A friend’s recent book launch leads to my first real “Diner” road-trip in many years!

As you may have noticed, this is my first blog post in a while. Again I apologize for the infrequent posts but I have been scanning my collection of 35mm slides and prints, which has consumed a lot of spare time for a few years. The slides are all scanned but the prints take more time. The outcome so far is that the digital archive of Diner photos is growing.

Starting this past June, I have officially “Semi-retired” from my job, working only Tuesday thru Thursday, with 4 day weekends. That being said, an opportunity arose to actually plan a road-trip to New Jersey (which took place at the end of September). Now the last time I was even in the Garden State was just over 21 years ago – in June of 1998 to be exact.

The opportunity that presented itself was the publishing of a new book by my friend Michael Gabriele of Clifton, New Jersey. The book is his 5th book overall published by The History Press and 2nd book about New Jersey Diners. The new book is entitled Stories From New Jersey Diners: Monuments To Community. Gabriele had announced within the last couple of months that he would be having an official book launch at the Nutley (NJ) Museum on the evening of September 27th, a Friday night. This fit in perfectly with my new 4-day weekend schedule. I was actually thinking about keeping it a surprise and just showing up, but immediately nixed that idea, mainly because there were a few people I wanted to see when I got down there. So I let Michael Gabriele in on the possibility of my attending and he was extremely enthusiastic about my proposed plan and encouraged me to make the effort.

At the top of the list of people I wanted to get together with was Donald Kaplan, co-author of the very first book on Diners I ever bought, Diners Of The Northeast! I refer to this book along with Diners by John Baeder and American Diner by Richard J.S. Gutman & Elliott Kaufman as the Holy Trinity of Diner books that came out in the late 1970s and into 1980.

Diners-of-the-Northeast
Cover of the original edition of Diners Of The Northeast, by
Donald Kaplan and Alan Bellink, the first “Diner” book that
I purchased circa October, 1980.

American-Diner
The cover sleeve of the original hard cover edition of
American Diner by Richard Gutman & Elliott Kaufman.
The second “Diner” book which I purchased in late 1980.

Diners

The cover of the first edition of Diners by John Baeder.
This is the third “Diner” book I purchased, circa January, 1981.

Even though I may have been aware of the books authored by John Baeder (Diners) and Richard Gutman (American Diner) had been published in 1978 and 1979 respectively, Donald Kaplan and his co-author Alan (now Allyson) Bellink’s book came out around September of 1980 right at the flash point where my diner awareness was just starting to take hold.

I had been a diner aficionado since I was very young and already started taking Sunday morning road-trips with my pal Steve Repucci since late 1979 to discover (or rediscover) diners for Sunday morning breakfasts. Also, I had just purchased my first 35mm camera and the thought was beginning to form in my brain to document these diners that were fast disappearing from the landscape here in New England. I estimate that I purchased Diners Of The Northeast sometime in October of 1980 and it swung the door wide open for the almost 40 year obsession that followed!

I purchased the other books American Diner and Diners within 3 months and had started taking my first tentative photos as well as expanding my already existent post card collection with a “diner category”. Now early in 1981, I had met and become friends with Richard Gutman and about a year later the same happened with John Baeder. But connecting with the co-authors Kaplan & Bellink did not happen until 1996 when I met briefly with Alan Bellink at a diner-related get together. My budding friendship with Donald Kaplan started much later (2010 or so) thru Facebook. Donald, (who lives in the Bronx) and I have become fast friends in the last couple of years. We speak at least once a week. I of course let Donald Kaplan in on my plans for a trip down toward New York and New Jersey.

So as far as the proposed New Jersey road-trip, I convinced my wife Denise that we should do this. Believe me, that is a very hard sell with her. I got reservations at the Hampton Inn in Carlstadt (near the Meadowlands Sports Complex) which put me in a very central location for where I wanted to be. I had called my old friend Arnie Corrado to let him know of my plans. Arnie, who along with his late father Ralph, owned and operated Rosie’s Diner in Little Ferry, NJ until they sold and closed it in 1990. We had lost touch for a number of years until I made the effort about 6 years ago and we have been in constant contact since.

There were other people I planned to meet up with at the event. These people included Les Cooper (from the family that manufactured Silk City Diners), Gloria Nash from Queens, NY (who I actually met within the last couple of months in Massachusetts), Mark Oberndorf ( a painter of vernacular buildings as well as homes, etc.) and Alex Panko (who, with his family owned and operated the Peterpank Diner in Sayreville, New Jersey).

