Diner Hotline is back from hiatus….

I’ll bet a lot of my regular readers who are not connected to me on Facebook have been wondering where I have been. The last post was at the beginning of May and I have been inactive ever since! In fact it is probably the longest period between posts since I started the blog on October 31, 2007! Well some of you know I had contracted with The History Press to author another Diner book…. this new one is called New Hampshire Diners: Classic Granite State Eateries. It is sort of a follow-up to my Classic Diners of Massachusetts that was published almost 3 years ago – October of 2011. I actually worked it out with the publisher to have a longer lead-time with this book but outside of taking a bunch of new photos in late summer and early fall of New Hampshire diners, I basically dragged my feet in the writing department through a portion of the winter. So with the deadline looming I pushed thru the remaining time that I had, between not only working my regular job and trying to write the manuscript, I also was dealing with a health issue that had been coming on.

Back at the end of January I learned that I had Type 2 Diabetes and had to make some lifestyle changes. With the help of my wife Denise, I changed my diet by cutting back on almost all carbohydrates and pretty much all sweets as well as started walking the treadmill at a local gym. So I had to work the gym time into the schedule with the regular work and book writing, which of course increased the anxiety of getting everything done! I am happy to say that all the hard work paid off. I lost around 40 pounds since January and am no longer considered in the diabetes range. I am classified as glucose intolerant which means I will pretty much have to always watch the carbs and sweets intake and am allowed the occasional cheat. I am currently (according to my new scale) just over 170 pounds which is pretty amazing as I probably have not been this weight in 30 years or more!

Larry,-11-3-2013
November of 2013 weighing in at around 214 pounds or so.

LAC-&-RJSG_4-13-2014
April 13, 2014 with Dick Gutman after my slide presentation at the
Morse Institute Library in Natick, Mass. In this photo I am under 180 pounds and
I am actually even lighter at the time of this post!

Anyway, I also met the deadlines for the book,as the photos were submitted a week before the July 1st deadline and the manuscript 2 days before the July 22nd deadline! I approached this book differently than the first as the diner scene in New Hampshire is not as straightforward (in my mind) as Massachusetts was. In Massachusetts I was able to separate the chapters into the different regions of the state which made writing that book fairly easy. New Hampshire’s diners can be classified as either spread out or concentrated into small groups, making the regional chapters unworkable. I instead decided to break the book in chapters that touched on the strengths of this particular demographic that the state seems to dictate. Starting out with “Lunch Wagons, I of course show some old postcards from the collection that depict lunch wagons in street scenes and then went on to feature Gilley’s P.M Lunch, the last surviving truck-pulled Worcester Lunch Car (now permanently anchored and no longer movable) in downtown Portsmouth. The other place I featured in this chapter was the Lion’s Corner Popcorn Wagon of Goffstown. I consider this a second cousin to a lunch wagon and that is why I included it here.

Image-001_Woodsville_1914
A postcard image showing a lunch wagon in Woodsville, NH circa 1914

Image-004Gilley's-Lunch-1
Gilley’s P.M. Lunch in Portsmouth, NH. April 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-007_Lions-Popcorn-Wagon-5a
Lion’s Corner Popcorn Wagon in Goffstown, NH. May 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chapter 2 is the longest chapter that talks about “Long-time Favorites”, basically diners that have spent their entire life (or in some cases, most of their life) operating in the Granite State!

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One of the Long-time Favorites is the Bristol Diner of Bristol, NH.
May 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-029_Red-Arrow-Diner-1_5-18-2014
Another Long-time Favorite is the Milford Red Arrow Diner.
May 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

The 3rd Chapter is about “Transplanted Diners”. New Hampshire is unique in the New England region because even though a lot of diners have disappeared or moved out of state in the last 50 years, at least 8 or 9 diners have actually been moved into New Hampshire in the last 35 years after having operated in other states previously!

Image-039_Tilt'n-Diner_Linda's-Jackpot
The Tilt’n Diner when it was in Salisbury, Mass. as Linda’s Jackpot Diner.
Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-040_Tilt'n-Diner-3a
The Tilt’n Diner of Tilton, NH today. August 3, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-045_Route-104-Diner_Lloyd's
The Route 104 Diner at its original location on Route 6 in Johnston, RI operating
as Lloyd’s Diner. October 29, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-046_Route-104-Diner-2a
The Route 104 Diner of New Hampton, NH today. August 3, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chapter 4 has the “Onsite/Homemade Diners” of which there are more than quite a few in the Granite State.

