Red Wing Diner of Walpole, Mass. to get new owner

Red Wing Diner of Walpole, Mass. (The way it looks today)
photo circa 2006, copyright by Larry Cultrera

I just read an article from The Daily News Transcript out of Norwood, Massachusetts that an old favorite, the Red Wing Diner will undergo an ownership change soon. Located directly on U.S. Route 1, the Red Wing is a Worcester Lunch Car that is partially visible under some newer siding and another roof.

The siding covers the bottoms of the double-hung windows on either side of the front entry and the right side end wall leaving the upper sections that have orange stained glass visible to the naked eye. The diner is used as a bar with food service and is attached to a large building housing the major portion of the restaurant.

Though not open for breakfast, the diner is open for lunch and dinner and is famous for their Fried “Ipswich” Clams as well as their “pub” style Pizza. I have had the clams (excellent) but have never tried their pizza, someday maybe. The new owner has worked at the diner for 28 years. He has stated in the news article that there will be some changes, mostly cosmetic and not too extreme. Here is the text from the Daily News Transcript article written by Jeb Bobseine….

Old diner getting a new owner, look

WALPOLE —  A 75-year-old Rte. 1 dining institution is getting a renovation and a new owner.

Tuesday night Board of Selectmen approved the transfer of liquor, common victualler’s and entertainment licenses from Red Wing of Walpole, Inc., owned and run by the Campanario family, to Red Wing Diner Inc., to be owned and run by Liam Murphy. The sale is contingent on the payment of all outstanding tax obligations and ensuring the facility meets existing health codes.

Murphy, the current manager, has worked at the restaurant for 28 years, starting out as a busboy when he was 15. He later moved up to cook, manager, and soon, owner of the Red Wing Diner. He lives in Bellingham. “This is the type of entrepreneurial spirit we love in this town and the country,” said Selectman Al DeNapoli. Murphy’s attorney, Edward Valenzola of Mansfield, said his client certainly “knows the ins and outs of the business.”

Murphy declined comment on the pending sale, though he briefly described to the board his plans for the storied business and building. As long as the current employees want to stay, the staffing will remain “pretty much the same,” he said. He termed the planned renovations “generally cosmetic.” Some of the darker-colored siding will be removed and replaced, and a portion of the roof will be replaced. “Minor” work may be done to the walls, floors, and ceiling, and he may buy some new furniture.

He agreed with Selectman Chris Timson’s description of the goal being to give the place “a little perked up appearance.” Arthur Cook, a longtime Old Post Road resident who said he’s been going to Red Wing for 50 years, called the place “a family operation.” The Campanarios have always run a clean business, he said. They check IDs and “if you’ve had too much to drink they throw you out.” He hoped that wouldn’t change with the new ownership. Town Administrator Michael Boynton – only half-joking – asked Murphy if there would be any changes in the clam strips. Murphy assured him there would not.

(Note: the diner does not serve clam strips as quoted in the article but whole body clams, LAC)

Red Wing Diner circa 1940’s?, photo courtesy of Red Wing Diner

5 thoughts on “Red Wing Diner of Walpole, Mass. to get new owner

  1. Once again, Larry, great job! I had seen the article, but with all that siding I was uncertain if this was an actual diner. I’d love it if the new owner peeled away the siding and revealed what is probably a pretty well preserved Worcester Lunch Car, but this is probably too much to ask.

    I had trouble reading the roadside sign in the vintage picture, but then realized you could click on it and magnify it:





    The on-site building is the “Roadside cathedral” style somewhat like that other well-known purveyor of fried clams, Howard Johnson’s.

  2. Glenn, you may remember 2 years ago when one of your RoadsideFans replied to a post I made about Jane & Michael Stern’s North Shore clam shack and roast beef sandwich bus excursion that I participated in. I praised the fried clams at the Clam Box of Ipswich. This other person mentioned that he always enjoyed the fried clams at the Red Wing Diner. I responded that it had been years since I had been to the Red Wing and it was time for a revisit. Sunsequently I did go down and had a wonderful clam roll with french fries, well worth the trip!

  3. Liam,
    Thanks for checking in to Diner Hotline! I have now made a mental note that you now have Clam Strips which means a future visit someday with my wife Denise in tow. She is a clam strip person and I can go either way>

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