Which brings us to the weekend of September 27 thru 29th of 2019. Denise and I left Saugus around 3:30 AM on Friday (the27th). We made our first stop for coffee and a bathroom break at the Vernon Diner which is located at Exit 65 right off of I-84 southbound in Connecticut. This place is an easy off/on to the highway and is housed in a former Howard Johnson’s Restaurant. The place is nicely done up as a modern diner including a vast display case of baked goods. Unfortunately, it was dark and I did not get photos.

Our next stop was Exit 10 in Newtown, CT. I wanted to get new photos of the Sandy Hook Diner, a small barrel-roofed diner that probably dates to the 1920s. After those photos, we drove back to the nicely redone Blue Colony Diner at the exit to have another coffee and bathroom break. I had photographed both of these diners back in the early 1980s. The Sandy Hook had not changed significantly but the Blue Colony, originally built by Manno Diners had a complete makeover in the last 20 or so years, done by DeRaffele Diner Company.

Sandy-Hook-Diner-2
The Sandy Hook Diner, Newtown, Connecticut.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 27, 2019

Blue-Colony-Diner-5
The Blue Colony Diner, Newtown, Connecticut.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 27, 2019

Continuing on, we got back on I-84 and made it to Exit 2B on the western end of Danbury, before the New York state line. Taking U.S. Route 6 to NY Route 22 in Brewster, NY, we continued driving south to North White Plains. We took I-287 west to Exit 1 in Elmsford and got Route 119 south past the Eldorado Diner to the Saw Mill River Parkway and headed south on that road until it became the Henry Hudson Parkway. We got off at Exit 23 and headed south on Broadway through the Bronx to 231st Street. We continued west on 231st to Tibbett Avenue and south one block to the Tibbett Diner, where we met up with Donald Kaplan.

Tibbett-Diner-2
The Tibbett Diner, 3033 Tibbett Avenue, Bronx, New York.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 27, 2019

Donald-Kaplan-&-LAC-@-Tibbett-Diner-1a-
Donald Kaplan & Larry Cultrera outside the Tibbett Diner.
Photo by Denise Cultrera, September 27, 2019

After meeting up and spending some time with Donald, he convinced me to head a few miles south on Broadway to take the George Washington Bridge over to New Jersey, instead of going back to the Tappan Zee area and taking the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge over to the Garden State. I took his advice and it worked out fine, saving us some time. After crossing the GWB, we headed toward Little Ferry on Route 46 and contacted Arnie Corrado. We made plans to meet at the White Manna Diner in nearby Hackensack. No sooner did I get off the phone with Arnie, Michael Gabriele called to see where we were. I informed him of the White Manna plans and he immediately said he would meet us there…

White-Manna-Diner-1
The White Manna Diner, 358 River Street, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 27, 2019

Michael-Gabriele_LAC_Arnie-Corrado-@-White-Manna-1a
Michael Gabriele, Larry Cultrera & Arnie Corrado at the White
Manna Diner. Photo by Denise Cultrera, September 27, 2019

Now Michael Gabriele and I have been friends for around 6 years since he contacted me after he contracted to do his first New Jersey diner book for our publisher, The History Press. But until the 27th of September, we had never met face-to-face! At the White Manna, Michael, Arnie and I partook of some wonderful sliders and enjoyed the atmosphere of this fantastically preserved Paramount Diner. Afterward, Michael went home and Denise and I visited with Arnie briefly at his home in Little Ferry before heading to our hotel to check in. After we were settled in our hotel room, we went out and searched for a late lunch and found the Candlewyck Diner in East Rutherford, NJ. The Candlewyck is a circa 1970s vintage Kullman Diner that was renovated on site in recent years and the new look, inside and out represents yet another evolution in diner design!

Candlewyck-Diner-3
The Candlewyck Diner 179 Paterson Street,
East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Photograph by Larry Cultrera, September 27, 2019.

Stories-from-New-Jersey-Diners-cover
Michael Gabriele’s new book published by The History Press.

So, the major reason to come to New Jersey was to attend the launch of Michael Gabriele’s new book at the Nutley Museum. In fact I was slated to give a short slide presentation along with Michael and the other guest speaker, Les Cooper. It was lucky I had spoken with Michael on the afternoon before the trip. He informed me that the Museum’s laptop computer was on the fritz and wondered if I was bringing my own laptop PC. I of course was bringing it to use to get online, etc when I was at the hotel. So the evening of the book launch we setup with the museum’s large screen TV and fired up Power Point….

book-launch-2
Gloria Nash, Arnie Corrado and Denise Cultrera attending
book launch event at the Nutley Museum. Photo by
Larry Cultrera, September 27, 2019.

book-launch-1
Michael Gabriele speaking at the Nutley Museum.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, Spetember 27, 2019.

