Dedication of Plaque for owners of Carroll’s Diner

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As many people who follow this blog know, I have been documenting diners going on 33 years (next month) and have photographed over 830 of them in that time. I think back of all the diners and people I have met thru this personal research project over the years, but I always go back to my early experiences. The ones I can trace all the way back to growing up in Medford, Massachusetts in the 1950’s thru the 1970’s. I had  3 diners that I would get the chance to frequent during that time period, Bobbie’s Diner and the Star Lite Diner both on Mystic Avenue and Carroll’s Colonial Dining Car on Main Street. I have to say the diner I spent the most amount of time in was Carroll’s Diner, partially because it outlasted all the others, but there were many other reasons as well.

Carroll’s was THE meeting place for all of Medford and beyond! It was open 24/7 and was the place to go to “see and be seen”. There was many a late night/early morning spent waiting in line to get in the diner after last call at the local bars and clubs. Also for a time, it seems I was there daily hangin’ with my friends, usually multiple times in a day. I recall cruising into the front parking lot to see if any of my friends cars were parked, continuing into the back parking lot to check there as well. Now granted, the presence of someone’s car did not always mean they were actually there, so of course we had to go in to see if they in fact were! Ah, memories…. I have many for sure….. the stories I could tell!

There were actually 3 incarnations of Carroll’s, a 1928 Brill Diner that operated from 1930 to 1948. That first diner actually remained on-site, becoming the kitchen for the 2nd Carroll’s Diner…. a 1948 stainless steel Jerry O’Mahony Diner. The O’Mahony operated until 1961 when it was replaced by an “L” shaped Swingle Diner that was placed on the adjoining property. The Carroll brothers, Maury and Jack actually were on the cutting edge when they bought that Swingle Diner. It was undoubtedly the most modern diner not only in the greater Boston area, but in fact all of northern New England for the next few years. This third and last incarnation of Carroll’s operated until December of 1986.

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Carroll’s Diner, August 1983 photo by Larry Cultrera

One of the more memorable stories I can relate was the time in March, 1986 when I was interviewed by the late Donald Dale Jackson, a talented frequent contributor to Smithsonian Magazine. We sat in a booth at Carroll’s and talked about diners and my involvement with them. I have to say that this particular piece he wrote single handedly  increased my standing as one of the most visible Diner Buffs in the country. Ironically, I was not the only Medford guy included in that article. John F. Carroll Jr. (Jack Carroll’s son) was also interviewed for this piece!

I am honored to say that in the early to mid 1990’s John and I became friends and remained in contact with each other until his untimely passing due to cancer in January of 1996. Through him I renewed my past acquaintanceship with his cousins Maury, Tom and Paul, as well as his dad Jack and Uncle Maury. I took it upon myself to write a history of the Carroll family’s involvement in the diner business within the last year and a half for this blog in honor of the opening of Carroll’s Bar & Grill in Medford Square (the restaurant opened in May, 2012). You can read this history here…… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/carrolls-bar-grille-looking-at-spring-opening-in-medford-mass/.

On September 27th, I received an email from the City of Medford with an invitation to attend a dedication ceremony to be held on Saturday, October 5th. This ceremony was being held at 101 Main Street in Medford (the former site of Carroll’s Diner) where a newly refurbished island in the median strip separating the north and southbound lanes of Main Street (Route 38) was to be dedicated with a plaque honoring Maurice W. Carroll Sr., Maurice W. “Maury” Carroll Jr. and John F. “Jack” Carroll, the owners of Carroll’s Diner.

Well Denise and I did attend the ceremony along with my brother Rick. There was a decent crowd of people there along with Mayor Michael McGlynn, and members of the City Council and School Committee as well as State Representative Paul Donato. Many members of the Carroll family were in attendance including Mrs. Dolores Carroll, the late Maury Jr’s wife, Maury Carroll III and his wife Carla as well as their 3 children Lesley, Jill and Maury IV. Maury III’s brothers Tom and Paul, Paul’s wife Debbie with their children Courtney Albano, David Carroll and Michael Carroll as well as their sister, Diane DeBenedictis with her husband Frank and daughters Christina Walker & Deanna DeBenedictis.  Marianne Galeazzi, daughter of the late Jack Carroll was also there with her husband Rick. I apologize if I left anyone out.

