After 13 years of limbo (and being closed for over a year), the former Edgemere Diner of Shrewsbury, Mass. has finally gotten a new lease on life, so to speak. This 1940′s vintage Fodero diner with “art deco” broadway style lettering baked into the porcelain panels is now simply called “The Edge” and serves up mainly hot dogs. The diner, taken by the Town of Shrewsbury for taxes back in 1995 has had a series of operators who due to the short one year leases offered by the town have not been able to develop any sort of viable business over the intervening years.
The Edgemere has been at this location since the 1960′s I believe when it replaced the former Glenwood Diner, a reconditioned 1930′s vintage Worcester diner with monitor roof that had previously operated on the site. It was originally one of two Englewood Diners in the Boston area before moving to Shrewsbury.
Shrewsbury finally decided that they had to revisit their plan for the vacant diner and property and revised it so that a new operator could purchase the building and rent the property for 20 years. Last fall David Kupstas bought the diner, cleaned it up and re-equipped it in preparation for a reopening. After consulting with family members it was decided to not open it as a traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner type diner.
As he put it “I want to make this the best hot dog place around”.
Serving homemade condiments along with Hot dogs, regular or extra-long, jumbo all-beef hot dog, Italian sausages smothered with peppers and onions, maple chicken sausage, smoked kielbasa with grilled onions, pale ale bratwurst with sauerkraut, a side of baked beans, as well as dessert featuring Gifford’s Ice Cream, made in Maine.
Here is a review by Barabara M. Houle, Food Editor for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette that appeared yesterday in the newspaper…..
Hot Dogs from The Edge
I first heard about The Edge at a Cinco de Mayo party hosted by friends in Shrewsbury. One of the guests asked if I had eaten there yet, and if I hadn’t, why not. The place has great hot dogs, he said. Later, I received an e-mail from a retired PR guy from Westboro who said he had a hot dog at The Edge and it was fabulous. “If you’re interested in doing a story, I don’t think they have a phone yet,” he added.
He was right.The Edge has no phone, and it’s going to stay that way, according to owner David Kupstas of Worcester, who said he doesn’t want to have to answer calls while he’s waiting on customers. Last fall, Kupstas bought the Edgemere Diner, 51 Hartford Turnpike, Shrewsbury, for $5,000 and agreed to rent the Route 20 property on which it is located for 20 years. He opened The Edge in March after spending months sprucing up the place. All the kitchen equipment was gone, Kupstas said, but the counter, stools and booths were kept intact. Everything has been repainted and refinished, he said.
Kupstas, who grew up in Auburn, previously worked as a financial adviser, and before that he was general manager for Panera Bread in Arlington and assistant manager for Host Marriott. He and his wife, Paula, have two children, Kayla, 9, and Nicholas, 5. When Kupstas solicited a bid to purchase the diner, he said he didn’t know exactly what he would do with the place. He tossed around ideas, he said, and with the help of his family came up with a business plan for The Edge.
“I want to make this the best hot dog place around,” Kupstas said. The diner is fun to be in, and you get a nostalgic trip into the past with a quick, reasonably priced lunch or dinner, he said. “I’m not planning on changing a thing. It’s hot dogs for the next 20 years.”
Kupstas’ brother, Christopher, and his father, Robert Kupstas, both of Auburn, help out in the business. His cousin Ryan Kupstas will work during summer break from college. “Everyone in the family likes to cook,” said David Kupstas. Robert (Bob) Kupstas makes the relishes, sweet cucumber, pineapple and jalapeno, which are rated “awesome” by customers. Cucumber relish is sold in half pints as a result of consumer demand. The business also makes its own barbecue and chili sauces. Homemade condiments are key to the success of the business, Kupstas said.
So what constitutes a great hot dog?
Kupstas said a natural casing gives the best hot dogs their snap and bite. He prefers and serves only Kayem hot dogs. The name is recognized by anyone who has lived in Central Massachusetts, he said. “We all grew up on Kayem.”
Kayem, a New England food company, is headquartered in Chelsea.
On the menu: Hot dogs, regular or extra-long, $1.75; jumbo all-beef hot dog, $4. Italian sausages smothered with peppers and onions, $5; maple chicken sausage, $4.75; smoked kielbasa with grilled onions, $3.75; pale ale bratwurst with sauerkraut, $5.50; a side of baked beans, $1.25. June is salsa dog month at the diner.
Gifford’s ice cream, made in Maine, is available in assorted flavors. A strawberry, chocolate or vanilla frappe is $4.
The Edge is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. There are picnic tables for outside seating.
You can people watch at noon Sunday when a local car club meets in the diner’s parking lot. Kupstas said owners want to take photos of their ’50s and ’60s classic cars in front of the diner.
The Edge also will offer free ice cream from 3 to 5 p.m. June 15, Father’s Day.
We say, drop on by.
Summer is known for its dog days, after all.