I also finally got to meet Alex Panko and Les Cooper both of whom I have known for a few years but had never met. Alex was a trip, pretty much the way I expected, he is extremely outgoing (not to mention a little hyper, he drinks an ton of Coca Cola). Les was also pretty much the person I expected, interesting and well spoken.

LAC_Alex-Panko_Les-Cooper
Larry Cultrera, Alex Panko and Les Cooper at the Nutley Museum.
Photo by Denise Cultrera, September 27, 2019

The next morning (Saturday the 28th), Denise and I went to have breakfast at the Bendix Diner on Route 17 in Hasbrouck Heights. It was wonderful to see all the neon in working order. The diner itself, a rare Master Diner, is really starting to show its age, both inside and out unfortunately. I shot some photos as the morning light was coming up and then revisited it in the early afternoon to get great daytime shots…

Bendix-Diner-1
Bendix Diner, Route 17 in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
Early morning photo by Larry Cultrera, September 28, 2019

Bendix-Diner-5
Bendix Diner, Route 17 in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
Early afternoon photo by Larry Cultrera, September 28, 2019

Around mid-morning, Denise and I drove over to Michael Gabriele’s home in Clifton and met his wife Julie as well as one of his sons (sorry Mike, I forgot his name). Then Michael gave us a little tour around the area to let me document some diners that I had not previously photographed. Let me say the light for taking photos this particular weekend was totally perfect and I lucked out. The following places were shot during that little excursion with Michael.

Colonial-Diner-4
The Colonial Diner, 27 Orient Way in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
This is a 1950 vintage Mountain View Diner modified with that
new roof topper and sign, while maintaining the original design.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 28, 2019.

Red-Hawk-Diner-3
The Red Hawk Diner located on the campus of
Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 28, 2019.

Park-West-Diner-5
The Park West Diner on Route 46. A nicely renovated Kullman
diner, originally known as the Golden Star Diner in the
Woodland Park/Little Falls area.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 28, 2019.

Little-Falls-Diner-3
The Little Falls Diner, 11 Paterson Avenue, Little falls, New Jersey.
This place has been closed for many years.

On Sunday morning (the 29th), Denise and I got on the road early and headed north on Route 17. We stopped while it was still dark at the State Line Diner in Mahwah for breakfast! What a great place, I would have loved to get some photos if it were in daylight! We crossed the Hudson on I-287 over the recently completed Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. We reversed our path using the same roads we traveled down on Friday to head back to Connecticut.  On the way up Route 22, we bypassed into Katonah, New York to possibly stop for coffee at the Blue Dolphin Diner. Unfortunately, the diner was not open on Sunday morning and I noticed it is now operating as an upscale bistro. I also noticed the interior was extremely compromised with almost nothing original remaining. Very sad, but at least the outside still looked great.

Blue-Dolphin-Diner-2
The Blue Dolphin Diner, 175 Katonah Avenue, Katonah, New York.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, from September 28, 2019.

Just prior to crossing the state line into Connecticut, we stopped at Bob’s Diner in Brewster. It looks the same as the last time I saw it back in the 1980s with the exception of the paint color on the outside. A nice little downtown diner.

Bob's-Diner-2
Bob’s Diner, 27 Main Street in Brewster, New York.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 28, 2019.

Shortly after crossing the state line, I stopped at the Mill Plain Diner (formerly the Windmill Diner) on Mill Plain Road (U.S. Route 6) in Danbury. I remember this diner as having a brick facade with a mansard roof back in the 1980s. Within the last year or so the place had an extreme makeover, inside and out by DeRaffele Diners and looks fantastic. I heard it is now owned by the same people who have the Blue Colony Diner in Newtown.

Mill-Plain-Diner-2
The Mill Plain Diner, 14 Mill Plain Road in Danbury, Connecticut.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, Spetmeber 28, 2019.

To finish off this early fall road-trip, we made one last stop in Connecticut before making it back into Massachusetts. We got off the highway briefly in East Hartford and I revisited a diner I had eaten in back in the 1980s, but never photographed. It has been on my bucket list for a while and I finally got my photos. The AAA Diner is a 1970s vintage brick diner with mansard roof that on the outside still looks similar to the way I remember it. The interior has gotten an update and is now bright and airy….

AAA-Diner-3
The AAA Diner, 1209 Main Street in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Photo by Larry Cultrera, September 25, 2019.

