Still another diner involved in car accident, this one in Milford, PA

Village Diner, Milford, PA
Photo by Larry Cultrera, copyright Nov. 1981

Right after I posted the piece about Cassidies Diner in Meriden, Conn. being damaged in a car accident, I found out that another diner also suffered a similar incident. The Village Diner, a 1950’s Mountain View diner was struck by a local Police cruiser that was responding to a possible burglery call when it veered across Route 209 and hit the nearest (left-front) corner of the diner.

Being that the diner sits up on a brick foundation (about 2 to 2 and a half feet above the parking lot), it looked to do the most damage there. The report says the cruiser proceeded to then travel 20 feet further on and start to go up the steps to the entryway when at this point it flipped over and landed on the large planter  at the base of the diner’s roadside sign.

According to the report the police officer was hurt and the diner suffered around $30,000.00 worth of damage. Here is the text of the Pike County Courier news report….

Owner, Dimitrios Pagelos surveys damages caused
when a police car crashed into the Village Diner
early Tuesday morning. (Photo by Nick Troiano)

Milford officer injured in crash

Westfall — A report of a pick-up truck running over garbage cans in Milford led to an accident involving a Milford Borough police vehicle and the Village Diner in Westfall, early Tuesday morning.

Milford Officer Harold Hosking was responding to the call, returning from Westfall Township at around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, when the accident occurred, according to Milford Police Chief Gary Williams. Williams said he did not know the exact cause of the accident, which is being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police. The investigating trooper was not available for comment Wednesday.

Damage at the scene suggests that the vehicle crossed the oncoming lane of traffic and entered the diner’s parking lot, striking a vehicle in the lot before colliding with the building, continuing up the front steps, and finally flipping over onto the diner’s cement flower pot. No other vehicles were involved in the accident, and the diner was closed at the time.

Hosking suffered a broken femur among other injuries and was medivaced to an unnamed hospital from Wal-Mart’s parking lot.

According to police records, Hosking had been on duty for fourteen hours at the time of the accident.

Eastern Pike Police Chief Chad Stewart confirmed the officer’s being in Westfall Township prior to the accident and said that Hosking had responded to a report of a burglary at a local business. Stewart said the officer’s presence was not requested, but it was not out of the ordinary for the police departments “to back each other up.” Eastern Pike Police received the call of the accident at 1:04 a.m.

Dimitrios Pagelos, nine-year owner of the Village Diner, said he received a call from the police at 3 a.m., alerting him to the accident and was shocked at the news. Arriving on the scene, he was told by emergency personnel that the officer was cut off while driving and lost control of his vehicle, a report that could not be confirmed by any responding department.

Pagelos said his son called the police department on the following day to secure insurance information and check on the officer’s condition. He said the officer on the phone would not comment about the injured officer and no apology was offered for the damages. “If you make a mistake, you make a mistake. You have to pick yourself up afterwards. I’m waiting for an apology, but I am not going to ask for one,” he said.

Williams commented that the department tried unsuccessfully to contact Pagelos on Wednesday afternoon to do so.

Pagelos said he estimated the damage at around $30,000. He added that the Westfall building inspector permitted the Diner to reopen on Thursday. No details were available as to the officer’s condition, which Chief Williams described as “good” on Wednesday.

Diner in downtown Meriden, Conn. badly damaged in car accident

Oil Painting by John Baeder, copyright 1988

Cassadies Diner in downtown Meriden, Conn. was badly damaged in an accident yesterday afternoon (5-29-08). The diner is an early 50’s vintage Silk City diner with an unusual feature, the back wall of the diner is completely finished in sunburst-style stainless steel panels. More than likely because it sits end-wise from the street. It was the subject of a 1988 oil painting by John Baeder (see above), when it was known as the Palace Diner. Here is the text from a article from this morning by staff writer Jason R. Vallee…..

Photo by Eric Cotton, Record Journal

Car hits downtown diner

MERIDEN – A woman and two children were taken to Hartford Hospital after the woman’s Chevy Impala hit an SUV before driving head-on into Cassidies Diner, causing the front entrance to collapse. Meriden Assistant Fire Chief Robert Burdick said the driver who hit the 82 W. Main St. diner was transported to Hartford on an Advanced Life Support system. He said injuries to the passengers, a 12-year-old girl and an infant, were non-life-threatening.

