More of Diner Hotline’s “Top Diners” of Massachusetts

Continuing on with last week’s post (Top 10 Diners of Massachusetts) I will name my next 10 favorite diners of the Bay State. This new edition of the list will continue with factory-built diners as well.

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Boulevard Diner, 155 Shrewsbury Street
Worcester, Mass.
1937 vintage Worcester Diner

Originally owned by Fred J. Galanto, this diner has been operated by the George family for decades. Refurbished in recent years, this wonderful example from the late 1930’s of the venerable Worcester Lunch Car Company is shiny again, both inside and out. The rooftop neon as well as the neon sign hanging from a pole on the right-hand side is also shining brightly. One thing that did not need refurbishing is the tried and true menu they have always served here. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner equally well.

Because of it’s location on Shrewsbury Street (which has been traditionally  the “Italian” neighborhood of the city) they have some great Italian specialties, including Ziti and Meatballs (or Sausage). They also feature some basic deserts such as Grapenut Pudding (my favorite). Open 24 hours, it is certainly a late night favorite in Worcester.

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Tex Barry’s Coney Island, 31 County Street
Attleboro, Mass.
late 1920’s vintage Worcester Diner

As I mentioned in the intro to the Top Ten Diners list last post, in this installment I am including some diners that serve a limited menu and to further clarify… diners that don’t serve breakfast. Tex Barry’s is one of these.

Tex Barry’s Coney Island Hot Dogs in Attleboro was once part of a 15 unit chain of stores of which only 2 survive. This one and one in Taunton. This Tex Barry’s is housed in a late 1920’s vintage Worcester Lunch Car and has had quite a few names since it was installed (I understand it has always operated at this site). Tex Barry’s took over this diner around 1982 or 1983 when the diner they were originally in behind the Post Office was torn down. That diner was at least as old as the current one if not a little older.

This has become a favorite of mine in the last 3 years or so, (one of those places I wished I lived closer to). Part of it has to do with the Hot Dogs but mostly because Arthur Bombadier who runs the place is a great guy who really appreciates his customers, whether they are regulars or first-time visitors. This place is a must stop if you like Hot Dogs and Hamburgers and French Fries!

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Buddy’s Diner, 113 Washington Street
Somerville, Mass.
1929 vintage Worcester Diner

I have been going to Buddy’s since 1979 or 1980 and not much has changed over the years in this small Worcester car. It was operated since 1965 by the Barrett family until about 3 years ago when they sold the business to Nicole Bairos. It features the typical breakfast and lunch menu you would expect at any diner. The prices are low for most items and the service is quick, although during rush times the orders can back up slightly but that is to be expected in such a small place.

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Victoria’s Diner, 1024 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, Mass.
1965 vintage Swingle Diner

I have been going to this diner since I was around 12 years old. In fact it was brand-new then, having been installed by the Swingle Diner Company the same year. In fact it is now the only diner still in existence that I used to go for breakfast with my Dad when I was a kid!

This diner replaced a 1949 vintage stainless steel Jerry O’Mahony diner run by the Georgenes family. They sold the business 6 or 7 years ago and it is currently run by the same people who run the Breakfast Club Diner in Allston (another section of Boston). The current owners have spruced up the menu a little bringing it into the 21st century creating a younger vibe than it previously had. They do serve breakfast lunch and dinner here, 7 days a week.

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Parkway Diner, 148 Shrewsbury Street
Worcester, Mass.
1930 vintage Worcester Diner

Like its neighbor across the street, (the Boulevard Diner) the Parkway Diner has a loyal clientele. They also have a similar menu to the Boulevard and I have always said, if you had ordered say the ziti and sausage in either restaurant and you were blindfolded, you would not know which place you were sitting in! At least that has been my experience.

Although the exterior of this diner has been modified with stucco and a different roof as well as additions on either side, the interior of this diner is just about the way it came out of the Worcester factory almost 80 years ago. I don’t believe they keep the same long hours as the Boulevard but breakfast and lunch are a good bet here as well.

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Casey’s Diner, 36 South Avenue, Natick, Mass.
1922 vintage Worcester Diner

Probably one of the oldest operating diners in the country today, Casey’s Diner in Natick still packs them in literally as well as figuratively. It is what we call a 10-stooler and if not for the take-out window on the right side of the diner, things would probably be a little different. Like Tex Barry’s, Casey’s is famous for Hot Dogs. But unlike Tex Barry’s grilled dogs, Casey’s are boiled and the buns are steamed!

