Sneak preview of Miss Mendon Diner

Miss Mendon Diner, exterior photo Jan. 17, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

The newly refurbished Miss Mendon Diner located on Route 16 in the midst of the sprawling Imperial Cars multi-dealership complex in Mendon, Mass. will have its Grand Opening this coming Wednesday (January 20th). The Miss Mendon Diner, a 1950 vintage, bright red Worcester Lunch Car (Car #823) had spent all of its operating life way up by the Canadian border in Newport, Vermont as the Miss Newport Diner. It closed in Vermont a number of years ago and was subsequently sold to Dave Pritchard of Salisbury, Mass. who had it transported to his storage yard where it sat for a few more years.

Antique Neon sign that was bought on Ebay. Kevin Meehan had it refurbished with a new paint-job, lettering and neon.

Pritchard sold the diner around 2 years ago to Kevin Meehan, the owner of Imperial Cars who brought it out to Mendon, a few miles west of Milford, Mass. Meehan spent a considerable amount of money to set the diner up on a new foundation with a good size kitchen/restroom building that also has room for 4 more booths with a handicap-accessable entryway.

Meehan did this place up right, he replaced the original porcelain panels that said “Newport” with newly painted panels that said “Mendon”. The paint job was so good it really fooled me, I thought it was porcelain when I visited the site in September. The interior of the diner got a sprucing-up as well with a newly installed replacement ceramic tile floor, which though different from the original small blue ceramic tile, compliments the natural woodwork that Worcester Lunch Car Company was famous for.

Miss Mendon Diner, interior photo Jan. 17, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

Miss Mendon Diner, interior photo Jan. 17, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

The addition that houses the 4 new booths also has the same tile floor but more importantly also has woodwork and booths that replicate what Worcester would have done perfectly! The whole place also features art deco light fixtures that seem to go well, even though it is not what Worcester would have used. The original stools have been stripped and re-chromed making them appear brand-new.

Miss Mendon Diner, interior photo showing dining addition with
replicated woodwork and booths, Jan. 17, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

Miss Mendon Diner, interior photo showing dining addition with
replicated woodwork and booths, Jan. 17, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

As I mentioned above, the diner will be open to the public this coming Wednesday and Doug “V.B.” Goudie of Boston’s Fox 25 Morning News will be there live with his “Diner Wednesdays” segment along with WTKK, 96.9 FM Talk’s Michael Graham. They expect to be fairly busy all day and ask that customers who show-up be patient.

To help the staff prepare for the onslaught of customers, General Manager Michael O’Donovan along with owner Kevin Meehan have held “mock-openings” for the last few days and we were lucky enough to get an invite for today! Denise & I drove out to Acton and picked up my travelling buddy, Steve Repucci and got out to Mendon. There were a handfull of invited customers on hand and I must say, a very friendly and capable staff!

I also met Bill Gladwin of Mendon. Bill and his wife were invited guests as well (I kept on looking at him and thought, boy he could be Mike Engle’s twin brother). Bill’s  website…… features a page about the Miss Mendon has some of the first photos I saw of the diner back in August which prompted me to make the trip out on Labor Day to see the progress with my own eyes.

So to get back to the Miss Mendon, as I said the staff was very attentive and friendly. The food was great! They brought out some freshly made raspberry danish as well as maple pecan danish, which was extremely light and flaky! Steve had their Smoked Salmon Hash with Poached Eggs, Toast and Homefries while Denise had a fresh, hot biscuit with butter (she eats light) and I had my usual 2 Eggs over hard with Sausage, Toast and Homefries. We were all satisfied with the quality of the food and the service. I highly recommend that anyone out in the area will not be disappointed!

Miss Mendon Diner, exterior photo Jan. 17, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

I was pleased to meet both Michael O’Donovan and Kevin Meehan this morning and I complimented them on their efforts to resurrect this beautiful diner. Kevin, in my opinion certainly chose a very capable and talented individual (in Michael) to be his General Manager! Michael’s attention to detail in helping to set the diner up, both physically and in the hiring of staff, not to mention his creation of the wonderful website at….  is a credit to Meehan’s search for the right personnel to man the operation!