“The damage was primarily to the front corner of the diner and we were able to shut down electricity and gas so there was no fire hazard,” Burdick said. The victims’ names were not immediately available. Westbound lanes of West Main Street were closed for nearly two hours while emergency crews cleared the scene.

New Britain resident Luz Torres, the driver of the SUV, was uninjured in the accident and said she didn’t see the other vehicle until after it had hit her and crashed into the diner. She said she had a green light and was turning left from South Grove Street when she was struck. Torres and several other witnesses said they turned immediately following the crash and saw the woman exit the vehicle with her breast exposed and the infant in her arms.

Police on the scene said both women claimed to have a green light and were unable to say who was at fault. No charges were filed in the incident as of 9 p.m. police said. They did not comment on the reports provided by other witnesses. The diner suffered serious damage to the entrance, but Burdick said it had a stable frame and did not appear at risk of collapsing.

The restaurant’s former operator, Meriden resident Steve Prescott, was at the scene and said the damage was beyond repair. “It’s a diner car that was built in 1946,” said Prescott, who operated the restaurant under the name ‘Just in Time Diner’ from 1990-2003. “It’s very rare. That place can’t be fixed, you can’t even get the materials it would take to fix it up like it was before.”

Police did not immediately release the name of the woman transported Thursday evening. Officers at the scene were attempting to locate witnesses that could provide more details about the accident.

Also here is a link to Connecticut’s NBC-30 with some footage of the accident’s aftermath…

I don’t agree with Steve Prescott, the former owner who said it can’t be fixed. If I were owner Jay Delaney, I would try to contact Steve Harwin at Diversified Diners of Cleveland, Ohio. In my opinion, Steve is the person who could rebuild that diner, basically reverse the damage caused by the automobile. Steve has rebuilt or restored 3 or 4 (or maybe more) Silk City diners over the years.
Here is a link to his website

Preservation Effort underway for New Jersey’s Forum Diner

Photo by Michael Perlman

Michael Perlman sent along a press release regarding his new battle to save the Forum Diner of Paramus, NJ.
After his successful attempts of helping to save both the Cheyenne Diner and Moodance Diner (both formerly of NYC), Mike has set his sites on saving a much newer diner (and larger too).


Committee To Save The Forum Diner

For Immediate Release


Michael Perlman, Founder & Chair 

(917) 446-7775



Effort to Spare “Endangered Species” from Oblivion!


     PARAMUS, NJ, May 28, 2008 – Tri-state area patrons, preservationists, & community groups are disheartened that the classic Forum Diner (211 East State Route 4, Paramus, NJ) shuttered in 2007, and is now for sale via transport. A Jeep 17 car dealership is slated to rise on premise, marking the end of the diner’s 40-year run, but a movement is underway which may grant the Forum Diner a new lease on life.

The Forum Diner has been a landmark in Paramus, NJ since its opening in the 1960’s. It was prefabricated by the Yannitsadis Brothers, and transported on site. The exterior is Mediterranean style with chrome, stone, & decorative ornament. The interior is elegant featuring fine Greek wooden columns & moldings, coffered wooden-paneled walls, ornamentation, recessed areas for chandeliers, etched mirrors with regal logos, wave-patterned terrazzo, stone, original fine wood booths. It closed in spring 2007, marking the end of an era. Unfortunately, it was recently vandalized, but most architectural elements are intact, and the damage is reversible.

Preservationist Michael Perlman of Forest Hills, NY, spared NYC’s historic Moondance & Cheyenne Diners via transport, and now the Forum Diner can be yours at a nominal price, thanks to an agreement with property owner Kevin Ormes, Pres. Of Jeep 17. The diner must be transported from the property ASAP, to spare it from demolition. Buyers are responsible for all rigging costs.

Please contact Michael Perlman at for specifics. Perlman explains: “Diners are amongst the ‘ultimate public institutions’ which harbor countless memories and bridge the generations. During the 30’s – 60’s eras, freestanding diners numerously dotted the tri-state area, and brought together individuals of various occupations in a cozy & striking ambiance.

Today, they are becoming an endangered species at an alarming rate, and their loss is often most heartfelt. It is essential to preserve & reuse all remaining classic freestanding diners. Despite time constraints, we are committed to doing all we can for a noble cause.” The Committee’s consensus is that “A steady market for such nostalgic gems, coupled by the fact that they were manufactured to move; can ensure a victory for the Forum Diner.”

Forum Diner Aug 2007 & May 2008 photos, Courtesy of Preservationist Michael Perlman: (Please click & enlarge each photo for description).