Operated by the third and fourth generation of the Casey family, the menu also includes hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and Table Talk Pies. Breakfast is not served here and they are usually closed the month of August.

Kelly's-Diner

Kelly’s Diner, 674 Broadway, Somerville, Mass.
1947 vintage Jerry O’Mahony Diner

I first saw this diner on Memorial Day weekend in 1982 when it was located near Hares Corner, Delaware. At that time it was known as the Grecian Diner. In a strange circumstance, 13 years later it would show up in Somerville about 2.5 to 3 miles from where I lived in Medford!

In the early 1990’s a store block that was on the corner that Kelly’s occupies currently had burned down. The remains of the building were cleared and the lot stood vacant for a short period. Along comes Larry Holmes of Winthrop, Mass. (a native of Somerville) who has the chance to buy the property. Larry had previously bought the former Peter Pan Diner out of Khunsville, PA and moved it to Falmouth, Mass. and set it up as Betsy’s Diner to critical acclaim.

Larry subsequently sold that business and was again looking to do something similar, closer to home. I believe it was Dick Gutman who informed him of the availability of the diner in Delaware. Larry travelled twice if not three times down to Delaware to check the place out and more importantly to get exact measurements of the building.

This was crucial as the diner was quite large and the plot of land in Ball Square looked awfully small. In fact the diner came within 6 inches of not fitting the property. Once on site the diner looks like it has always been there!

Anyway, Kelly’s Diner is currently run by Larry’s son and daughter Jay Holmes and Kelly August. It is open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch. It does a huge business on Saturdays and Sundays, where you can usually see a line out the door.

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Don’s Diner, 121 South Street, Plainville, Mass.
1950’s vintage Mountain View Diner

Unfortunately, Don’s Diner does not look like my circa 1981 photo above anymore. Owner Phyllis Perreault told me that by the early 1990’s, the stainless steel facade was showing much wear and tear and it would have been cost prohibitive to restore the diner using similar exterior materials.

So they had the panels under the front and side windows removed and the areas resurfaced with vinyl siding. A mansard roof was also placed over the roof parapet giving the diner a completely different look. Ironically, the rounded corner stainless panels remain giving a glimpse of the buildings heritage. The interior is pretty original and well maintained.

This is the third diner on this site. The original “Don”, Phyllis’ father in-law bought the former Alicia’s Diner in 1936 and renamed it. This diner lasted until the early 1960’s when the Perreault’s had to replace the old 9 stool diner after a fire. The Service Diner from Providence, RI was available so this was moved in to do duty as the new Don’s Diner.

In 1969, the family upgraded again to the former Minute Man Diner that operated on U. S. Rte. 1 in Attleboro, the current Mountain View Diner. The Service Diner went out to Rte. 1 to operate as the Red Rock Diner and Eddie and Miles Diner before being forced to move for the Emerald Square Mall. Since 1989 it has been relocated to Bolton Landing, NY on Lake George where it currently operates as Bolton Beans.

Don’s Diner serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday thru Friday, 6:00 am to 2:30 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 7:00 am to 1:00 pm.

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The Lunch Box Diner, 906 Eastern Avenue,
Malden, Mass.
1932 vintage Worcester Diner

Originally one of Al Mac’s Diners located in Fall River, this is a unique Worcester Diner, the Lunch Box has more of a Lunch Wagon interior. There is a serving counter that fronts the “kitchen area” at the end away from the street. there are counter shelves by the windows on both sides with stools for 9. This diner originally came out of the factory set up like most diners with the counter going lengthwise and small booths by the front windows. But sometime in the late 1930’s the owner had the Worcester Lunch Car people come in and reconfigure it on site.

From what I know the diner ended up in Malden in the early 1950’s and it has been here ever since. It has gone under names such as Viv’s Diner, Judy’s Diner, Rose’s Lil’ Red Diner and Uncle Lester’s Diner.

It was operated by John Harmon for almost 2 years as Lulu’s before he closed it. John had some great food but could not make a go of it. Scott and Kristen Drago took it over and renamed it yet again to The Lunch Box Diner.

The Drago’s created a very popular business here but eventually sold the business to Nick Master who is currently operating it. Open for breakfast and lunch Monday thru Saturday, breakfast only on Sundays.

