name. The diner operated under the Jonquille’s name since 2002 by John Ribeird Jr. closed circa 2010. Even though it has stayed closed for almost 4 years, the current owner to his credit did clean the place up as the previous management had let it go slightly down hill.

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Frank’s Suffolk Diner, February 9, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

The diners original name was the Suffolk Diner and was built on-site in the style of a barrel roof Worcester Lunch Car from the 1930’s. Originally operated by Frank V. Scigliano, his son Fran was the last family member to operate it until sometime in the 1990s. I believe it changed hands once before coming under the management of Ribeird.

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Frank’s Suffolk Diner, February 9, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

It has finally been reborn as Frank’s Suffolk Diner by Carolina and Frank Guerrero who had previously operated the Broadway Diner in Arlington, Mass. That diner was housed in a former Dairy Queen building. The landlord of that property boosted the monthly rent to an unreasonable amount and the Guerrero’s decided it was time to close that establishment. In searching for another place they inquired about the closed Suffolk Diner and Carolina said that they were in the running to take it over along with one other interested party. The Guerrero’s got the OK to operate it because of their vast experience and after some updating of equipment, etc., reopened the diner within the last month.

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Suffolk Diner, 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

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Suffolk Diner, 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

Denise and I went for breakfast last Sunday and met Carolina and Frank. They seem to be doing well with the place and has a decent menu. You can get details here at… http://www.arlingtonbroadwaydiner.com/ordereze/default.aspx. Their operating hours are 5:30 am to 3:00 pm, 7 days a week. They are located at 275 Lee Burbank Highway (Rte. 1A) in Revere, just outside the Suffolk Downs Racetrack. You can also find them on Facebook… https://www.facebook.com/pages/Franks-Suffolk-Diner/369414043201996?ref=br_tf

Posted by: dinerhotline | February 15, 2014

Central Diner closes, future in doubt

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Central Diner, Millbury, Mass. Photo by Larry Cultrera

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Line-art I created for the Central Diner coffee mug for Richard & Brigid Gore back in the 1990s based on the above photo.

The Central Diner of Millbury, Mass. closed at the end of December, leaving the future of this 1930 vintage Worcester Lunch Car in doubt. 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 an Brigid Gore who were very friendly and personable. The diner itself is sitting on land leased from the Millbury National Bank. I recently saw an ad on Craigslist for the diner offering it for sale.

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Central Diner, Millbury, Mass. Photo by Larry Cultrera

Denise and I drove out for one last breakfast on Saturday, December 28th where we met up with Bob Higgins. There were only 4 customers that early in the morning besides Chris and Amanda. Most of the conversation was between Bob and myself. Very somber mood, in fact the place looked almost closed from the outside. Certainly the future does not look too bright at the moment for this diner. I hope things will turn out good and the diner can survive, even if it has to move.

Posted by: dinerhotline | February 15, 2014

University reopens the Salem Diner

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The Salem Diner, July 29, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Salem State University reopened the Salem Diner in mid-January. It is being operated by the schools food service provider, Chartwells. The management of Chartwells stated that this is the first “Diner” they have attempted to run. I had gotten a heads-up from my friend Kristen Nyberg (North Shore Dish blog) who visited the diner on opening day with Diane Wolf who is the co-owner with her husband Lee of The Lobster Shanty in downtown Salem.

Kristen told me things were kind of rough that first day, service was friendly but over-all very slow. The food was unremarkable as well which sounded like a let-down from the quality of food and service under the previous owners, George & Zoe Elefteriadis. The Elefteriadis’ sold the diner to the University back at the beginning of July and the diner has been closed until now.  Kristen basically said that people may want to give the place a month or so to get into the rhythm of serving people in a diner-like environment.

We stopped by on January 18th to check it out ourselves and knew what to expect from Kristen’s info. I was happy to see that the school spent some money to replace exterior and interior lighting. The interior was freshened up with a thorough cleaning and the woodwork was re-stained as well. We met with our old friend Saadia Zraizaa who is a veteran of the local diner scene. She was hired as one of the waitresses by Chartwells and certainly a plus for the diner. She introduced us to Jim, one of the managers who was very cordial to us as well.

The service was a little rocky as we observed that the cooks, who may have been experienced, were not up to the level of short-order service that a good diner should have, in my opinion. They might have been better off having Saadia doing the cooking as she knows what the rhythm should be having actually operated her own place, the Medford Square Diner for a short period a couple of years ago.

We will get back to the diner soon and hope that things have smoothed out with the new management and crew as I really want to see this diner survive and thrive!

