Notes from the Hotline, 11-9-08

Norm’s Diner in Groton, CT reportedly closed.

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Norm’s Diner from the early 1980’s, copyright Larry Cultrera

TheDay.com had a report dated Thursday, the 6th of November about the closing of Norm’s Diner. This 1950’s vintage Silk City Diner  has been continuously operated since it was brand-new. It has been owned for most of those years by Norm Brochu who actually retired a few years ago and sold the business to Dan Logan (Brochu still owns the building and property). Anyway, here is the text of TheDay.com report on the diner’s closing….

Landmark diner serves its last supper … for now

Norm’s in Groton closes for now, but maybe not for good

By Katie Warchut    Published on 11/6/2008

Groton – Dan “Dano” Logan, who took over Norm’s Diner four years ago, closed the longtime icon at the entrance to the City of Groton this week, blaming the poor economy. The diner’s former owners, Norm (the diner’s namesake) and Annie Brochu, however, are in a dispute with Logan over the rent for the building they still own and say the diner will reopen “under new management.” Annie Brochu declined to say when that would happen or who would run it.

The diner started out as Paula’s in 1953, and – since Norm fixed it up more than 40 years ago – it has become a stop for diner enthusiasts from around the country as well as locals. Serving home-cooked New England food, it survived competition from other local diners and chain restaurants along with the ups and downs of Navy-related business through the years.

Annie Brochu’s sister, Rose Phelps, who worked at the diner for many years, said it was sad that a historic place had to close. The former country music bar in the same building has long been closed, the building for sale with no takers. Norm Brochu said last year after his retirement that he had rejected past offers to move the dining car. Logan said he estimates business was down about 25 percent, mainly at dinner time. When the lease came up, he decided not to renew it.

Logan, meanwhile, said he felt bad about leaving his six diner employees jobless, so he hired them at the other restaurant he and his wife run, Dano’s Pizzeria & Lounge on Poquonnock Road, and started serving breakfast there. He also sells grinders out of a truck at Electric Boat. Logan put up signs in the metal Bridge Street diner directing customers to Dano’s and is even offering the Norm’s menu there.

Now, he said, he will concentrate on Dano’s, which he said is doing well, especially in pizza delivery to the sub base and in alcohol sales. ”The worse the economy gets, the better (alcohol) business gets,” Logan said. “We are just rocking up there.”

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Norm’s Diner from the early 1980’s, copyright Larry Cultrera

Diner Hotline recommends “Diners of New York”

I just received my copy of Mike Engle and Mario Monti’s Diners of New York and I have read over half of it already. Published by Stackpole Books this is the latest in their series of regional Diner  directories/histories and I highly recommend that anyone who already has Brian Butko’s Diners of Pennsylvania and Randy garbin’s Diners of New England pick this one up.

3 thoughts on “Notes from the Hotline, 11-9-08

  1. That’s sad to hear about Norm’s. Visited it in 2007, it was a great place, one of the most friendly and homey diners I’d had the pleasure of eating in.

  2. It is a shame that places like this and Rosie’s are closed now. The memories….. from late night endings there, to early morning starts, and quick snacks while at Boomer’s. They will be missed.

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