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Little Depot Diner, 1 Railroad Avenue
Peabody, Mass.
1929 vintage Worcester Diner

Originally Harry’s Diner in Lynn, Mass., This diner has been in its current location since the 1950’s. Long operated as Kurly’s Diner it has changed hands 3 times since Mort Kurland retired in the early 1980’s. Operated as the Railroad Diner and more recently as the Whistlestop Diner, the diner became the Little Depot in early 2008 when Jim and Judy Miles took over the reigns.

The diner has really gotten back to being  a popular local breakfast place, especially since the Bel Aire Diner closed and the Foster Street Diner has been relocated to Rhode Island.  Though small, the diner seems to put out a great meal served in a pleasant atmosphere.

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Diner Hotline’s Top 10 Massachusetts Diners, part 1

I have been communicating with Beth Lennon recently (of Retro Roadmap, see last Diner Hotline post). She is, as I write this, back in Massachusetts to visit with family and do some roadtrip/roadside photo excursions, revisiting diners, donut shops, hot dog stands and clam shacks, not to mention ice cream stands, bowling alleys and mini-golf places.

In our recent communications, we spoke about the possibility of doing a colaboratory blog post which as it turns out will be this one! She asked for my recommendation of my favorite diners in Massachusetts.

I probably could go wild with this list, but I decided I would break it into more than one post. This first one will be my current Top 10. Please keep in mind, the diners on this list could change at any time for whatever reason and it is only my opinion, others may have a different experience.

The list will be expanded in future posts and may include non-factory-built diners such as the Tumble Inn Diner in Saugus, Ernie’s Lunch in Melrose as well as the Shady Glen in Turners Falls and the Groveland Diner in Groveland. Also, these diners represent places that serve breakfast, lunch (and some of them dinner). I will talk about some other diners doing shorter menus (I.E. Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, etc.) in one of the later posts.

So here goes….. starting with Number 1

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Capitol Diner, 431 Union Street, Lynn, Mass.
1928 vintage Brill Diner

The Capitol Diner in Lynn will always be at the top of any diner list in my book! Currently the only operating Brill Diner left in the world (to my knowledge). Owned and operated by Bob Fennell, his family’s ownership goes back to 1938 with his Dad’s Uncle George at the helm. In 1948, Bob’s Dad… Buddy came down from his native Canada to visit Uncle George and Uncle George put him to work as he was shorthanded that day. Well that one day turned into 50 plus years! Bob has been in charge since Buddy’s passing a number of years ago. The Capitol is everything a diner should be. If you are a regular customer, it is basically like sitting in a friend’s kitchen and having a great meal. If you are a first time visitor, you will immediately feel welcome and part of the family.

rosebud-diner

Rosebud Diner, 381 Summer Street,
Somerville, Mass.
1941 vintage Worcester Diner

The Rosebud Diner is one place I can recall from a young age. But when I was young it was a bar, not serving food. The Nichols family has owned the diner since the late 1950’s. When they first bought it, it was a regular working diner. But as the story goes… one day in 1957 the cooks came in and discovered that the cooking area was dismantled and the diner was being turned into a cocktail bar and lounge and that the cooks were basically out of a job. The diner continued to be used in this fashion and had even acquired a “mansard roof” replacing a canvas awning across the front roof facade in the early 1970’s.

The Nichols’ sold the diner circa 1989 (if I remember correctly) and it continued to be used as a bar with limited food service under at least 2 operators until the mid-1990’s when the people who had bought the diner defaulted on the mortgage. The Nichols’ stepped back in at this point and decided to give the place a limited restoration and operate it as a Diner again. Bill Nichols said he was inspired by Dick Gutman’s “American Diner Then & Now” history book. During the restoration Bill even left a message on my answering machine to let me know that they had removed the “mansard” from the structure, exposing the original “monitor roof” of the diner. I had been after him to “take the mansard off” for years!

With the diner’s reopening it has been reborn as slightly more upscale than the local neighborhood diner offering breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a full liquor license.

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Shawmut Diner, 943 Shawmut Avenue,
New Bedford, Mass.
1953 vintage Jerry O’Mahony Diner

It has been a while since I was at the Shawmut Diner but I have a hunch things are still the same at this wonderful place! Owned and operated by Phil & Celeste Paleologos since the early 1980’s, this place stands out not only for good food and friendly, fast service, but you cannot ever leave there without a smile on your face, especially if Phil is on the premises.