As I stated earlier, the weather could not have cooperated more than it did for this long-awaited interstate road-trip and I was extremely happy to get the photos I did, as well as meet new friends and reconnect with old friends. I will follow up soon with a review of Michael Gabriele’s book in the near future!

Memorial Day roadtrip – 1982

1982 was a pivotal year in my life, some really good things along with one huge event. That huge event happened in January of that year when my dad Sam died suddenly at the young age of 59 (the age I currently am now). In retrospect I must have been unconsciously trying to get things going in a positive direction after my dad’s passing.

So in February of 1982, I  started a temp job at Megapulse Corp. in Bedford, Mass. (a job that would become a permanent position and last 5 years). This was to this day one of the best jobs I have had due in part to the lasting friendships I had made there. Even after a layoff in 1987, I kept my bridges intact with Megapulse which eventually lead to another stint with the company from 1991 to 1995.

Also in that month I contacted John Baeder for the very first time as well as helped my good friend and roadtrip buddy Steve Repucci move back to Boston from a year and a half sojourn in Harrisburg, PA. In fact, it was on that trip to move Steve back that I located the “Abandoned Luncheonette” and was able to document it before it was ultimately destroyed within the next 2 years. Another landmark event happened early in 1982 when the movie “Diner” came out. I had been waiting to see what this movie was about and was certainly not disappointed. I made a mental note about the possibility of checking out Baltimore in the near future after seeing this movie.

The actual next roadtrip Steve and I went on was in March of 1982 (to Harrisburg again) where as I recall we actually took a little detour to Sussex, NJ to have breakfast at Prouts Diner, a 1940-ish Silk City diner that I had known thru a painting that John Baeder had done previously. When we got there I noticed there wasn’t any signage on the diner (that I recalled from John’s painting). I was kind of disappointed but took a couple of photos anyway. I don’t recall too much else from the March roadtrip, guess I’ll need to check the logbook when I have time.

Moving on to May, another great thing happened, my niece Katie was born on the 17th of that month, 2 years from the day that her parents (my brother Steve and sister-in-law Ann) were married. Two weeks later on May 29, 1982, Steve Repucci and I are back on the road to Harrisburg again. Just like the previous time we stopped at Prouts Diner for breakfast, where I was happy to see the signage back up after a remodeling had occurred to the building behind the diner. This remodeling had entailed installing new vinyl siding on the house as well as new roofing. This included a new roof structure that sloped down from the house and covered the raised section of the “monitor” roof of the diner. That is why the sign was removed temporarily!


Prouts Diner, Sussex, NJ  –  May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Prouts Diner, Sussex, NJ  –  May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After breakfast at Prouts, we made it to Stroudsburg where I  photographed the Colonial Diner. I had seen the Colonial Diner on previous trips thru Stroudsburg and finally decided to document it. This diner it turns out was a streamlined Paramount model  not too different from Rosie’s Diner (of Bounty Paper Towel commercial fame). Unfortunately the Colonial had previously acquired a stone facade over its stainless steel exterior as well as an orange mansard roof. This remodeling was to be reversed a few years later.  I also found out that there was an addition built on to the diner by Fodero Diners. The workmanship on the addition matched exactly to what Paramount had originally done when the diner was first built.


Colonial Diner, Stroudsburg, PA  – May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Colonial Diner, Stroudsburg, PA  – May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

There were no other diners placed in the log book for the remainder of that day or the next after getting to Harrisburg. So on Monday morning, May 31, 1982, we started back home from Harrisburg. But instead of heading northeast we went southeast to Baltimore to see if we could find the diner from the movie “Diner”.

We got down to Baltimore and went searching for the Fells Point Diner. We found the area but no diner. We must have driven Boston Street for 2 or 3 miles and did not find it. We finally stopped and asked a couple of guys and they pointed us back from where we had come. They said the diner was not there anymore. We came across the empty lot on the harbor side of Boston Street near the intersection of Hudson Street and South Montford Avenue, that upon closer examination  was recognizable as the place where the diner was located for the movie.


The lot on Boston Street in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore
where the diner was located for the movie “Diner”
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


This building was in at least 2 or 3 scenes in the movie as it was diagonally across the street from where the diner was located.
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

What we later found out is that the diner was only there for the shooting of the movie. Barry Levinsion’s production company actually leased the diner (a used 1950’s Mountain View diner) from Paramount Modular Concepts (formerly Paramount Diners) of Oakland, NJ. They had the diner transported from New Jersey to the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. When filming was complete the diner ended up back at the Paramount lot in Oakland, NJ. So needless to say we did not have breakfast at the Fells Point Diner the morning of May 31, 1982, (ironically, that diner made it back to Baltimore a year or so later and we did finally eat there).

