Notes from the Hotline, November 30, 2011

Updates on Author Events for Classic Diners of Massachusetts

Left to right, Rick Cultrera, Phil Paleologos, Larry Cultrera & Mimi Powell
at Baker Books in North Dartmouth. Photo by Denise Cultrera

The Author Event held this past Saturday at Baker Books went really well. Before we got to the Event, we visited with our good friend Phil Paleologos of the Shawmut Diner. Denise and I split a famous Shawmut Diner “Cheese Roll” which I had been anxious to try since I mentioned it among the menu items in the book. It was everything I thought it would be, I am addicted to it! Actually it tasted like a grilled cheese sandwich which could never be bad! Phil had a couple of copies of the book on hand and he announced to the whole diner (which was packed with customers) that a “famous author” was there, and held up the books! Those 2 copies were immediately bought up and I autographed them on the spot.

Well after having our mid-morning snack, we drove over to the nearby Baker Books store on U.S. Route 6 in North Dartmouth where I gave an impromptu talk and signed some books. We saw old friend Bethany Smith and met some new ones as well. Special thanks to Mimi Powell, the store manager who was very gracious. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend checking this great independent book store out!

Next Author Event to be held at Booklovers’ Gourmet

The next Event will be this coming Saturday, December 2, 2011 at 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Located at Booklovers’ Gourmet, 55 East Main Street (Route 12) in Webster, Mass. Here is a link to the stores event page…

Hopefully some of my Central Massachusetts readers can make it over to Webster!

List of places selling Classic Diners of Massachusetts

I have a preliminary list of places selling the book….

Baker Books – North Dartmouth, MA

Blanchard’s 101 Diner – Worcester, MA

Boulevard Diner – Worcester, MA

Charlie’s Diner – Spencer, MA

Deluxe Town Diner – Watertown, MA

Deluxe Station Diner – Newton Center,  MA

Don’s Diner – Plainville, MA

Front Street Book Shop – Scituate Harbor, MA

Johnson & Wales University Culinary Arts Museum – Providence, RI

Lynn Museum – Lynn, MA

Miss Adams Diner – Adams, MA

Owl Diner – Lowell, MA

Porter Square Books – Cambridge, MA

River’s Edge Card and Gift – Ipswich, MA

Salem Diner – Salem, MA

Shawmut Diner – New Bedford, MA

Tatnuck Bookseller – Westborough, MA

Tex Barry’s Coney Island Diner – Attleboro, MA

Toad Hall Bookstore – Rockport, MA

Zak’s – Manchester By The Sea,  MA

Of course the book is available through all Barnes & Noble stores as well as,

New blog by my friend Michael G. Stewart

I am happy to announce there is a new blog called Neon Dreamscapes, A Photographic Diary of Michael G. Stewart. Subtitled “Opening The Door To Visual Experience”. It features a varied and interesting subject matter from Michael’s own musings to some of the projects he is currently working on. I higly recommend it!  Here is the link, I will also put it into my blog roll !

The day after Thanksgiving, 29 years ago!

Back in the early 1980’s, right after I started documenting diners,  I was maritally unentangled (to quote the late Donald Dale Jackson), I never wanted to hang around on Thanksgiving for the big family meal. But to accommodate my late mother, I would stay at home and visit with family. But you can be sure the very next morning, I was out early embarking on a road trip, sometimes just a day trip and other times down to Harrisburg, PA or some other overnight excursion. November 26, 1982 was one of those day trips. I don’t recall the actual route, but I made it up to Brattleboro, VT, possibly by late morning. Driving north on Route 5 coming into Brattleboro, I came upon Ed’s Diner. It was a small, barrel roofed Worcester Lunch Car from the 1920’s.

Ed’s Diner, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Ed’s Diner, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Ed’s Diner, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After shooting the photos of Ed’s, I continued driving through Brattleboro, missing 3 other diners but somehow coming across the old Royal Diner sitting well off the road. It was being used as part of something called the Royal Yard Restaurant. I cannot recall how I even knew it was there, either someone told me about it (possibly Dave Hebb) or there was a sign pointing me to its location. This diners original location had been closer to downtown and was moved out a few years before. As I remember hearing, the diner was sitting on blocks near the intersection of Route 5 and Route 9 (where Rte. 9 goes east into New Hampshire and may have sustained some vandalism before the “Royal Yard” people took it over and relocated it to their property.

