Philadelphia’s Domino Diner burns in July, formerly Carroll’s Diner of Medford, Mass.


Domino Diner, circa 2005 – Larry Cultrera


Carroll’s Diner, 1948-1962, Courtesy of the Carroll family

Intrepid Diner Hunter Mike Engel of NYDINERSDOTCOM (see my blogroll) left a comment on my flickr site, specifically on my photo of the Domino Diner. His comment reported that this 1948 vintage O’Mahony diner (with a 1963 updating from Swingle Diners) had a bad fire on the morning of July 28, 2008.

The Domino Diner was originally the 1948 version of Carroll’s Diner from my hometown of Medford, Mass. It got replaced in 1962 when the Carroll family opened their new 3-piece Swingle-built colonial diner next door to the older diner. Swingle took the O’Mahony in trade and rehabbed the diner. They also added a factory-built dining room on the right side and sold it to an operator in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. It has been at that location since 1964 and has been known as the Domino Diner for a good number of years.

I actually only found out this diner still existed in the last 10 years. Up until then I had thought the diner did not exist anymore, in fact back in 1987, I had asked Joe Swingle (of Swingle Diners) what had become of that diner and he himself was under the impression it was not in existence. But then I had seen a galley of Brian Butko’s Diners of Pennsylvania book prior to its publishing and saw Brian’s reference to the Domino Diner as the former Carroll’s Diner of Medford, Mass.

I was amazed at this news. I contacted Ilona Mifflin of the Society for Commercial Archeology and asked her if she would take some photos for me (which I used in a Diner Hotline column I wrote shortly after that). I also alerted the Carroll family who did not know their old diner was still around. On a visit to the Philly area back in July of 2005, I finally visited the diner (which I remembered from my youth). I met Len Davidson as well as Dale & Ilona Mifflin for a late breakfast there.

According to all the reports I got on-line (including some comments from blogs and such) the future of this diner does not bode well. The fire was reported at 2:00 am and was extinguished by 2:44 am. The fire reportedly started in the kitchen, but from what I could glean, there was a lot of damage.

Here is some video from Truveo.com from a news report of the fire http://www.truveo.com/Fire-Damages-Roxborough-Diner/id/1215086557 back in July.

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