Drive-In Restaurants from years past

this image was scanned from a copy of North Shore Magazine

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, there were quite a few Drive-in restaurants featuring car hop / curb service in the Greater Boston area, but these were short lived due to the short season of warm weather. One of the most famous was Adventure Car Hop on U.S. Route 1 in Saugus, Mass. It became famous due to the fact that they advertised on one of the most popular AM radio shows in the Boston market. The show was hosted by legendary DJ Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg on WMEX, 1510 on the AM dial. These ad spots were immortalized on one of a series of oldies record albums that were put out in the 1970’s. The audio clips from Woo Woo’s shows with the Adventure Car Hop commercial was included on the Cruisin 1961 album.

I have more recently found out that there was more than one Adventure Car Hop and I am not sure if it was a chain or franchise concept. Another opened in Natick, Mass. on State Route 9 near the old Sherwood Plaza Shopping Center. This one operated for a few years before being renamed Galaxy Car Hop. Here is a newspaper ad anouncing the opening of this location (from

Here is a so-so image from showing it as the Galaxy Car Hop a few years later

I also found a reference to one on U.S. Route 22 in Union, NJ (from

This image may have ultimately come from a source that had something to do with the design firm that designed these Car Hops because there was another one in Everett, Mass. called the Lasso Car Hop, and as you can see, this image is similar to the above one

I wish I knew more about these places and their connection to each other, but they are long gone except for the memories people have of them.

As the 1960’s progressed, fast food places that started to usurp the clientele that these Car Hops depended on such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Burger Chef and Carrol’s Hamburgers came more into vogue. Here is a photo from 1967 showing the Stoneham, Mass. location of Carrol’s Hamburgers.

I got this photo thru the Stoneham Historical Society. I photoshopped a telephone
pole out of the shot.

The Carrol’s chain was started by Leo Moranz of Tastee-Freez out of the mid-west (his daughter’s name was Carrol) but really took off under the stewardship of Herb Slotnick from upstate New York who’s family had a chain of movie theaters. Slotnick became the largest francise owner of Carrol’s encompassing New York state and New England. He eventually bought out the chain from Tastee-Freez and was doing a decent job competing with McDonald’s and Burger King for a small chain. In the mid-70’s the Carrol’s Corp. made a major decision, basically they decided that they had brought the concept as far as it would go and instead switched teams to become the largest Burger King franchiser in the country. They converted some of the Carrol’s locations to Burger King and phased out the other locations.

Other drive-ins I remember were the chain of Richard’s Drive-Ins. This was the first foray into food service by General Cinema Corporation. The company famous for their Drive-In theaters as well as “hardtop” theaters eventually ran a chain of 10-pin Bowling alleys called Holiday Lanes which also featured Amy Joy Pancake Houses (as the food concession). Here is a color photo from my collection of the Wellington Circle location (Medford, Mass.) of Richard’s, shot circa 1964 by the late Medford photographer, Charlie Phillips.

and another shot b&w (annonymous) from my collection of the same place that
I had in the collection…….

Here are some bonus images, cleaned up versions of both (inside and outside views) of an Adventure Car Hop menu as well as a Richard’s Drive-In menu…

Views of Tex Barry’s Coney Island’s old location, circa 1981

I scanned a couple of 1981 vintage photos I shot of the original location for Tex Barry’s Coney Island Hot Dogs in Attleboro for owner Arthur Bombadier’s collection of photos. This diner was a late 1920’s vintage Worcester Lunch Car in very worn condition as I recall. It was torn down within 2 years of when I took the photos.

Also, here is a photo Arthur shot of me in action eating at Tex Barry’s last week.
Great Dogs!!!

Check out Arthur’s photostream at flickr, it has a lot of great images of customers at the diner!

The former Tommy’s Deluxe Diner soon to be reborn as the Road Island Diner in Utah

I have been in contact with Keith Walker recently, (apparently he’s been checking out my blog). Keith is the guy who purchased the former Tommy’s Deluxe Diner and moved it from Rhode Island to Oakley, Utah in 2007. Tommy’s, a prewar (1939)  Jerry O’Mahony built diner was originally one of Al Mac’s Diners and located in Fall River, Mass. for the first years of it’s life before being replaced in there by a newer De Raffele diner in 1953. It was then sold to Tommy Borodemos who had it moved to Middletown, RI where it operated up until 2006 when the Borodemos family decided to close the diner and sell the property to Tim Horton’s Donut chain. The diner was placed into storage and put up for sale. Although other people were attempting to purchase the old diner, Keith Walker came up with the money and was able to arrange the purchase and transportation fees.