Image-055_George's-Diner-1a
George’s Diner of Meredith, NH. August 3, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-060_Joey's-Diner-2
Joey’s Diner of Amherst, NH. May 18, 2014 photo by Larry Cultrera

Chapter 5 is called “Former New Hampshire Diners Living Another Life Elsewhere” and deals with diners that have moved out of New Hampshire, either to a new operating location, or at the very least into storage for possible reuse.

Image-067_Tony's-Diner-NH-4
Tony’s Diner of Rye, NH. Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-071_Louis'-Diner
Louis’ Diner of Concord, NH. Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera

 

The last Chapter (6) brings attention to some “Lost Diners”, including ones I have managed to photograph since the early 1980s as well as old postcard images of others that do not exist anymore!

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The Lancaster Diner of Lancaster, NH. January 4, 1986 photo by Larry Cultrera

Image-078_Andre's-Diner-1
Andre’s Diner of Manchester, NH. August 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

 

A bonus that I had not planned to include was a piece on “Spider Osgood”, probably the most incredible short order cook ever to work a back bar! The idea cropped up while doing research and ended up being something that needed to be included in any book about New Hampshire Diners. Ken “Spider” Osgood was a well know character in and around the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and there are many people who have related stories about this guy over the years. I started hearing about him back around the mid-1980s and in 1989, while being interviewed by a producer for a segment on Diners for the CBS Sunday Morning show, the cameraman related a story to me about recalling this guy everyone called Spider working the grill of a diner he frequented back in his college days. So I googled his name and found this video made from a movie shot by Gary Anderson of New Hampshire Movies Inc. back in 1971. This shows Spider at his best late one night….  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR1Z99XgQew

Image-085_Spider_Paugus-7
Spider Osgood at the Paugus Diner. 1991 photo by George Surabian

 

I recently got the first draft of what the cover will look like back from the publisher and besides an edit on the back of the cover this is pretty much the way it will look….

401.4-NH-Diners-cvr

I like the mix of new an old photos on this cover as in fact this book does feature a lot of before and after shots. More than the last book! I am also glad they took my suggestion of including Mary Ann’s Diner on the cover and that it is the largest image outside of the title block! For many years I have been looking to take the definitive photo of this on-site diner and was never successful. Part of the problem (OK, most of the problem) was the fact that I was always there in the morning and it was never the best light for a photo. Finally at the end of a day shooting diners for the book back in April, I was on my way back from the Lakes Region and decided to swing by on the way home. This was around 3:00 or 3:30 pm after the place closed for the day. It was the perfect light! When I downloaded it from the camera I saw this shot and said YES! This should be on the cover of the book!

The book should be published by October. I’ll keep you posted

4 thoughts on “Diner Hotline is back from hiatus….

  1. I find Andre’s Diner very interesting Larry. I was told by the former owners of the Junction Diner here in Beverly that their diner went to Manchester, NH about 1954. This also happens to be the first year that anything shows up in the directories at 225 Lincoln St., Manchester. (Loretta’s Diner). hard to say for sure unless someone there in Manchester has anything to add but it has the right number of windows. The directory access on ancestry.com is a wonderful thing!

  2. Well, I have since talked to the daughter of the man who first ran “Andre’s” aka Loretta’s and she confirmed that the diner was put there when she was in high school about 1953-1955, interesting that her father worked at the Red Arrow before this venture. do you know when this diner was demolished? I am also in line to get a scan of her father in front of the diner in the 1950s. I love this sxxt

  3. Great to hear that you’re feeling better and man, you look almost as thin as Dick! Glad you’re back in the saddle and we’ll look forward to the book release!

    -Ron

  4. Oh, and that clip of Spider is priceless! I would like to play it for every clueless “barista” in the world and say, “SEE, this guy can keep 20 orders straight at the same time, so do you think you can get my coffee and bagel order straight?” 🙂 -Ron

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