Follow-up on the Salem Diner

Well, we visited the Salem Diner on Saturday for our usual breakfast between 5:30 and 6:15 AM. It was doing a great business even at that early hour. I went back to the kitchen to speak with owner George Elefteriadis about the sale of the diner to Salem State University. He said that he thought the diner would be in good hands as far as remaining intact and preserved. He and his lovely wife Zoe are retiring after many years of serving great food to many loyal customers in quite a few different restaurants, the last five and a half years here at the Salem Diner. I have stated this before… it is my firm belief that the Elefteriadis’ brought this diner back to life when they bought it. They turned it around from the slide it had been on, business-wise for a good 6 years or more prior to their purchase of this historic Sterling Streamliner. George thanked me again for being an enthusiastic supporter of their efforts and I said that it was my pleasure as Denise and I really and truly enjoyed eating there under their ownership.

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Salem Diner, Saturday around 6:00 AM, June 29, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Salem Diner, Saturday around 6:00 AM, June 29, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Salem Diner, Saturday around 6:00 AM, June 29, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

George also told me the diner was physically closing on July 3rd (today). I was a little surprised it was happening so fast and made plans to come back within a few hours to say goodbye to Zoe. So around 9:00 AM we were back for coffee and a last goodbye to Zoe, Janie and Jose. I had hoped to get a photo of the whole crew but they were swamped and there just was not an opportunity to get the shot. I did get their last copy of my book “Classic Diners of Massachusetts” (they had sold a number of them). I also got the cardboard display they had gotten from The History Press. This will come in handy when I attend the New England Authors Expo later this month in Danvers, Mass. I will be one of two authors  attending this event occupying the table for our publisher, The History Press.

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Salem Diner around 9:00 AM, June 29, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Salem Diner around 9:00 AM, June 29, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

I am a little sad that we will not be able to have a meal here, at least for the near future. I was a little concerned about the University’s possible plans for the diner and wrote an email addressed to both Patricia Meservey, the President of the University and Karen Cady, the Senior Director for University Relations. I introduced myself and told them of my interest and almost 33 years of documenting diners as well as about my book and this blog. I also wanted to express my concerns for the future of the diner. I mentioned how this was only one of two Sterling Streamliners left operating that are still in existence and how I would hate to see anything bad happen to it. I told them that I knew the article in the Salem News stated that the University is committed to preserving the diner and that it hopefully will reopen sometime in the future and that I would like to hear from them on this subject and possibly be kept informed on any developments in the diner’s future and continued existence. I got this following response from Ms Cady…….

Mr. Cultrera,

Many thanks for reaching out to us with this very interesting information. It is good to know of your interest in Classic Diners – and yes, the Salem Diner is certainly a favorite of so many of us on the North Shore. We have learned quite a bit of history of the Salem Diner via the Massachusetts Historical Commission and hope to learn even more through resources such as the one you have referenced.

I want to reaffirm that Salem State is committed to the protection of this unique property. The Diner is such an important piece of the historical fabric of Salem, and the university has made it a priority to preserve it for future generations to enjoy. I will keep you apprised of any future updates on the property – as indicated in the Salem News article, no concrete decisions have been made…except for the commitment of preservation.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Karen Cady

So, with that I want to wish both George and Zoe Elefteriadis well in their upcoming retirement and hope to keep in touch with them. I will post any further developments on the Salem Diner and its future here whenever I know anything!

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