Notes from the Hotline, 11/1/08

Miss Portland Diner reopens

Miss Portland Diner, Last day of business at old location
Photo by Larry Cultrera, Copyright, March, 2004

Miss Portland Diner being worked on at new location
Photo by Larry Cultrera, Copyright, April, 2008

I read online reports thru my “Google News Alert” (with heads-up from Glenn Wells and Ted Boardman) that the Miss Portland Diner, Worcester Lunch Car #818 finally ropened at it’s new location after 4 and a half years in limbo. Back in March of 2004 Randy Chasse, the diner’s last owner/operator closed the doors of the diner and donated it to the city of Portland. Since then a couple of interested buyers had come close to meeting the city’s bidding requirements but were for one reason or another unsuccessful in bringing their plans to fruition. Enter Mr. Tom Manning, a native of Portland currently living out of state. Mr. Manning was able to buy the diner from the city earlier this year and has successfully reopened the diner at 138 Marginal Way which is across the street and about 2 blocks away from it’s old location.

Here is the Online (October 31st) announcement written by Kelley Bouchard of the Portland Press Herald…

Miss Portland Diner opened today

PORTLAND — The renovated and expanded Miss Portland Diner opened today on Marginal Way after more than four years of planning by city officials and others. “We did an unannounced opening because I didn’t want staff to be overrun, and we were very, very busy,” said owner Thomas Manning, a Portland native who bought the diner from the city earlier this year.

Manning said the landmark eatery at 138 Marginal Way will be open for breakfast and lunch for about a month, then expand to dinner hours with a grand opening in December. The 46-seat Worcester Lunch Car was moved from another location on Marginal Way to make way for a new office building. The diner has a new addition that includes a modern kitchen and a 48-seat dining room.

The City Council agreed in August 2006 to sell the 59-year-old diner and a 6,000-square-foot bus shelter site to Manning for $25,000 and $75,000, respectively. The diner is located next to a new student housing complex and health care office building. It stands beside Interstate 295, between the Forest Avenue and Franklin Arterial exits.

The diner’s former owner, Randall Chasse, gave it to the city in March 2004 after trying to sell it several times, including on the Internet. Before Manning expressed an interest in the diner, deals with two other prospective buyers fell through.


Stackpole Books publishes Diners of New York

It’s finally here! The latest installment of “Diner” guide/history book published by Stackpole Books of Mechanicsburg, PA. Entitled “Diners of New York” it is co-written by Mike Engle (of and Mario Monti. This has been a few years in the works and joins Randy Garbin’s “Diners of New England” and Brian Butko’s landmark inaugural “Diners of Pennsylvania”.

In fact Stackpole Books Editor Kyle Weaver contacted me a few years ago about the possiblity of me writing this book. I told him I was flattered but there were 2 reasons I could not do it, (1) in my opinion, Brian Butko raised the bar very high with his book and (2) being that I lived in Massachusetts and not New York, it would not be financially feasable to do the kind of research neccasary to even do half the book that Brian did.

I suggested Mike Engle whom I was acquainted with and knew that he had already started on a personal quest to document currently existing diners as well as others that may have been historically operated over the years in the Empire State. So the publishers went with a co-authorship of Mike along with Mario Monti. Mario is a retired school teacher and diner enthusiast who has also put out an e-book guide to diners.

I am looking forward to receiving my copy of the book and seeing what they came up with! I know they did use some photos from my personal archive and I am curious as to which ones made the cut.