Posted by: dinerhotline | January 3, 2014

Diner Hotline – 2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 72,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: dinerhotline | December 4, 2013

Roger’s Redliner Diner initiates a Kickstarter Campaign

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Original Placemat for the Monarch Diner of Dover, NH
Roger Elkus and Daryl McGann will be reopening the diner soon as
Roger’s Redliner Diner in Portsmouth, NH possibly in January

Ironically after writing about the former Englewood Diner being resurrected and renamed the Red Line Diner, I get to write about the former Monarch Diner being renamed Roger’s Redliner Diner. Roger Elkus and his General Manager Daryl McGann operate a chain of bakery/cafes called Me & Ollie’s in the seacoast area of the Granite state. As written here previously, they purchased the former Monarch Diner from Dave Pritchard of Salisbury, Mass. a little over a year ago and are presently working feverishly to set the diner up on a pad site in the Southgate Shopping Center on U.S. Rte. 1, next door to Water Country water park in Portsmouth, NH. The irony is that both of these diners have
Red Line” in their name and both were bought from Mr. Pritchard. Roger and Daryl are shooting for a January, 2014 opening. In the meantime, they have initiated a Kickstarter campaign for some additional funding. The Kickstarter gives people a chance to pledge money toward the restoration in exchange for meal vouchers….. I.E.: Breakfast Delight, Burger Delight, Blue Plate Diner Delight, etc as well as Roger Redliner Diner  T-Shirts and more! The Kickstarter Program runs until December 22nd, with a goal of $50,000. Here is a link to the website…….  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1385095784/vintage-1950s-diner-restoration-rogers-redliner-di

Posted by: dinerhotline | December 3, 2013

Englewood Diner becomes Red Line Diner

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Red Line Diner, now located in Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera
Formerly the Englewood Diner of Dorchester, Mass.

I have been a little remiss in posting anything throughout November as I was scanning a bunch of slides, 180 or so (to be sort of exact). They were all of the photos/slides I had ever shot of Rosie’s Diner when it was in Little Ferry, NJ. The bulk of the slides came from the last weekend of operation in January of 1990 and the preparation for moving the structure on the next weekend. I had promised my friend Arnie Corrado (son of former owner Ralph Corrado, Jr.) back then that I would give him copies of all the photos I had shot. This plan sort of became cost restrictive when I realized how many images there were. Well, with all the new digital technology at my disposal nowadays, I could finally keep my promise. So for almost 3 weeks, I spent the extra time I had scanning all the images. Better late than never! I actually turned it into a slide show movie which can be found on Youtube……… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XlDiGzRM3I. I will eventually do a post about it here in the near future. Now on to the subject of this post……

A year ago Denise and I had made a trip (along with Beth Lennon and Cliff Hillis) up to Salisbury, Massachusetts to meet with Roger Elkus and Daryl McGann who had purchased the former Monarch Diner, originally of Dover, NH. The diner had not been in service since the early 1970s when it last operated in South Berwick, Maine. Dave Pritchard of Salisbury had started buying old diners a number of years ago and storing them at his truck/trailer company yard in Salisbury. The diners included the Miss Newport Diner of Newport, VT (now the Miss Mendon of Mendon, Mass.) the Englewood Diner last operated in Dorchester, Mass., and the Olympian Diner formerly of Braintree, Mass. as well as the Monarch. When we got into the yard I noticed the only diners left were the Monarch and the Olympian. I asked Roger and Daryl what happened to the Englewood and they told me that the owner of New Balance Footwear had purchased it and moved it to an undisclosed location.

Fast forward to October 25, 2013, when I received an email from Randy Garbin that had some attached photos from someone named Todd Purple. The message that accompanied the photos was short and sweet….. “Did you know about this”? I checked out the photos and low and behold, there was the former Englewood Diner looking to be completely restored on the exterior, sporting a new name….. Red Line! According to the email, it was located down behind 38 Everett Street in the Brighton section of Boston. Everett St. runs between Western Ave. in Allston and North Beacon St. in Brighton. The area was once primarily a mix of houses and somewhat run-down industrial buildings that has had a rebirth with parts of it being resurrected as an upscale office park. In fact a huge part of this rebirth can be directly attributed to New Balance Footwear as their Headquarters is located within a block of this property.

So, the 25th being a Friday, I decided to take a ride over to Brighton to check out this new location the very next day, where I managed to shoot some nice photos of it.

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

In looking closely at the exterior, the new steel panels seem to be painted instead of the porcelain enameled panels it originally had. Certainly a reasonable facsimile of the originals… and let me be clear, this was professionally done. Even the roof shingles look similar though not identical to what had previously been there, giving it a period look in keeping with the original style of the diner. The interior did not need much as the following photos show….

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Early on the next week I did some digging and was able to leave a message to a department in the corporate offices at New Balance Footwear. Within a couple of hours my wife Denise called to let me know there was a message from someone named Laurie at New Balance. When I returned her call, Laurie informed me that the restored diner is being used for corporate functions only and not open to the public (as I suspected).

