Former 9 & 20 Diner moves to Museum

The diner that operated as the Countryside Diner in Schodack, NY has been closed for a few years. More recently it had been reported that the diner was up on blocks and ready to move. In the past week or so the news came out that it has finally been moved.

9 & 20 Diner, copyright photo circa August 1981 by Larry Cultrera

I first came across this diner in an early diner hunting trip that was unfortunately left out of the diner log, (I had just started the log 7-28-1981). According to my earliest shots of this diner (above & below), I had been there in August 0f 1981. Anyway, it was operating as the 9 & 20 Diner which was appropriate considering its location at the junction of Rte’s 9 & 20 near Castleton on Hudson, south of Albany. Later in the 1980’s it was renamed the Countryside Diner but according to my notes it may have actually gone back to the 9 & 20 name by 2004.

9 & 20 Diner, copyright photo circa August 1981 by Larry Cultrera

I have read several news pieces as well as being alerted by Glenn Wells through the RoadsideFans yahoo group on the diners recent move. Here is the Albany Times Union story from Sunday May 31, 2009 telling the story…..

Diner moves to Duanesburg museum

Diner is addition to Duanesburg museum
By PAUL NELSON, Staff writer
First published in print: Sunday, May 31, 2009
DUANESBURG — With its peeling paint, the rusty old stainless steel and porcelain diner on Joseph Merli’s five-acre property on Route 20 might be mistaken for an eyesore. But to Merli, the 40-by-14 foot eatery he acquired from the village for $1 fits perfectly into his 1940s-themed Canal Street Station Village Museum.
Joseph J. Merli stands inside a vintage 1941 diner that once stood at
Route 9 and 20 in Rensselaer County. It will be incorporated into
Merli’s Canal Street Station Village museum in Duanesburg.
(John Carl D’Annibale / Times Union)

Renamed the Miss New York Central Diner, the structure will go nicely, he said, in front of the General Store at what will be the intersection of Market and Canal Streets, next to a charcoal gray restored locomotive. Before that happens, he and friends will spend at least a year refurbishing the former Country Side Diner, once a popular gathering place along Routes 9 and 20, Schodack.

Some of the bigger projects will include adding a complete kitchen with an old monitor-top General Electric refrigerator, steel cabinets and washbasin sinks. The renovations will be in sync with the time period. “I feel like I’m putting something back in America, representing the craftsman, and a time gone by that a lot of people remember,” said Merli, 58, a carriage builder by trade. The diner closed about four years ago and was removed to make way for a new diner, Merli said.

He credits Lucia Heavy Haulers and Becker Recovery in Schenectady with helping him transport the 10-ton structure to its new home on a flatbed truck on a trailer. The eatery stands on wooden blocks and features 15 bar stools and six booth seats. “This would be a typical diner you would find by the train station,” he said. It was manufactured by Paterson Vehicle, the same New Jersey company, that made the Miss Albany Diner on Broadway, Merli noted.

This vintage 1941 diner will be incorporated into the Canal Street
Station Village Museum in Duanesburg. It was last in service at
Routes 9 and 20 in Schodack. (John Carl D’Annibale / Times Union)

His diner will mostly be open for re-enactments and special seasonal events like farmers’ markets and car shows, he said. “It’s not going to be an everyday diner,” Merli added. “This is to leave behind for people to see when they drive through Route 20.” He says the roadway is a historic American highway.

Merli lives on the property with his girlfriend, Marilyn Miles. The village already includes a sparkling General Store where you can buy everything from textiles to bolts to penny candy. Nearby is an antique yard art 1947 Oldsmobile 98 that Merli said was typical of the kind of car you would see parked in front of a diner. “I’ve just always liked that time period,” he said.

10 thoughts on “Former 9 & 20 Diner moves to Museum

  1. I can confirm, from the RoadsideFans Group archive, that the name change back to 9 & 20 Diner was in September 2004. They installed a new sign, and although it was plastic it nicely replicated the present day US Highway shields for Routes 9 and 20.

    I have a photo at but look fast- I’m planning to re-do this web page because the information is out of date.

  2. my mother’s friend worked there in the late 50’s to early 60’s. It was the 9 and 20 back then because route 9 was a major throughfare to new york city back before the interstates.. it was owned by a german guy and his wife. the wife died and the guy died in a kitchen fire. i think it was a different location where the guy died.
    check out the history. is there still a silver certificate pasted on top of the kitchen door?

  3. Back in the early to late 1940’s, the 9 & 20 diner was a regular stop when I’d hitchhike between home in Amterdam, NY, and my granparent’s home in New Haven, Connecticut. I’d stop there for either of two reasons: the ride, usually a trucker, stopped for a meal, or else my ride was going on east on Rte. 20, while I needed head down Rte. 9 for connecting roads into Connecticut. After a quick bite, I’d head curbside to hitch my next ride, south on 9. In later years, as an adult, when I was drivng near the area, I would detour to stop for at least pie & coffee for nostalgia’s sake. I had hoped to get there one more time, but looks like I cannot.

  4. Years ago there was another diner just a couple miles down the road. Bea’s Diner. There is a self storage business there now. The new diner that was built on the old 9&20 spot is closed and up for sale now. June 20 2013.

  5. I’d like to add it’s a dam shame. If someone had invested in that old diner and rehabbed it I bet it would have been a win situation. That new replacement diner is still closed today. 1/15/15. What a mistake.

  6. My aunt and uncle (Clara and Joe Nagas) owned the 9 & 20 Diner many years ago before they retired. I remember visiting the place many times when I was a kid. That was primarily before the interstate highway system when routes 9 & 20 were about the best you could get for highways.

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