If you looked up the definition for the words affable and gracious, you just might see Phil Paleologos’ face accompanying the text!  Since I have known Phil, I don’t believe that he has ever greeted me with a handshake, it has always been with a bear-hug!  That is the kind of guy he is. In fact my artist friend Becky Haletky (she does some wonderful diner and roadside related paintings) emailed me just yesterday and said she was at the Shawmut and met Phil on Thursday, here is what she said….

David (her husband) and I picked up Jaime (her son) in New Bedford yesterday, and took him to lunch at the Shawmut. I met Phil… gregarious guy!!!… and showed him the painting I did of his diner. He seemed to really love it. I told him I know you guys (Denise & I) and Dick (Gutman). He is a very friendly man! I’m hoping he’ll buy the painting.  Me too Becky!

Anyway, if you are ever in the Southeastern Massachusetts area stop in to the Shawmut, you’ll never be disappointed!

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Salem Diner, 70 Loring Avenue, Salem, Mass.
1941 vintage Sterling Diner

The Salem Diner is one of only 2 “Sterling Streamliner” diners still operating. The other is the Modern Diner of Pawtucket, RI. There are others but they are all in storage at this point in time. The diner was sort of a little down at the heels a couple of years ago until the current owners George and Zoe Elefteriadis bought the diner in late 2007, they revamped the diner by cleaning it up, re-doing the booths, tile floor and counter apron. It made a big difference. It also didn’t hurt that they provide some great meals & friendly service which my wife Denise really appreciates. It has certainly risen to be one of our regular stops.

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Tim’s Diner, 14 Water Street,
Leominster, Mass.
1949 vintage Silk City Diner

What can I say about Tim’s Diner? Let’s see,(1) it is possibly the smallest diner ever built by Silk City Diners (Paterson Vehicle Company), (2) you can get a really great breakfast there (I never had lunch there, but I’m sure it is just as good)! (3)  Tim and his staff are always friendly (I’m seeing a pattern here on this list). I’m sure there are other reasons I love Tim’s Diner but most of all because it is there!

Originally operated as Roy’s Diner, Tim’s dad (the original Tim) took over the operation sometime in the 1950’s (I believe) and the rest they say, is history! I know I am always looking forward to the next trip out to Leominster to eat at Tim’s!

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Blanchard’s 101 Diner, 322 Cambridge Street,
Worcester, Mass.
Construction started late 1950’s by Worcester Lunch Car Company, completed 2007-2008 by the Blanchard family 

Blanchard’s 101 Diner is the newest old diner in Worcester. I wrote about this around the time they opened (see the post from January 26, 2008)
https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2008/01/26/new-old-diner-to-open-in-worcester-mass/

In that post I mentioned the history of the building as I knew it at the time. I told about Francis Van Slett who started the Worcester Deluxe Diner Company after the Worcester Lunch Car Company folded. He basically bought the assets of the older company at auction in 1961 with the intention of carrying on the business. A few months later it was mentioned in the local newspaper that he was starting the construction of a new diner on speculation.

Since then we have come to the conclusion that this new diner that Mr. Van Slett said he had started to build was really one left over from the Worcester Lunch Car Company! He got it at auction with all the other assets. It remained in unfinished condition and in storage for over 40 years.

Anyway, since Chris and Matt Blanchard finished the construction of the diner and opened it, it has now become my go-to place for breakfast in Worcester! As much as I like the Boulevard Diner or the Parkway Diner or even the Miss Worcester Diner, I always end up at Blanchard’s! Great people, great service, great food! Enough said!

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Agawam Diner, 166 Newburyport Turnpike
(U.S. Rte. 1), Rowley, Mass.
1954 vintage Fodero Diner

The Agawam Diner, just say those words to anyone who is familiar with the place and you will almost always hear…. Oh, I love their creme pies! My personal favorite is the Coconut Creme Pie but I am sure any of the other pies they bake daily are just as scrumptious! This diner has been run by the Galanis family from day one. In fact this is actually Agawam Diner No. 3. No. 1 is currently operating as the Fish Tale Diner just a few miles up U.S. Rte. 1 in Salisbury. No’s 2 & 4 are no longer extant.

This place does a tremendous business, especially on the weekends when you can usually see a line waiting to get inside this stainless steel beauty. The prices for their meals recently were increased slightly but are still quite reasonable compared to some other places.

