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.

7 thoughts on “Georgetown Diner aka Randy’s Roast Beef aka Fat Boy’s Diner

  1. I am grateful that it was restored instead of lost for all eternity. This looks like it could have been a great place to eat it at during that era. I have never been much of a burger fan. When I was a kid my cousins would be all over Mcdonald’s and I would just think the Big Mac was the most disgusting thing anyone could dream up. Course I was only five or six at the time. I am almost thirty now and I still don’t like burgers, no matter how tasty they look. But I will never forget my dad always taking me to Arby’s because I loved roast beef sandwhiches and while Arby’s is not exactly the best roast beef quality I could see my father taking me to a place like this if we had lived in New England.

    I am a vintage gas station geek at heart and I can’t help but notice the outside lamp in the parking lot in the first photo. Looks like it could have been home at a vintage gas station back in the 50s ir 60s.

  2. Didi,
    the light fixture you see in the photo was from the Mobil Gas station next door. You can see a little of the gas station in the second photo

  3. Thanks for the pics Larry. I grew up two streets over and my dad took us there on weekends. I remember the move well. Those are some of my friends on bikes to the left of the pic. Now Georgetown is a streetlight on the way to I-95 and the only 2 diners around are the Agawam in Rowley, and Ann’s in Salisbury. Kinda sad, but great memories.

  4. This used to be called The Georgetown Diner and was run by a guy named Mal. My ex wife used to work there back in the early ’70s. Mal was a great short order cook, cracking 4 eggs at a time in one fluid move accross the grill. The food was good and coffee was always hot and fresh from the big gas urn that was next to the grille behind the counter. The area behind the diner was a block walled kitchen that was attached by a door through the back wall by the booths.

  5. Hi my grandfather malcolm burns owned the diner in the early 70’s. I remember helping my grandmom in the kitchen. I have alot of happy times there. It was so nice to see that old diner. Thank you.

  6. Absolutely amazing story. I was born and raised in town, and was a junior at Georgetown High when the diner was taken out and replaced by the constructed building. I still remember the night the diner was stuck in the middle of the road because they couldn’t move it when the truck broke.

    Always loved Randy’s Roast Beef sandwiches, they were the BEST!

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