The Miss Mendon Diner’s address is 16 Uxbridge Road (Rte. 16), Mendon, MA o1756. Telephone is 508-634-3000. Operating hours are Sunday thru Thursday 6 AM to 11 PM, Friday and Saturday 6 AM to 2 AM. Check out the website for all menu and other info.


Tony & Ann’s Pizza and the Rosebud Diner

The new location for Tony & Ann’s Pizza, Dracut, Mass.

I was checking Facebook yesterday morning and saw that Tony & Ann’s Pizza was reopening at 11:00 AM after a 7 year hiatus. I posted about this place last month, see it here… . Denise and I were going out for an errand shortly after I saw the F.B. post, so we stopped for a mid-morning hot chocolate at Honey Dew Donuts on the way to do the errand in Wakefield.

With the errand done I said lets take a ride up to Dracut to see if we could try a Tony & Ann’s Pizza. Well we made it up there by 11:30 or so and the place was mobbed. In fact they could have used some traffic control from the Dracut Police Dept. I spoke with a lady who had come out of the store carrying 2 pizzas and she said it took 30 minutes just to order and another 45 to get them! We stepped inside for a second and it was just a crush of people. Denise said she wasn’t waiting and I concurred.

I had a hunch it might be crazy and I was right. So maybe another visit will be in order within the next 2 or 3 weeks when the craziness dies down. I spoke with Bob Philpot, a Tony & Ann’s devotee on Facebook yesterday afternoon and he got his pizza after a 2 hour wait. I asked him if it was worth it and he gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Charlie Terenzio, another facebook friend read my comment and answered he would wait at least a week before partaking of his favorite pizza!

Pizza at the Rosebud Diner’s Bar & Grill instead

Later in the afternoon I decided I still needed a “pizza fix” and asked Denise if she wanted to go over to the Rosebud Diner in Somerville. We have been meaning to try out the pizza they serve in the Bar & Grill behind the diner. So we went and sat with owners Bill & Helen and ordered a cheese pizza. We were delighted with what turned out to be a very tasty thin crust “bar pie”!
We were both hooked, and believe me Denise is kind of particular when it comes to pizza, she really liked it!

If you go down the walkway next to the side door of the diner,
it leads to the entrance to the Bar & Grill.

I highly recommend that if you are ever in Davis Square Somerville and visiting the Rosebud Diner, check out the Bar & Grill (which you can enter from the diner or thru the entrance to the right behind the diner). They open the Bar & Grill at 4:00 PM, Monday thru Friday and at 5:00 PM on the weekends. There are other items available on the menu that are not available in the diner and they have a full bar with some great draft and bottled beer on hand to go with the food.

Miss Mendon Diner announces upcoming Grand Opening!

Photo courtesy of Michael O’Donovan and the Miss Mendon Diner

Back on this past Labor Day weekend, I posted about driving out to see the progress of the Miss Mendon Diner, located on Route 16 in Mendon, Massachusetts. See here for that post… In that post I mentioned about the history of this diner which was formerly the Miss Newport Diner of Newport, VT, (the diner’s only operating location since it was brand-new in 1950).

It had been reportedly sold to Kevin Meehan, the owner of Imperial Cars, a multi-brand auto dealership in Mendon within the last 2 years after spending a number of years in storage at a location in Salisbury, Mass. After visiting and shooting some great photos of it, I ended up talking with Kevin on the phone shortly after and he told me he hoped to open the diner by November. Well, as we have seen in the past good things take time.

About a month and a half later I got a call from Michael O’Donovan who had just been hired by Kevin Meehan to be the general manager of the Miss Mendon. We have been in contact  since and I have been kept informed of the progress. In fact there are some photos of mine on their website… , check them out under photos/history. Michael also has started a Facebook fan page for the diner and been trying to keep people informed that way with their effort to open the diner.

It was finally announced within the last 24 hours that the diner will have its Grand Opening on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:00 AM!