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Fish Tale Diner, 420 Bridge Road
(U.S. Rte. 1), Salisbury, Mass.
1940 vintage Worcester Diner

As I stated above this is formerly Agawam Diner No. 1. It has been located in Salisbury since the early 1970’s. After it got to it’s current location, the old bright red porcelain enameled steel panels were replaced with weathered shingles that sort of makes the diner fit in next to the marina it is adjacent to, hard by the banks of the Merrimac River overlooking Newburyport.

The current owners have installed a deck out front for expanded seating in the good weather. It is quite possibly one of the nicest locations of any diner I know. I seem to always get the Apple Pancakes whenever I go there for breakfast. I say I’m going to get something different but then I can’t resist, I go for the Apple Pancakes! The same thing happens at the 50-50 Diner in Fitchburg. Recently there was a rumor that the place may close due to redevelopment, but someone associated with the diner assured me that was probably not going to happen. I hope they were right!

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Portside Diner, 2 River Street, Danvers, Mass.
1948 vintage Worcester Diner

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Portside Diner, mainly because it is virtually the identical twin to the Star Lite Diner I used to go to in Medford, the town I grew up in. Both of these diners were built in 1948, the Portside’s original name was the Cape Ann Grill and it’s first operating location was Gloucester. It was moved to Danvers sometime in the early 1960’s I believe.

The Star Lite was built a few months after the Cape Ann and operated from late 1948 to approx. the summer of 1968 when it was removed to a salvage yard never to be operated again. It wasn’t until the mid- 1980’s that I recognized the Portside’s resemblance to the Star Lite. Being that at that time there were no known photographs of the Star Lite, I could not remember what it looked like. One day I was sitting in the Portside and it dawned on me that they had a pretty similar layout on the inside. In fact as I have found out, they were the only 2 Worcester Diners that were built like this.

Anyway, the Portside offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, 6 days a week with breakfast only on Sundays. Their menu features basic diner food with daily specials at reasonable prices.

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Four Sister’s Owl Diner, 244 Appleton Street,
Lowell, Mass.
1940 vintage Worcester Diner

Here is another diner that packs them in on the weekend! I’m sure they do a decent business throughout the week but like the Agawam, there could almost always be a wait on Saturday and Sunday to get a seat at this classic Worcester. In fact they have added a large entryway that when finished will double as a waiting area with seats.

They give you a lot of food for your buck and it’s always good! Operated by the Shanahan family since the early 1980’s, it has spawned at least 2 other on-site diners in recent years, when family members opened the Dream Diner in Tyngsboro and Rosie’s Diner in North Chelmsford.

Notes from the Hotline, 7-11-09

I haven’t been inspired to write anything recently on the blog and I apologize. Been waiting for the weather to be more summer-like I guess. So I decided to post about a couple of blogs I have been checking out recently, in fact they are already links on my blog roll.

Rick Sebak’s Blog

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Rick Sebak photo courtesy WQED

Most people who are into the American roadside either by documenting with photos, collecting memorabilia or just plain travelling on the old roads (or all of the above) may also be familiar with Rick Sebak’s wonderful documentary type programs he has produced on PBS through the Pittsburgh affiliate WQED.

Programs such as Pennsylvania Diners and Other Roadside Restaurants, An Ice Cream Show, A Hot Dog Program, A Program About Unusual Buildings & Other Roadside Stuff as well as Sandwiches That You Will Like and the more recent A Ride Along The Lincoln Highway are some of my favorites. Rick has a very entertaining blog at http://www.wqed.org/tv/sebak/blog/.

I recently corresponded with Rick through Facebook and found out we have a mutual admiration “thing” going on. He told me he has been aware of me and Diner Hotline for a number of years and I of course told him how much of a fan I was of his documentaries! Anyway you can check out his blog and also if you are interested, there are links to purchase his various shows on DVD as well. For more info on Rick check out… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Sebak and
http://www.wqed.org/tv/sebak/index.php

Mod Betty’s Retro Raodmap blog

An old acquaintance, Beth Lennon started a blog recently which I highly recommend. I met Beth a number of years ago through Randy Garbin of Roadside Magazine. In fact at that time, Beth and I were both living in my old hometown of Medford, Mass. Well in the intervening years Beth has gotten married and moved down to Phoenixville, PA (actually not too far from where Randy lives in Jenkintown). Beth has some great photos on Flickr which I had seen previously, prior to the start of her blog.

She follows different aspects of the roadside that interest her. In fact as I write this, she is having a retro yard sale, the info for this is posted on her blog as well as details of this weekend’s annual Blob Fest in her hometown of Phoenixville. FYI the 1957 cult movie The Blob was shot in and around Phoenixville and Downingtown, PA with famous scenes at Phoenixville’s  Colonial Theater and the Downingtown Diner in Downingtown.