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It was nice to see the restaurant’s logo which has existed since the 1950’s and resurrected for the new Carroll’s Bar & Grill located a block down the street on the new plaque. October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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At the dedication of the plaque, standing on the wall from left to right,Paul Carroll, Tom Carroll and Maury Carroll III. On the street from left to right is Mrs. Dolores Carroll (partially hidden), Diane DeBenedictis, Marrianne Galeazzi and Mayor Michael McGlynn. October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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At the dedication of the plaque, standing on the wall from left to right,Paul Carroll, Tom Carroll and Maury Carroll III. On the street from left to right is Mrs. Dolores Carroll (partially hidden), Diane DeBenedictis, Marrianne Galeazzi and Mayor Michael McGlynn. October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Maury Carroll addressing the crowd after the unveiling of the plaque.
October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Singing  God Bless America (lead by the talented Deanna DeBenedictis) with other members of the Carroll family, accompanied by the Medford High Alumni band.
October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Following the ceremony, the crowd was invited back to Carroll’s Bar & Grill for some food and refreshments…….

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A photo of the attendees enjoying some food and refreshments at Carroll’s Bar & Grill after the dedication ceremony. October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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A photo of the attendees enjoying some food and refreshments at Carroll’s Bar & Grill after the dedication ceremony. October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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A photo of the attendees enjoying some food and refreshments at Carroll’s Bar & Grill after the dedication ceremony. October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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One of 2 remaining decorative stainless steel “C’s” that had been mounted on the tall chimney behind the former diner from 1961-1986. It was recently modified to be back lit. October 5, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Carroll’s Bar & Grille opens in Medford, Mass.


The newly opened Carroll’s Bar & Grille in Medford, Mass.
May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

As a follow up to the post I did back in February about the history of Carroll’s Diner and the upcoming opening of the Carroll family’s new restauarant in Medford, Mass., see………. https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/carrolls-bar-grille-looking-at-spring-opening-in-medford-mass/    I am happy to announce that Carroll’s Bar & Grille has finally opened its doors on May 3, 2012!

My friends Maury and Tom Carroll have realized their dream of opening a new restaurant in their hometown just 2 blocks away from the former location of  Carroll’s Restaurant (formerly known as Carroll’s Colonial Diner). Three incarnations of Carroll’s Diner operated from 1930 to 1986 at 101 Main Street. I have been following their progress in renovating  the groundfloor space they leased in the “City Building” that wraps the corner of High Street and main Street in Medford Square. The Bar & Grille is located on the Main Street side (21 Main St.) adjacent to the Craddock Bridge which spans the Mystic River.


The newly opened Carroll’s Bar & Grille in Medford, Mass.
May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

I had been told they would have a “soft opening” on May 2nd, so Denise & I went over there in the late afternoon to check it out only to find the opening was pushed back to the next day! But Maury welcomed us in to see the finished restaurant and let me shoot some photos. The following photos show the decor of the restaurant and bar area prior to opening.


Interior view showing the dining room after entering the front door. This room has kept the original tin ceiling that had been hidden for years by a dropped ceiling. May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera


view from the right side of the entrance showing an uncovered brick wall that was the original side wall of the building before it was expanded. You can see 2 of the large poster-size black & white photos on the brick wall. These show the exterior of the 1948 Carroll’s Diner at night and further back, the interior of the 1930 vintage Carroll’s Diner. The unadorned right-side wall will eventually have other historical photos.
May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera


view of the bar area with windows that look out onto views of the Mystic River as well as the adjacent Mystic Valley Parkway.
May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera



Looking down the bar you can see the exposed brick wall and the dining room beyond. If you look closely at the furthest point on the brick wall, you will see the stainless steel “C” that once adorned the large brick chimney on the back of the old diner complex.
May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera


A close-up of the “C”, it is again mounted on a brick chimney but this time it is on the interior of the building. At one time there were 4 of these. When the former diner was being torn down 2 of these were sold to someone and I am not sure if they still exist. I was the one who got the remaining 2 of which this is one. May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera


Looking down the bar toward Main Street.
May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera


Another shot looking down the bar toward Main Street.
May 2, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

Denise and I got back to eat at the new restaurant on Friday, May 4th in the late afternoon. I presented Maury with a signed copy of my “Classic Diners of Massachusetts” book as a Grand Opening present to show my appreciation for all the photos his family have provided to me over the years for my collection of diner memorabilia. The menu for dinner is slightly upscale, and the prices reflect this. But on the other hand, the food and service were surpisingly excellent for the second day of operation. They bake their own bread for the meals, be it for the “bread basket” or the roll for a sandwich. We will certainly make many return visits in the future!

They will be open only for dinner for the foreseeable future until any kinks are ironed out and will expand the opening hours for lunch as soon as they believe they are ready. The restaurant features a full bar as well as a “raw bar” with flat screen TV’s in the bar area.

I want to wish Maury and Tom Carroll all the success. With the new restaurant being hugely busy these first few days, I can certainly say that it seems like all of Medford has been waiting  for 26 years (since the diner closed) for the Carrolls to bring their magic back!