Photo courtesy of Michael O’Donovan and the Miss Mendon Diner

Follow-up to Greensboro, NC Paramount diner post

Last month I posted about a rare (for the area) Paramount diner still existing down in Greensboro, NC.  See…..   Originally operated as the Southern Queen Hot Shoppe when it was brand-new in the late 1940’s,  it now is part of the LaBamba Mexican Restaurant. Debra Jane Seltzer had clued me into its existence by sending me 2 photos from Robby Delius. These photos were only exterior views which showed the outside of the diner was fairly intact.

December, 2009 exterior photo by Mike Engle

I commented that if anyone was ever in the area, I hoped that they could check out the interior and get back to me on its level of originality that might be left. Shortly thereafter, Mike Engle contacted me to let me know he was going south toward Florida and was going to detour over to Greensboro on the way to check it out!

Well sure enough, he did make it down to Greensboro and did take some shots of the place. I personally would have gone for more detail showing more of the interior but I understand that there were patrons on the left hand end of the diner that Mike did not want to intrude upon by taking photos of them.

Interior photo showing the original Paramount clock on the hood now flanked with flat-screen tv’s, December, 2009 photo by Mike Engle

Interior view showing right front corner of the diner.
December 2009 photo by Mike Engle. 

According to Mike’s photos, the tile floor is  not original and the tile that would have been under the rounded banquettes and under the windows has been changed to wooden panneling. The counter has been moved more towards the center away from the backbar. Other than that it still looks good!

December 2009 exterior photo by Mike Engle.

I recently read that the State of North Carolina has banned smoking in restaurants and bars which I found interesting because this diner was being used for a bar and smoking section of LaBamba’s Restaurant. So now if you go, the air inside the diner will be smoke-free!

Thanks to Mike Engle for checking the place out for us, we really appreciate it!

Winchester, VA’s Triangle Diner named State Landmark

early postcard view of the Triangle Diner from my collection

The currently closed Triangle Diner of Winchester, VA, a 1948 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner has been named to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Landmark List according to the following Associated Press article with Information from: The Winchester Star,…….

Historic Winchester diner on Va. landmarks list

WINCHESTER, Va. – The 61-year-old Triangle Diner in Winchester has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register. The diner also has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s one of 10 prefabricated stainless-steel diners in Virginia and has stood in Winchester since 1948.

The Triangle Diner is owned by Dulles-based Medallion 7 Financial. Managing director Michael Lessin says the diner is one of the few remaining examples of that type of architecture. The diner is closed but Lessin says the company plans to restore it and reopen it in the spring or summer. Lessin says the company plans to invest about $1 million in the restoration.

slightly later postcard view of the Triangle Diner from my collection

I first knew about the Triangle Diner with one of the earliest inclusions to my diner postcard collection, the one pictured above (full color real photo card). Later, October 10, 1986 to be exact, Steve Repucci and myself were following U.S. Rte. 11 from Harrisburg, PA to Knoxville, TN and we stopped to have lunch at the Triangle Diner. It is said that legendary Country-Western singer Patsy Cline worked here before rising to stardom. Below are my 3 photos shot that day in 1986.

Triangle Diner photo copyright 1986 by Larry Cultrera

Triangle Diner photo copyright 1986 by Larry Cultrera

Triangle Diner photo copyright 1986 by Larry Cultrera

Here’s hoping the 1million dollar restoration the article mentions includes removing that roof that connects the diner to the rear kitchen addition so the diner will be more visible! If the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places goes through, it will join 3 other diners from Virginia already there, namely the 29 Diner of Fairfax, Bill’s Diner of Chatham and Burnett’s Diner of Chatham.

Legendary Tony & Ann’s Pizza to reopen after 7 year hiatus

Back in the winter of 2002, I was driving back to Saugus after having  breakfast at a diner in New Hampshire (I do not recall which diner). I was travelling south on Rte. 3A in North Chelmsford (just north of Vinal Square) and decided to finally stop and photograph Tony & Ann’s Drive-in Pizza stand. I had been driving by this place for years and had always thought about documenting it with some photos but never acting upon it.

Tony & Ann’s Pizza sign, 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

Tony & Ann’s Pizza was not a remarkable building by any means but just one of those mom & pop type places that seemed to have been around for ever. When I shot it on that overcast wintery morning I had no idea that the business would close by the end of that year. Now these photos I shot were not the best but considering the lighting, they were not bad.