Check out her blog at http://retroroadmap.com/

Notes from the Hotline, 7-1-09

Meeting Susan & Bob Wingate

This past Saturday Denise and I met up with my new friend Susan Wingate and her husband Bob. Susan & Bob live out in the extreme Northwest corner of the contiguous United States in Friday Harbor, Washington. She has authored two novels and is currently working on the next one. I contacted Susan right after I heard about her second novel called “Bobby’s Diner” Here is a link to a previous post I wrote about that book, here on Diner Hotline…… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/writer-susan-wingate-signs-2nd-novel-bobbys-diner/

Anyway, Susan & Bob had spent some time in New York focusing their activities around the U.S. Open Golf Tournament 2 weeks ago and then came up to Boston and visited with some old friends, (mainly relaxing with them at their home). We made arrangements to hook up with them on Saturday which turned out to be the best day of the week (weather-wise). We decided to take them on a mini-tour of the Northshore area of Boston. We took a ride by Revere Beach, the nations oldest designated public beach and then stopped at the Capitol Diner in Lynn.

As we were pulling up to the diner, I was explaining a little about the history of the diner and how the current owner, Bob Fennell has been running the business since his dad Buddy passed away a number 0f years ago. Well Bob Wingate picked up immediately on the fact that the owner’s name was “Bob” and exclaimed “Oh, Bobby’s Diner”!

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Here is a shot of Denise, Bob & Susan outside the Capitol Diner

After leaving the Capitol Diner we went back towards Charlestown where they were staying by first taking a quick run up U.S. Route 1 north from Saugus to Lynnfield pointing out some of the interesting roadside landmarks that commercial strip has to offer. We even went through the Edgewater Office Park in Wakefield as I explained about the Pleasure Island theme park that was formerly at that location before heading back through Saugus, Melrose, Stoneham and Medford to drop them off at their hotel. Denise and I enjoyed meeting them and hope to some day take them up on their offer to visit them in Washington state.

Sonic, “America’s Drive-In” is coming to Massachusetts!

Back at the end of April I finally took a handful of photos of an old sign that has survived along the U.S. Route 1 strip in Peabody, Mass. I had seen quite a few people had already done this and posted their results on flickr. Being that I was driving by this old relic twice a day (to and from work), I could not ignore it anymore.

 The sign in question is in an area that was redeveloped quite a few years ago. Just north of where I-95/Rte. 128 passes under U.S. Rte. 1, on the northbound side, this area sandwiched between Rte. 1 and the ramp from the intersecting I-95/128 to Rte. 1 north used to house 2 or 3 motels as well as a trailer park and a few other businesses.

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This was one of the Motels that was along that stretch of Rte. 1 although I think the “Motel Entrance” sign was for an adjacent motel to this one.

All of these places were torn down and they built 3 chain hotels in their place. In order heading north, the new hotels are The SpringHill Suites Hotel, The Homewood Suites Hotel and the Hampton Inn Hotel. Ironically left over from one of the motels on a piece of property situated between the Springhill Suites and the Homewood Suites was this old sign….

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There had been a sign on the site saying the property was for sale and was commercially zoned (which had recently disappeared around the time I shot this photo). I figured something was going to happen and this sign would soon be history! Sure enough about 2 weeks ago, in fact the day of my “Local Roadside Memories” slide show in Medford, I noticed workers with heavy equipment were starting to clear the site. Interestingly, the sign has remained throughout the construction, even though I half expected as I drove by every day that it would be gone.

Well yesterday afternoon on the way home from work, I glanced over and low and behold, the sign had a temporary vinyl sign hanging over both sides saying what was being built. The first Sonic Drive-In restaurant in Massachusetts if not in New England!

Motel-Entrance_Sonic-1

Was I surpised! I knew that Sonic had opened locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York recently. I was sort of wondering if they would venture into New England, and here they are, just 10 or 12 minutes from my house!

Doing some quick research, Sonic Drive-Ins started in 1953 in Stillwater, Oklahoma and currently has between 3400-3500 outlets throughout the U.S. The nearest ones to Boston are Kingston, NY, Waretown, NJ, Millville, NJ, Rio Grande, NJ, Hasbrouk Heights, NJ, Totowa, NJ and Nazareth, PA.