Notes from the Hotline, 8-1-08

I have not been too active this week on the blog as I have been on Vacation from my job. Denise and I have been in and out all week doing different things but I have managed to get to a few places.

Breakfast at the Fish Tale Diner

Saturday we went up to Salisbury, Mass. and had a great breakfast at a diner with one of the most scenic locations anywhere, the Fish Tale Diner. This is the original Agawam Diner built in 1940 for the Galanis family (Worcester Lunch Car No. 762) and was originally operated in Ipswich, Mass. until they replaced it with a larger Worcester Lunch Car (No. 797) in 1947.

The first diner was then redone with new porcelain panels and placed at the intersection of U.S. Rte. 1 and Mass. Rte. 133 in Rowley, Mass. where it operated until 1970 when they moved the current diner (a Fodero diner) in to replace this one. The Galanis’ sold this diner and it was transported up to Brunswick, Maine but reportedly never was set up there when the new people defaulted on the sale and it reverted back to the Galanis’. It came back briefly to Rowley and was stored on an empty lot across Rte. 133 from the current diner until it was resold and placed in Salisbury.

The location in Salisbury is just off U. S. Rte. 1, directly on the banks of the Merrimack River adjacent to a marina/motel complex overlooking Newburyport. The current owners have added an outdoor deck for expanded seating with tables. They do a great business and it can be very relaxing eating inside or out. Certainly a good stop for breakfast or lunch  anytime of year but especially so in the summer.

We also got over to The Lunch Box Diner in Malden, Mass. on Sunday and I hope to have more news on this one shortly.

Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe photo circa 2006

Breakfast at Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe

Thursday morning I went to visit Royal Label Company in Dorchester (a section of Boston). I was employed there for over 8 years before I left for another position 2 and half years ago. I wanted to stop in and see what was going on, it seems like I get to do this once a year. On the way in I decided to stop for breakfast at Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe, a venerable neighborhood institution located on Columbus Avenue in the South End section of Boston for over 80 years. Whenever I go to Charlie’s I cannot resist their “Cape Cod French Toast”. This is regular French Toast with warm fresh cranberry compote drizzled on top. It is delicious!

Tolman Mfg. & Supply Company

On the way back from Royal Label I was bypassing expressway traffic and cutting through South Boston. I decided to finally investigate Tolman Mfg. & Supply Company located at 61 Dorchester Avenue across from the Gillette Company Headquarters. They sell and service Welding Equipment Supplies and Industrial Gases.

Part of the building Tolman is located in is the remains of an old Worcester Lunch Car. It is fairly covered up and almost unrecognizable. If you get up close to it you can see behind the sign that runs along the roof. The old barrel roof of the diner is discerned from this close up view. You can also see the front left corner of the diner (just a piece). The interior is completely gutted but the barrel ceiling is still visible. The end walls are gone as well as the extreme right section of back wall.

Original corner piece, left front elevation

I talked with Brad Bankman, the president of Tolman and he told me that they have been there since 1960. He also said that it had previously operated as the Donut Dugout prior to his company taking the building over. I do not know what the original name of the diner was. An interesting thing I discovered was that the diner had an addition on the right hand end that also was twice as deep as the diner structure. I don’t exactly know what this was but this section has unique “cove ceilings” covered in metal as well as a large skylight. It almost looked like someone was trying to emulate a diner interior on an on-site structure. Brad thought it might have been an old railroad car but I am not so sure.

Inside of building looking down the length of the old diner,
the light fixture is mounted to the barrel ceiling.

Interior of addition on right end of diner with unique cove ceiling
with skylight, now used as office/service desk.

Thanks to Brad Bankman for his taking time out of his busy day to talk with me as well as allowing me to take photos of the interior and exterior of his establishment.

Palace Diner, one of only 2 Pollard Diners in existance.

Biddeford, Maine’s Palace Diner For Sale

I heard from Bob Higgins the other day and he reports that the Palace Diner, a 1920’s vintage Pollard Diner is for sale. The current owner, Kyle Quinn is seeking to sell the business, lock, stock and barrel (roof of course). Here is what Bob said in his email…

The diner is actively for sale by owner Kyle Quinn,
1-207- 332-6001
I have been there a couple of times in the last couple of weeks. The diner has 15 seats and comes with the land it sits on and a few feet of land around it. He appears to be doing some business, but is not open beyond 10:30 am, breakfast only. He has owned the diner for 3 years. Maybe you could place a note on your blog and see if there is any interest.                                                                                                                      Bob Higgins

Consider it posted Bob!

Old postcard of HoJo’s clone, Mary Hartigan’s Famous Restaurant

Newest addition to my postcard collection

I finally broke down and got a decent postcard of a restaurant I remember (although I never ate there). It was from “Mary Hartigan’s Famous Restaurant” (not my words, that is how the back reads). This place was located on Route 1A, Washington Street in Dedham, Mass. hard by the edge of Route 128. I always thought it might have been an ex-Howard Johnsons Restaurant by the looks of it. I was wrong according to some info I have found. In fact there is a possibility that this place actually evolved from a former Dutchland Farms Restaurant which had similar styling to HoJo’s.

The building still exists but is completely encased within a much larger structure since it was Hartigans. It has operated as at least one other restaurant and is now currently became part of an upscale chain called “Finz”. There is another one in Salem, Mass.

3 thoughts on “Notes from the Hotline, 8-1-08

  1. That’s a great find. Thanks so much for sharing. I love to see diners that have been lying “undiscovered” for so long, hiding in plain sight.

  2. Thanks for reminding me about Tolman Mfg. For whatever reason, I removed it from my listings. I think because the photos I have only show that room with a skylight, and I knew that was no diner.

    Don Levy, the owner of the Deluxe Town Diner took me to that place back in 1991 and it is listed in the first Massachusetts Diner Finder map.

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