Timmy’s Diner slated to make a comeback!

Back when I first started documenting diners with my photographs I met David Hebb of Cambridge, Mass. Dave had started photographing diners almost 2 years prior to when I took my first diner shot. We crossed paths at least twice before we finally hooked up to create the Boston contingent of the Diner Patrol. In one of our early meetings he told me about a diner that was sitting behind Jim’s 10 Country Lounge on Route 126 in Ashland, Mass.

He also told me where the diner had come from as he had photos of it from its original location in East Bridgewater, Mass. where (Worcester Lunch Car No. 711 as we later learned) had operated as Brady’s Diner and closer to its final days at that location, Bob’s Diner, see Below…..

A painting by John Baeder of Bob’s Diner in East Bridgewater, Mass.
from a circa 1970’s photograph

Bob’s Diner at storage location in Ashland, Mass. circa 1981

After Dave told me about it, I took a ride over to Ashland to photograph this abandoned diner, (at least that is how it looked) on November 21, 1981. It stayed there until 1987 or so when Tim Hanna of Ken’s Steak House in Framingham bought it to restore and reuse.

He had it moved to a temporary location where it was virtually stripped on the exterior down to its wooden frame. It was pretty much rebuilt with new structural supports, where needed and got a new metal skin and standing-seam copper roof.

The interior was all refinished and cleaned up as well. Hanna then moved it to a new location close to the storage area.  It sat in front of Ken’s Kasual Restaurant on Route 9 and operated there for at least 2 years or so but by 1990 it was moved off the site. The last time I saw it was around 1995 when it was at yet another storage site on Route 9 westbound for a short time before it went missing (at least I did not know where it went).

Timmy’s Diner, circa 1988 located in front of Ken’s Kasual Restaurant

Interior of Timmy’s Diner, circa 1988

Well the saga of Brady’s/Bob’s/Timmy’s Diner looks to have a new chapter being written as we speak. I first had a clue about this yesterday morning (Aug. 21, 2009) when Glenn Wells reported on his RoadsideFans Yahoo Group about a MetroWest Daily News article that mentioned Ken Hanna is planning on grafting the diner onto Ken’s Steak House. In fact I saw that Randy Garbin of Roadside Online had the news on his website and later in the day, Dick Gutman emailed me about it as well.

I want to say that in the newspaper article, Mr. Hanna refers to this diner as a Worcester Dining Car, in fact he had that painted on it when he restored it in the 1980’s. In my opinion he would be more correct if  he actually referred to it as a Worcester Lunch Car and/or Worcester Diner. Also, Mr. Hanna is quoted as saying he restored the diner in the 1990’s when it actually happened in the late 1980’s. Be that as it may, I hope he can pull it off and get that diner back into operation again.

Here is the text of that article….

Ken’s Steak House owner looks to add diner

By Dan McDonald/Daily News staff
MetroWest Daily News
Posted Aug 21, 2009 @ 12:29 AM

Already a Framingham institution 68 years in the making, Ken’s Steak House may be getting a 1930s-era addition. Ken’s owner Tim Hanna has spent the last two years rehabbing a 1933 diner car, and he hopes to attach the vintage eatery to the Rte. 9 restaurant soon.

In the early 1990s, Hanna bought the diner from Natick attorney Jimmy Caselli for $500. Since then, he’s estimated he’s sunk $95,000 into the diner, including more than $2,000 for gold paint for the diner’s lettering. “It was caved in, pretty much totaled when he bought it,” said Terry Blair, facilities manager for Hanna, standing inside the diner yesterday .

Now sitting in the yard of Hanna’s Prospect Street home with plastic covering protecting it from the elements, the diner used to operate near where the Mass. Pike’s Park and Ride site is now, until the Pike took the land by eminent domain in 1994. After that, Hanna moved it to 541 Worcester Road, “right next to the executive apartments,” but never got the permits to open it. His latest proposal is before the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Maintaining the historic feel of the diner is a priority for Hanna. Inside, orange upholstered bar stools will line a counter when it’s completed. The barrel-style wooden paneled roof, a signature of the Worcester Dining Cars, will be fully restored. No two Worcester Dining Cars are exactly alike, said Blair. On the outside, green aircraft paint covers new sheet metal siding that is held in place with copper screws.”It’s pretty bulletproof,” said Blair.

The waitresses will be dressed in 1930s garb, and will serve classic diner fare like meatloaf with gravy, potatoes and string beans as well as hot dogs and hamburgers “of the highest quality,” said Hanna. If all goes well with the permitting process, the diner will be connected to the existing restaurant. Hanna expects to have patio and takeout windows as well.

If the diner was freestanding, Hanna would have to get a new alcohol and common victualer’s license. “We’d have to open up another restaurant,” said Hanna, who hopes his son, also named Tim, will run the place eventually. Its name – Timmy’s – is already painted on the side, as well as its production number: 711. “It’s good luck twice,” said Hanna.

Owner Tim Hanna in front of the 1933 dinercar he wants to place
next to Ken’s Steak House in Framingham.
Photo by Marshall Wolff/Daily News staff

An artist’s conception of how a 1933 diner car could be attached to
the current Ken’s Steak House in Framingham.