Salem Diner reopens under new ownership


A couple of weeks ago I contacted Joe Cultrera, the independent film producer (an acquaintance, no relation), as I saw he had relocated from NYC back to his hometown of Salem, Mass. Joe has produced films such as Witch City and more recently Hand of God, a film that appeared on PBS’s Frontline about his older brother Paul who was a victim of the 1960’s Catholic priest abuse scandal and how Paul and the rest of the family later dealt with this knowledge.

Anyway in the brief email exchange Joe inquired about the “closed” Salem Diner (a 1941 vintage Sterling Streamliner). I told him I wasn’t aware that it had closed. He mentioned it had a sign saying it would be reopening under new owners. From what I understand it was not closed too long and an article from todays Salem News confirmed that it has reopened as of yesterday. The new owners had longtime regular customer Johnny Pesky (of Boston Red Sox fame) cut the ribbon at the Grand Reopening.

Here is the text from the article…

Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky steps up to plate for Salem Diner

Tom Dalton

SALEM | Johnny Pesky looks as comfortable in the corner booth at the Salem Diner as he did sitting in the dugout at Fenway Park. It’s a home away from home.The 88-year-old Red Sox icon, who was a teammate of Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio, now sits at the Loring Avenue eatery between Bob Grant, 82, a retired first assistant clerk magistrate at Salem District Court, and Joe Moran, 82, the former director of guidance for the Chelsea public schools.Yesterday, while waiting for their food to arrive, the boothmates tossed a few fastballs at Pesky, a former Red Sox player, coach and manager who has been immortalized by “The Pesky Pole,” the right-field foul pole at Fenway Park.“It’s not easy being associated with Johnny Pesky,” said a grinning Moran, loud enough for Pesky to hear. “I get people calling me from Hong Kong wanting his autograph.”

“I don’t mind,” Pesky said.

“Yeah, but it’s ruining me,” Moran said.

Team Pesky made a special trip to the Salem Diner yesterday for its grand reopening. Built in 1941 — the year before Pesky made his major league debut — it was recently bought by George and Zoe Elefteriadis of Belmont, former owners of the Sports Haven in Salem and the A Street Deli in South Boston.

When they bought the diner, they had no idea they were acquiring the rights to a baseball legend and his boothmates, who have been eating breakfast there for the past decade. In fact, Zoe Elefteriadis had no idea about the identity of the white-haired guys in the corner booth.

“I said, ‘Who’s Johnny Pesky?'” she said with an embarrassed laugh.

Fast learners, the couple invited Pesky to cut the ribbon at yesterday’s ceremony. He arrived in his blue Red Sox jacket and gladly did the honors inside the tiny diner decorated with pink, green and blue balloons.

“That’s the first one I’ve ever done,” he said. “I’ve been in parades, but I never cut a ribbon before.”

The Breakfast Boys began meeting more than 30 years ago at Rolly’s restaurant in Lynn, which is now gone. They moved to Bickford’s in Swampscott, Pesky’s hometown. “They sold the place,” he said, “so we had to move.” They made a brief appearance at Maria’s Place in Salem but have spent most of the past decade at the Salem Diner.

The morning lineup has changed over the years, as members have died, moved away or gone into nursing homes.

“We lost some wonderful people,” Pesky said.

The one constant has been Mr. Red Sox, who comes almost every day for eggs and sausage. And, being a superstitious ballplayer, he adds a little something of his own.

“I bring my own toast,” he said. “I’m one of those guys who’s allergic to flour.”

here is the link that has some photos…


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