Royal Diner, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Royal Diner, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Royal Diner, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Royal Diner, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Royal Diner, Worcester Lunch car No. 736 (1939 vintage) was altered after being installed here. It originally had the 2 side entrances and only windows across the front facade. For some reason the owner decided to remove 2 windows and install the “double” front door. Also, as the interior view shows, he made a sort of skylight or sunroof to allow light to come in to the interior. It remained here for a few years but was among the missing by August of 1988. It turned up shortly thereafter on Route 9 in West Brattleboro and has been operated as the Chelsea Royal Diner since.

Just before leaving Brattleboro, I was near the intersection of Route 9 and Route 5 and glanced over at a Tire Warehouse Store. My eye was drawn to the window and door configuration of the office for the establishment and recognized another Worcester Diner covered by a mansard roof and sporting newer windows. I took 2 photos and actually went inside. I asked whoever was working there about the diner and was told it had originally been in Keene, NH. I have since figured out it had to be the Buster Brown Diner, Worcester Lunch Car No. 770.

Tire Warehouse, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

Tire Warehouse, Brattleboro, VT – November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

As you can see by the photos, it was a cloudy, almost dreary day 29 years ago. After photographing the Tire Warehouse, I decided to head over to Bennington and have lunch at the Blue Benn Diner. About halfway across Route 9, I encountered a very bad snowstorm. The driving got treacherous and I was a little worried after witnessing a couple of accidents. But I persevered and made it over to the Blue Benn.

Blue Benn Diner, Bennington, VT – November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

Blue Benn Diner, Bennington, VT – November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

Blue Benn Diner, Bennington, VT – November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

Blue Benn Diner, Bennington, VT – November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

I believe the last couple of shots of the Blue Benn were shot with a different roll of film as I recall running out and going into the downtown area and finding a camera shop to buy more film. It was time to start heading home and I felt taking Route 9 back was not an option so I headed south on Route 7 into Massachusetts. I knew that there was supposed to be a diner in Adams, Mass. and figured while I was out there I would check it out. I rolled into town and it was still snowing when I saw the Pier 53 Restaurant, formerly the Miss Adams Diner, Worcester Lunch Car No. 821. It was altered by stonework covering the exterior but was pretty much intact.

Pier 53 Restaurant, Adams, MA- November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

Pier 53 Restaurant, Adams, MA- November 26, 1982 photo
by Larry Cultrera

I figured that by heading south instead of east, I might be able to get around driving through mountainous roads in this snowy weather. I decided not to try going over Route 2 east of North Adams as I thought my 1979 Chevy van (without snow tires) was not up to going over that type of hilly terrain. I continued on Route 8 through Adams and was able to find a route that had one major incline. I managed to make it over that obstacle (barely, as 2 cars behind me wiped out on the hill in the snow). A few miles later, the snow turned to rain and I found my way into Greenfield. I stopped for gas and the service station attendant (remember those guys?) asked me where all the snow on my van came from ? I told him, just down the road buddy! Ah, the good old days!

SRO in Somerville, next up… North Dartmouth!

The Author Event at the Somerville Public Library was a success! It became a standing room only crowd! There were more than quite a few books sold.

Some of my family showed up in Somerville, left to right, my brother Don and his wife  Jane, my brother Steve, me and my brother Rick.
photo by Denise Cultrera

This was billed as the first “Meet, Mingle and Read” event at the Library and Library Director Maria Carpenter was very gracious and pleasant to work with. My new slide presentation was well received and there were quite a few members of the audience that participated in the question and answer part after the presentation. The library had some catered “diner-like” food for people to partake of (it was from the local “Sound Bites” restaurant, none of the 3 diners in Somerville could accomodate the request for food).