As I mentioned above, the Englewood Diner operated for years in the Peabody Square neighborhood of Dorchester. It closed in 1979 when the land it was on was slated to be redeveloped, replaced by a high-rise building for senior housing. This was almost a year before I started photographing diners so I never was able to document it in that location. But luckily it was documented by others like David Hebb and Dick Gutman. Dick was kind enough to lend me this image (below) of the Englewood Diner when it was located across from Ashmont Station in Peabody Square, Dorchester…..

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Englewood Diner, 1970s vintage photo by Richard J.S. Gutman

So after it closed in 1979, the diner was moved to Pat’s Towing Company yard in the Cambridgeport neighborhood, just outside of Central Square in Cambridge. It stayed at that storage location through 1981.

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My first shot of the Englewood Diner taken from the roof of my 1979 Chevy van looking over the fence of Pat’s Towing Company in Cambridge.
1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

In fact, Dick and Kelly Gutman were the ones who showed me where it was being stored on one of our first “Diner Excursions” in 1981 where I obtained the photo above. It was relocated to the Cambridge/Somerville town line in a yard maintained by Wayside Leasing on Park Street just off Somerville Avenue, where it stayed until 1984.

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Englewood Diner at Wayside Leasing storage yard in Somerville
1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at Wayside Leasing storage yard in Somerville
1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at Wayside Leasing storage yard in Somerville
1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

In 1984, the diner was bought by Brian Burke, a general contractor from Dorchester. His plan was to repatriate the diner back to its longtime hometown. He had some property adjacent to the Bradlees department store that was on Morrissey Boulevard at the corner of Victory Road. Burke took his time in setting up the diner and finally opened it in 1986. It was operated by at least two if not three operators prior to closing in the early 1990s.

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Englewood Diner temporarily parked at Kendall Square in Cambridge
on the way back to Dorchester. 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner temporarily parked at Kendall Square in Cambridge
on the way back to Dorchester. 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

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The Englewood Diner newly arrived at Victory Road in Dorchester.
1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

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The Englewood Diner at its last operating location. It operated here from 1986 to 1992.
1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

In 1992, the Englewood was closed and sold at auction to Dennis “Skip” Scipione, owner of the Blue Moon Diner in Gardner. Skip had plans to reopen the diner and kept it in storage in neighboring Ashburnham, Mass. until the right time and place came about.  It looked like it would happen in 1997 when the diner moved to the northern part of Fitchburg. The next 3 photos show the diner at that proposed location….

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Englewood Diner at proposed location in Fitchburg.1997 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at proposed location in Fitchburg.
1997 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at proposed location in Fitchburg.
1997 photo by Larry Cultrera

This location in Fitchburg never actually came to fruition and the diner embarked on a series of moves to at least two if not three different storage locations over the next few years. In fact Skip finally sold the diner to Dan Johnston in the year 2000. Johnston purchased it for $20,000, moved the diner to the town of Holden.  Johnston’s plans for the diner were somewhat vague. In one instance he talked about reopening it and another was possibly attaching it to his house for private use. None of that ever happened and in fact, according to Randy Garbin of Roadside Online, Johnston even had the diner listed on Ebay for a short time.

While in Johnston’s possession, the diner ended up taking its longest round trip to be in a big budget Hollywood movie! Johnston was approached by Dreamworks Production Company in 2001. Dreamworks wanted to use the diner in a scene of the movie “Road to Perdition” starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. According to Garbin as quoted from his book Diners of New England, Dreamworks reportedly paid Johnston nearly $40,000 giving Johnston the first option to purchase it back after the scenes in the movie were completed.

The diner was transported to the Chicago area for the film and Johnston bought it back for less than half his original sale price. As Garbin noted the time-frame of the film was set in 1931 while purists would note that the diner is from 1941…… details, details!!!

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Publicity still showing the Englewood Diner during its star turn
from the Hollywood production of Road to Perdition.
photo courtesy of http://film-grab.com/tag/daniel-craig/

A few months after Johnston got the diner back he flipped it yet again to Matt Letellier of Eliot, Maine whose plan was to attach the diner to his on-site built Downeast Diner. The next 3 photos show the Englewood in Eliot, ME….

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Englewood Diner in Eliot, Maine. 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner in Eliot, Maine. 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner in Eliot, Maine. 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

Unfortunately, Letellier’s plans never came to be and he turned around and sold the diner to Dave Pritchard in 2003. That is when the Englewood came to Salisbury where it stayed until 2012 and ultimately purchased by New Balance Footwear.

I will say that although this diner has had an interesting life in the last 35 years, it can also be said that it probably has the most mileage, being one of the most traveled diners in history! Now that it has found more than likely a permanent home in Brighton, as well as a new lease on life…. it is almost like an old racehorse being put out to pasture in its golden years!

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