Georgetown Diner aka Randy’s Roast Beef aka Fat Boy’s Diner

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Randy’s Roast Beef, photo copyright circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera

Back in late 1980 and early 1981 when I first started documenting diners in northern New England I was basically covering as much ground in the Metro-Boston area as humanly possible (being that I lived here). I was doing a pretty good job of photographing all the diners I knew about but one of them had slipped through my memory banks for a short time.

This was the former Georgetown Diner then currently operating as Randy’s Roast Beef in downtown Georgetown, Mass. It was the next to last diner built by the Worcester Lunch Car Company (No. 849) Only a few miles down Rte. 133 from the wildly popular Agawam Diner in neighboring Rowley, I had forgotten it was there. I certainly did know about it as my good friend Wayne Oblenes grew up in Georgetown and when I first started hanging with him in 1977, I became familiar with the town.

I was at the annual 4th of July cook-out that Scott & Linda Repucci used to host back then (1981) and was conversing with Bob (I can’t recall his last name off the top of my head) a good friend of Scott’s who resided in Georgetown and it was he who reminded me of the diner. I made a trip up Rte. 97 from Topsfield to reaquaint myself with the diner and shot a couple of photos of it.

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Randy’s Roast Beef, photo copyright circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera

During the next year or so I went to Randy’s Roast Beef to have a meal on 2 or 3 occasions. Because it had been operated as a Roast Beef shop the menu consisted of sandwiches, and pizza. The interior was slightly changed to reflect the new operation. This meant raising the countertop (for the right 2 thirds of the length of the counter) to be a take-out type serving counter and removing the stools on that end. The left-hand side of the counter remained with a handful of  stools. The other seating was handled by the 4 booths at the right-hand end of the diner.

The other interior change was that the grill and cooking equipment were removed from behind the counter and all cooking and food prep were done in the rear kitchen. A large pass-through window was cut into the back wall of the diner to accommodate the serving of the food from the kitchen.

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Photos of diner moving circa 1982 courtesy of Georgetown Weekly
(The trailer that was used to move the diner was not strong enough and when it was moved onto the street the tongue on the trailer failed. The diner stayed in the street for at least a day until they could rectify the situation)

In the summer of 1982, Neachos “Nick” Petrakis the owner of Randy’s Roast Beef had a new building built behind the diner to house his new expanded restaurant. He sold the diner to Joe Mello who moved it into storage in Ipswich, Mass. Mello had plans to locate the diner possibly in nearby Middleton, Mass. and reopen it but those plans never came to fruition and the diner sat from 1982 to 1989 on his property on Linebrook Road.

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Georgetown Diner at Ipswich storage location, 1982-89
photo copyright circa 1982 by Larry Cultrera

In 1989, John Keith was buying up old diners and was doing some restoration work and reselling them, basically becoming a diner broker. He bought the Georgetown Diner and moved it to New Hampshire for some restoration. I have a strong memory of visiting the storage site in New Hampshire but cannot find any photos from there, (I wonder if I dreamed it?).

After restoring the diner, Keith moved it out to Los Angeles to try to sell it out there. But after a failed attempt  at marketing  the diner on the west coast he moved it back here and eventually sold it to Trevor Gulliver in London, England to be part of his Fat Boy’s Diner chain. Keith ended up supplying 5 diners to Gulliver, the Georgetown, the former Riverview Diner of Harrisburg, PA, Ted’s Plaza Diner from Jersey City, NJ, the Seagull Diner from Kittery, Maine and the former Boulevard Diner from the Queens section of New York City.

The Fat Boy’s Diner chain lasted a couple of years, maybe 3 and then was sold off. Ironically the last diner operating as Fat Boy’s in London is the former Georgetown Diner. I believe it is at a different location then it originally operated but seems to be very popular. Here is a link to their website where you can see images of it including a great 360 view of the interior (which looks almost like it just came from the Worcester factory!)  http://www.fatboysdiner.co.uk/ you will need a Quicktime Player to look at the 360 interior view.