Some members of my family showed up for this including my brothers Steve, Rick and Don and Don’s wife Jane, as well as Denise’s cousin Maryann Bancroft and her husband Rick. Another old friend, Vinny Bordonaro stopped by as well as a former co-worker of mine Ed Lecaroz and his friend Beth. Old friend and owner of the Rosebud Diner, Bill Nichols was there along with David Hebb, one of my long-time diner roadtrip buddies as well as newer friends Glenn Wells and Mike Engle. Glenn and Mike get the long distance award for driving all the way from the Albany, NY area to attend! Many thanks to my wife Denise for all her help including the photos she shot. I think she is getting pretty good with the Nikon Cool Pix camera.

left to right, David Hebb, Mike Engle, Glenn Wells and myself.
photo by Denise Cultrera

This coming Saturday at 11:00 am, it is on to Baker Books in North Dartmouth, Mass. as well as a radio interview with New Bedford’s Shawmut Diner owner and local radio personality Phil Paleologos at 10:15 am on Tuesday, November 22 (WBSM-AM). Here is a link to the event page at Baker Books….

Author Event at Somerville Public Library, Saturday 10 am

Postard from my collection of the Somerville Public Library

I am looking forward to my second “Author Event” this coming Saturday November 19th to be held at the central branch of the Somerville Public Library located at 79 Highland Avenue in Somerville, Mass. This will be the first talk of the new “Meet, Mingle and Read” a Director’s Feature at the library and is held in conjunction with The Harvard COOP Bookstore, who will be providing copies of the book for purchase. Not only will I be signing copies of Classic Diners of Massachusetts but I will also have a short slide presentation.

On another note, the first “Author Event” at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough was really great! We sold quite a few books and saw some old and new friends in the bargain! Rich Beaubien, Denise J.R. Bass and Paula Walsh (all mentioned in my acknowledgements in the book) came by as well as Mike O’Connor (owner of Worcester Lunch Car No. 705) and John Harmon, former owner/operator of Lulu’s Diner in Malden.

Also, Phil Robbins, who lives in the Westborough area attended. Phil has been to 2 of my recent slide presentations and it was no surprise to see him at this event. I want to thank Rick Gemme for coming by. Rick is the great nephew of the late Charles Gemme, the vice president and superintendent of the Worcester Lunch Car Company. Charlie had a hand in the design of virtually every diner that came out of that factory.

I would like to thank the management at Tatnuck Bookseller, they have a really nice store and it made for a pleasant experience. Alex (not sure if he was the assistant manager) was very helpful and I would highly recommend a visit to this store if you are ever in the area. They have a huge selection of gifts, books and a nice cafe.

At Tatnuck Bookseller Gift Gallery and Cafe, pictured left to right
(front) Rick Gemme and Denise Bass (back) Phil Robbins, Mike O’Connor, Paula Walsh and Larry Cultrera, Photo by Denise Cultrera

Upcoming Author Events and Book Updates

Classic Diners of Massachusetts is now in the bookstores!

Here is the first sighting of my book at the local Barnes & Noble in
Saugus, Mass. this past Saturday, the 5th of November.
photo by Denise Cultrera

So now it is starting to be offered at the local bookstores and also quite a few diners! I am expecting an updated list from Dani McGrath, the sales representative from The History Press of all the diners selling the book, but here are the name of diners I know are selling them………
The Miss Adams Diner in Adams,  Don’s Diner in Plainville, Tex Barry’s Coney Island Diner in Attleboro, and the Four Sisters Owl Diner in Lowell along with The Salem Diner in Salem, Boulevard Diner in Worcester and Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown as well as the Deluxe Station Diner in Newton. I believe the Culinary Arts Museum (Johnson & Wales University) in Providence is selling the book as well.

Here are some flyers for the upcoming Author Events…..

The first as I mentioned in the previous post is at Tatnuck Bookseller Gift Gallery & Cafe this coming Saturday. The store is located at the corner of Route 9 and Lyman Street in Westborough, Mass.

The next will be the following Saturday November 19th at the
Somerville Public Library. This will be held at their Main Branch
located at 79 Highland Avenue in Somerville, Mass. This will not only be
for a book signing but I will also do a short slide presentation.

The next one is Saturday, November 26th at Baker Books in North Dartmouth, Mass. I understand there will be Gift Certificates to the Shawmut Diner of New Bedford available to people who buy the book at the store. I will also be interviewed the Tuesday, Nov. 22nd on Phil Paleologos’s radio program on WBSM-AM at 10:15 AM in conjunction with this event. For those who do not know, Phil and his wife Celeste are the owners of the Shawmut Diner!

The next event will be at Booklovers’ Gourmet on December 3, 2011. This store is located at 55 East Main Street in Webster, Mass.