Tony & Ann’s Pizza, 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

Here is the history of Tony & Ann’s from their website (   ………………………………….

1953 – Tony & Ann Privitera open The Princeton Creamery on Princeton Boulevard in Chelmsford, MA.  It was an Ice Cream stand that was originally part of The Princeton Lounge.  Soon after, Tony (a baker by trade), creates a recipe for a unique style of pizza.  Their customers sample it and as a result Tony and Ann’s Pizza is born.

1958 – Tony and Ann’s Pizza moves to it’s new home on Tyngsboro Road as a pizza-drive-in.

In the early 60’s Tony and Ann enclose an area to provide shelter to their customers during inclement weather thus creating the signature red & white facade that will be featured on a national televison series later on.

In the mid 70’s Tony and Ann’s places picnic tables around perimeter so their customers could enjoy pizza outside of their cars on pleasant sunny days.

In the early 80’s Tony and Ann’s move the picnic tables to the front of the pizzeria creating an open air dining room.

1998 – Tony and Ann’s is featured in 2 episodes of the popular animated televison show The Simpsons.

1999 – After 46 years of cooking his unique style of pizza and greeting generations of customers every weekend, co-founder Tony Privitera passes away in June. 

2002 – December 7, after nearly 50 years, Ann and her family retire from making pizza.

Tony & Ann’s Pizza, 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

Within the last couple of years I posted 1 of my photos on Flickr and received a couple of comments, one from old friend Rich Beaubien, who said he missed Tony & Ann’s and another from Bob Philpot. Bob is a long-time fan of Tony & Ann’s Pizza and has a webpage dedicated as an homage to the establishment. His page is at and features relevent links and info including a video that shows Tony & Ann’s on “The Simpsons”!
Bob asked if he could use my photo on his webpage and I told him he could. I also sent him the other 2 photos I shot as well.

Through Bob I learned how much people loved and really missed this place after it closed. It made me want to try the pizza and unfortunately, I could not. 

Well the story took a new turn 2 weeks ago when I noticed Charlie Terenzio, a friend on Facebook posted something about Tony & Ann’s reopening in a new location. I asked him about it and he sent a link and some other info. He also informed me that Tony & Ann’s was THE BEST PIZZA he had ever had.

I took a ride to shoot some photos of the new Tony & Ann’s Pizza which will be run by grandchildren of Tony & Ann and it is expected that the recipe for the pizza will remain the same.

The new Tony & Ann’s Pizza, 2009 photo by Larry Cultrera

The new Tony & Ann’s Pizza, 2009 photo by Larry Cultrera

I peeked inside and it looks like they have a little work ahead of them before the place is open but it is well on its way! I cannot wait to finally try a Tony & Ann’s Pizza! The new location is at 11 Broadway Road (Rte. 113) in Dracut, Mass.

A rare Paramount Diner in North Carolina

I received an email from Debra Jane Seltzer of Agilitynut Roadside website last week. She was inquiring whether I knew anything about a diner in Greensboro, NC. She sent a couple of photos that were shot by Robby Delius that showed a late 1940’s Paramount Diner. I replied to her that I recalled a post card of a similar diner (so I checked my collection and actually found one). It was the Southern Queen Hot Shoppe.

Postcard view of the Southern Queen Hot Shoppe

Hot Shoppe Restaurants were started in 1927 by J. Willard Marriott, the company later became the Marriott Corporation. I am not sure if this was part of the chain, if it was, it certainly was out of the ordinary.

The diner currently is in a different location from the postcard image and according to a manager that I spoke with briefly, it is in fact the smoking section of La Bamba Mexican Restaurant at 2702 High Point Road in Greensboro. It is attached to the rear of the main building of the restaurant so if you were approaching the establishment you would not see the diner.

Photo by Robby Delius, courtesy of Debra Jane Seltzer

Photo by Robby Delius, courtesy of Debra Jane Seltzer

I was actually amazed this diner still existed and Debra also commented that no one had this listed. I am not sure how much of the interior is still original and would love it if someone checked this out and got back to me.