By this time the diner, mostly intact was showing it’s age from the wear and tear of operating constantly for over 60 years. To Keith’s credit he and his crew have managed to perform a complete restoration by tearing it down to it’s steel frame and completely rebuilding it. It now basically looks the way it did when it came out of the Jerry O’Mahony factory! Because it spent most of it’s life in the State of Rhode Island, Walker says in honor of this icon’s legacy we have named it the “Road Island Diner” because of its origin and the fact that it was placed on the island in the road. In one of Keith’s emails to me he says….

Larry, We are a few months from opening. We are still finishing the rear kitchen and are installing the new (Italian made) Formica on the ceiling. Formica USA did not produce anything like the original so we went overseas. The fire suppression system held us up till now. Replicating some of the discarded items has taken more time than expected. I visited this diners little sister (serial #1104) Collins Diner in Canaan, CT, (not New Canaan). This diner’s interior is almost identical but much smaller. I know of no other pre-war streamline O’Mahony still in existence which is strange as this manufacturer was so prolific. The O’Mahony’s designs changed dramatically after the war as they moved away from the “Rail Car” look and use of porcelain. What a shame!  We are into this project at about 1 million so I know there isn’t anything left like it in the U.S. I doubt we will ever see a return on the investment but it has been a fun project. We would love you to visit if you’re ever in this state, Keith Walker

As he mentioned above, he knew of no other pre-war streamlined O’Mahony other than Collins’, I told Keith about the Route 209 Diner in Marshall’s Creek, PA. Although the exterior is somewhat disguised by a roof that ties it to the kitchen building, the interior as I recall was fairly original. I also mentioned the former Lemoyne Diner now sitting partially restored in Providence and he said that he was aware of that one and even been in touch with those people as well. I know there are other examples in New York state and elsewhere, so his is not unique but is certainly going to be the most restored of any in existence today.

If anyone wants to see a great slide show on this diner’s restoration, go to Keith’s website and check it out…

Visit to Tex Barry’s Coney Island Hot Dogs

On the way down to Providence on Wednesday after work to attend the event at the Culinary Arts Museum, I planned on stopping at a diner I have only eaten at once or twice. It is called Tex Barry’s Coney Island Hot Dogs in Attleboro, Mass. It was once part of a chain of 14 outlets in the southeast part of the Bay State (and into Rhode Island, I believe) of which only 2 survive. The other one is in Taunton, Mass. The Attleboro location is housed in a late 1920’s vintage Worcester Lunch Car.

In my early days of documenting diners with my photographs, Tex Barry’s was at a different location in Attleboro. It was 1981 when I first checked out downtown Attleboro and at that time there were 4 old diners still there. Tex Barry’s was on Union Street behind the old Post Office in a Worcester diner of similar vintage. Around the corner was the old Franklin Diner which at that time was closed, (eventually to be torn down) another late 1920’s Worcester. Over on Bank Street (if I remember correctly) was the former Barney’s Diner operating as the Cable Car Diner, a 1940’s vintage Worcester, and over at Tex Barry’s current location on County Street there was Desi’s Diner. This diner has gone under many names over the years and Arthur Bombadier, the current owner has a list of almost a dozen names.

Within a year or two, Desi’s actually was operated under another name and then Tex Barry’s moved in when their old place was demolished. They serve mainly hot dogs and hamburgers as well as french fries. I had a couple of chili dogs and some fries (I should have had a third dog) with some spring water. In my opinion this place is always worth a stop when you are in the area and check out their old Hot Dog neon sign!

Reception and Premiere for New England Portrait was well attended

I was able to attend the reception and sneak preview of the season premiere for WSBE Rhode Island’s local program, New England Portrait held last night at The Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University’s Harborside Campus. There were a lot of people there to help celebrate the debut of this program and help support the Rhode Island PBS affiliate. This particular show was entitled “The History of New England Diners”.

Many people who were involved with the production were on hand including the Silva family, owners of the Hope Diner of  Bristol, RI, Phil & Celeste Paleologos of New Bedford’s Shawmut Diner, Roger Champagne formerly of Champ’s Diner of Woonsocket, RI as well as my friend, Richard Gutman, Director of the Culinary Arts Museum (and author of 3 books on the history of Diners).

