2009 Labor Day Weekend Diner updates

Miss Newport Diner set to become Miss Mendon Diner

Miss Newport Diner in Newport, VT
photo by Larry Cultrera, circa Aug. 8, 1983

Within the last couple of weeks I saw something on the Diner News and History blog Twitter Update page http://twitter.com/DinerNewsStaff about the Miss Newport Diner formerly of Newport, VT. This is an almost pristine 1950 vintage, bright red Worcester Lunch Car (Number 823), that had been delivered to its only operating location in Newport, May 16, 1950. It was operated by a handful of people since then into the new century. In 2003 it was purchased by Dave Pritchard of Salisbury, Mass. who moved it to his truck storage yard behind Chubby’s Diner, where it remained until about a year and a half ago.

Miss Newport stored with the Englewood Diner in Salisbury, Mass.

Pritchard sold it to Kevin Meehan, the owner of Imperial Cars, a huge multi-brand Massachusetts auto dealership located as their TV commercials state… on Route 16 in the little town of Mendon! The diner was moved there shortly after and I had not heard much about it since then.

Diner News and History blog had a link to Bill Gladwin’s Flickr page that had a current photo and also a link to his website at….. http://anystandard.net/features/missmendon.html.  The website included an architect’s rendering of the diner. Once I saw this I made plans to take a ride this past Saturday.

The auto dealership is huge and the diner is just one component. It is not located at streetside but is set back in line with the other main buildings of the complex. There is another building being constructed closer to the street that looks like it will house some other retail businesses.  I recently spoke with Kevin Meehan about the diner and I am totally impressed with not only his efforts with bringing this diner back to working condition, but also with his whole business complex!

Miss Mendon Diner, left-side front

Miss Mendon Diner, right-side front

The major changes to the diner are the addition of a standing-seam roof covering replacing the old asphalt shingles (Kevin says this is rubber, it really looks like metal) and the porcelain panels that said “Newport” have been replaced with new painted panels (they look like porcelain) that now say “Mendon”. The red main background color field on the new panels are not quite a match to the older faded panels but overall look really good.

As one of my photos show there is a great pole-mounted neon sign that says “The Imperial Miss Mendon Diner” with an arrow (very nice). Kevin says it is an old 1950’s vintage sign he got on Ebay. The same retired sign painter who painted the new panels also repainted this sign. See below……

New pole mounted neon sign w/arrow

Although the exterior of the attached building with entryway is fairly complete, it looks like it is at least 2 to 3 months away from opening as the interior of this building has yet to be completed. We will be keeping an eye on this one. Kevin Meehan says he will keep me informed as to when the diner will be open for business and of course I will post it here on Diner Hotline!

Finally new photos of Casey’s Diner

Last month when I did the “Top Massachusetts Diners” 3-part post, I included Cassey’s Diner in Natick. I realized even though I have been shooting digital cameras for about 10 years now, I did not have any digital shots of Casey’s. I ended up using one of my earliest photos from circa 1980 for the post. So when Denise and I made the little Saturday morning trip out to Mendon along Route 16, on the way back I detoured down Route 27 to Natick and took some great new shots of Casey’s before taking Route 135 back to Route 16 in Wellesley.

Casey’s Diner, left side front

Casey’s Diner, right side front

Interior of Casey’s Diner

One original window with etched design

Update on Owl Diner

Back around Thanksgiving 2008, I posted about the project I collaborated on with Richard Gutman. Dick was designing a  new larger entryway for the Four Sisters Owl Diner and needed my help with providing vector drawings for the graphics on the new exterior panels to the porcelain enamel company that was manufacturing the panels.

The porcelain panels and battens were delivered a few months ago and owner Tom Shanahan along with his contractor started installing the pieces. When the vertical battens were mounted on the diner covering the seams between panels, the stripes were off by an eighth of an inch from lining up with the panels for some reason. I was a little disappointed to say the least!

My old friend Rich Beaubien emailed me a week ago and left a link to his Flickr page on a shot he took of the Owl Diner the day before. In his shot the diner looked  a little better than the last time I was there. The exterior is about 99% complete and here are 2 photos from yesterday.



On close examination, the contractor has actually painted over the vertical battens, repositioning the yellow stripe to match the panels. Most of the stainless steel trim is installed and the interior is closer to completion as well. The way it looks now makes me feel better about the stripes not aligning!

One thought on “2009 Labor Day Weekend Diner updates

  1. Mendon is my family’s ancestral home. Sometime in the mid-1800’s or so, my particular branch of the family relocated to nearby Millville, an even smaller town just above the RI border.

    This looks like a fantastic restoration, Larry, and I too am impressed by the integration of the classic diner into the larger structure. What a great job! And the restored sign is a masterstroke – a great reuse of a classy neon sign that would otherwise be stored away somewhere or scrapped. More people should pickup on this idea!

    To me it’s great to know there’s a cool new place to eat the next time I’m up that way (Mendon has never been “restaurant-rich” by a long shot) and decide to drive by the old homestead, which I usually do.

    Now if only they would bring back Blackstone Potato Chips!

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