Recent Visit to the Wheelhouse Diner

Wheelhouse Diner, 453 Hancock Street (corner of Hayward St.) in the
Wollaston section of Quincy, Mass.

Last Saturday (the 26th of June) Denise and I took a ride down to Quincy, Mass. for breakfast at the Wheelhouse Diner. The Wheelhouse is an on-site built diner (non-factory-built) that has been in existance for decades. Doug Showstead who looks like a classic short order cook with his “whites”, (something you do not see too much of these days) has been the chef and short order grillman for 5 years.

The exterior has gotten some recent updates since I first photographed it in the 1990’s. The interior has the typical diner set-up with counter and stools and a few booths. The cooking is done right behind the counter and there is a ktichen on the back of the building. The great signage you see was done by the Modern Art Sign Company which is right next door to the diner on Hayward St. If you look closely at the bottom of the verticle street sign you will see how the sign company got to advertise their advantageous location next door to the diner, see below…..

The food and service is great at the Wheelhouse Diner, and the prices are very reasonable too! I highly recommend this as a breakfast or lunch spot if you are ever in Quincy.

As is sometimes the case, after we eat at the Wheelhouse, we drive a few blocks over to Eastern Nazarene College to walk around the small campus, (this college is Denise’s alma mater). On the way over at the center of the business district in Wollaston, I took a glance down Beal Street. I noticed that the old Wollaston Theater was still there (although not in use) and also that there was still an operating Brigham’s Ice Cream store. The company that owned Brigham’s closed recently and the only stores still open are the former franchised ones.

Brigham’s Ice Cream store on Beal Street in Quincy

The Theater is directly across the street from Brigham’s…….

Wollaston Theater, on Beal Street in Quincy, Mass

Wollaston Theater, on Beal Street in Quincy, Mass

Wollaston Theater, on Beal Street in Quincy, Mass

The entrance to the theater is in a storeblock, while the theater itself is actually behind and to the right. So I assume that when the theater was open for business, a person would  walk thru the entrance and buy their tickets, then walk to the rear and take a right to enter the auditorium. The theater looks to be intact and there is a sign on the door that anyone interested in information on the property to contact a local realty company.

5 thoughts on “Recent Visit to the Wheelhouse Diner

  1. Wollaston is where Howard Johnson began making his famous ice cream, in a drugstore soda fountain. I’ve heard this building still exists. Larry, do you know anything about it?

    Here’s an old picture of it:

    • Not sure what the address was but in the vicinity of the theater most of the store fronts have not changed much outside of a building or 2.

  2. mmmm Brigham’s is the best ice cream! Thanks for taking photos of the Wollaston, Larry- sad to see it closed, but glad to see it still there. I actually went to a couple of movies there back about 15 yrs ago (!!) and there was a free standing ticket booth in the long hallway to the main entrance. The place was run by an older couple- she worked the booth and he ran the concessions and movies. I remember a few random things about the place- the popcorn was incredibly inexpensive, like 60 cents or a dollar, they had the salt shaker for the popcorn CHAINED to the counter. The older gent had articles posted about the time that the Plasmatics played there (!!) and I remember the auditorium being huge, but whole sections of it roped off because of decay and decline. In my lottery winning dreams I always want to buy the place and renovate it – guess I’ll buy a power ball ticket today!

  3. The Howard Johnson’s candy factory building on Old Colony Ave. in Quincy, was purchased by Eastern Nazarene College back in the early 90’s I believe. It was completely refurbished at a staggering cost and is now used partly as the site for the College’s Adult Education program as well as home to a few business.

    As for the Wollaston Theater – what a sad commentary for such a large city. The fact that the theater has been vacant for so long and allowed to deteriorate is unfortunately a statement for where this city stands with what it offers its residents. It saddens me every day to see little other than hair / nail salons with a smattering of restaurants.

    I do remember the days when we had quality retails stores in Quincy Center along with two movie theaters, the one in Wollaston and the Strand in the Center of town. Ahhh, the good old days.

  4. You are correct about the entrance to the theatre. The ticket booth was right inside and you walked up a hallway and the concession stand was on the right. I have heard there is much water damaage inside. There was also a balcony in the theatre section. Spend many Saturday morning for cartoons, a serial, two features all for a quarter. Hojo’s location is down the street. There is a plaque dedicating the site on Beale Street just before you cross over Newport Ave. Hojo’s original offices were on the corner of Newport and Beale.

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