This show was well produced, in fact of the many television shows done on the subject of diners I have seen or been involved with, this one in my opinion was one of the best put together and cohesive productions to date. The show interspersed Dick Gutman talking about the fine points of diner history with the diner owners talking about running the diners as well as the many regular customers of all the diners talking about the sense of camaraderie and community that diners foster. It was extremely entertaining.

I think kudos are in order for host Mary Lou Palumbo and all the people involved with the production. A job well done (and over easy). The program is scheduled to air on WSBE, Monday June 2nd at 7 PM and will repeat on Sunday, June 8th at 11:30 AM.

Below are 3 pictures taken at the reception prior to the screening.

Notes from the Hotline, 5-12-08

Visit to Skip’s Restaurant on Sunday morning

Denise and I took a short ride to Chelmsford, Mass. to have breakfast at Skip’s. After learning through a T.V. news report that the long-time owners were planning on closing the restaurant and selling to a local developer, I wanted to get some good photos into the archive. Sunday was a bright and sunny day and perfect for early morning light shining on the front of the building. We had a great breakfast, they bake their own muffins which is always a plus. I talked briefly with owner George Burliss and asked him to clarify some of the dates. The place started out in 1930 as Kidd’s Diner and around 1946-47 the Burliss and Gefteas families bought it and renamed it Skip’s Diner. He was pretty busy so that was all the info I could get before our breakfast arrived. So I am going to plan another trip in the near future to hopefully get the more complete history of this local landmark. If you plan on being in the northern suburbs of Boston in the next couple of months, I suggest a visit to Skip’s before it closes! This place is going to be missed!!!


Don’s Diner in Plainville, Mass. to have expanded hours!

I got an email from my friend Phyllis Perreault, owner of Don’s Diner in Plainville. She wanted to let me know that they sold their industrial catering business and that her son Perry is now concentrating his efforts on the diner. The diner had been only operating in recent times on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Well now it looks like the only day they won’t be open is Mondays. Here is the text of her email about the new hours…

Hi Larry,
I thought you’d like to know our new hours….our son Perry is opening the diner weekdays starting this Tuesday May 13th……….. I think I told you that we sold the industrial catering end of the diner…hopefully our 72 years reputation and the poor economy will bring people back to the diner atmosphere.

The new hours are:
Tuesday-Friday…………………………….6am to 2:30pm  breakfast and lunch
Saturday……………………………………..7am to 2:00pm             “  “
Sunday ………………………………………7am to 1:00pm   breakfast only

Just to let everyone know, Don’s Diner is located on Route 1A in Plainville, Mass. and it is a 1950’s vintage Mountain View Diner. The interior is fairly close to factory condition (with newer booths) but the exterior does not look like my photo from May, 1981 (above). The family updated the exterior with a mansard roof and vinyl siding within the last 20 years. This is the 3rd incarnation of Don’s Diner, the 1st was a small Worcester Lunch Car, the 2nd was a 1946 vintage Worcester (now in Bolton Landing, NY) and this one is the former Minuteman Diner originally in Attleboro on U.S. Route 1.

New Prospect Mt. Diner to open this week in Lake George, NY

Prospect MT. Diner, Oct. 1982

Prospect Mt. Diner, circa 1983, Larry Cultrera

 Back in November and December I had posted news on the Prospect Mt. Diner of Lake George, NY. This was a follow-up to my last Diner Hotline column for the Society for Commercial Archeology’s Journal Magazine. Almost a year ago (May 11, 2007) the Prospect Mt. Diner, an early 1950’s vintage double-wide Silk City diner in near original condition was destroyed in a devastating fire. Below is a photo from Mike Engle showing the remains of the diner just hours before it was demolished.

 I reported in the earlier blogs that owner Art Leonhard, who had owned the diner since the late 1960’s was in the process of buying a brand new Diner-Mite diner after deciding that trying to locate, move and setup an older vintage diner was too expensive. The new diner arrived on-site in December and it took all winter for Leonhard to get the diner setup to run.

Well, Glenn Wells (of Roadsidefans Yahoo Group & website) took a little trip north from the Albany area this past weekend and checked on the progress of the new Prospect Mt. Diner in Lake George. Glenn reports they are set to reopen this coming Friday (2 days short of the years anniversary of the fire). Here is one of Glenn’s shots of the new diner. He says it probably has less seats than the old diner and he, like a lot of us would have rather seen a vintage older diner than a Diner-Mite. But as I have said in the past, a new Diner-Mite is better than no diner.