So, having figured out that our goal for breakfast was not attainable, we started driving north on Route 40 out of Baltimore. We came across the Double-T Diner in Rosedale, MD, a diner I had known about thru a postcard I had in the collection.


Double -T Diner sign, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Double -T Diner, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Double -T Diner, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After breakfast at the Double-T, we proceeded north on Route 40 and saw the closed Magnolia Diner in Joppa, MD.


Magnolia Diner, Joppa, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Magnolia Diner, Joppa, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Before we left Maryland we found the fantastically preserved New Ideal Diner in Aberdeen.


The New Ideal Diner, Aberdeen, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The New Ideal Diner, Aberdeen, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After leaving Maryland we came across this diner located near Hares Corners and State Road, Delaware (hard to tell which town it was actually in). It was known as the Grecian Diner at this point in time and much later, my friend Spencer Stewart found out it was once part of the Hollywood Diner chain of Delaware.


Grecian Diner, State Road, DE – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Grecian Diner, State Road, DE – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I became much more intimate with this diner years later when it was moved to Somerville, Mass., 2 and a half miles from where I was living in Medford at the time. It has been operating as Kelly’s Diner in the Ball Square neighborhood of Somerville since 1995.

After Delaware we left Route 40 and ended up on Route 130 where we saw the Deepwater Diner in Penns Grove, NJ


Deepwater Diner, Penns Grove, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Deepwater Diner, Penns Grove, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Deepwater Diner remained relatively untouched until recently when it was horrendously remodeled by the current owners. No accounting for taste.

Not far up the road we came across the recently closed Joe’s No. 2 Diner in Verga, NJ, a 1950’s Fodero diner. This was another diner I had a postcard of in my collection prior to seeing it.


Joe’s No. 2 Diner, Verga, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Joe’s No. 2 Diner, Verga, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Continuing north on Route 130, we made it to Burlington and saw yet another diner I had a postcard of, the Burlington Diner.


Burlington Diner, Burlington, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Burlington Diner, Burlington, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We also saw Irene’s Windsor Diner on Route 130, a 1939 or 40 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner. This had previously been the Melrose Diner in Philadelphia prior to being replaced by a large custom-built Paramount diner in the mid-1950’s.


Irene’s Windsor Diner, Windsor, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Irene’s Windsor Diner, Windsor, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We then got off of Route 130 and made it over to Hightstown to see the Hightstown Diner….


Hightstown Diner, Hightstown, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Hightstown Diner, Hightstown, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After Hightstown we hightailed it up U.S. Rte. 1 to Route 46 to check out Rosie’s Farmland Diner in Little Ferry, NJ. Rosie’s originally was named the Silver Dollar Diner but took on the newer name after it became famous for being the backdrop  in the series of Bounty Paper Towel commercials featuring actress Nancy Walker as Rosie the waitress who was always cleaning up after her messy customers with “the quicker picker upper”.  The “Farmland” part of the name was eventually dropped and it became Rosie’s Diner. Business was pretty slow that afternoon (it was a holiday I suppose) when we stopped in.


Rosie’s Farmland Diner, Little Ferry, NJ
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Rosie’s Farmland Diner, Little Ferry, NJ
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I called John Baeder on the payphone from Rosie’s as he was in New York City doing a marathon rewrite for his soon to be published book, “Gas, Food, and Lodging” that weekend and I was hoping to finally meet him face to face.

He told me on the phone that he was really busy with the rewrite but that he may be able to break away and that I should call him when we had crossed the river and made it into the city. So off we went thru the Holland Tunnel and ended up in lower Manhattan where I photographed the Square Diner on Leonard Street.


The Square Diner, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The Square Diner, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We then drove uptown to see the former Kitchenette Diner that operated for years in East Cambridge, Mass. It had been moved from Cambridge to the Allston section of Boston by a man named Tony Bosco. Bosco located it next door to his “House” Restaurant and did a slight sprucing up of the diner and sold ice cream from it for a short period of time. He called it the “Diner on Wheels”, as it still had its original wagon wheel attached. Ironically, the diner got a lot of attention when he moved it which was noticed by the producers of the locally filmed movie “The Brinks Job”. They paid Bosco some decent money to have the diner moved to a vacant lot in Reading, Mass. where they set it up for one scene in the movie.

After the diner’s short stay in Allston, Bosco moved it to New York City which is where I saw it again on this Memorial Day in 1982.


The Diner on Wheels, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The Diner on Wheels, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I called John Baeder on the phone when we got to the old Kitchenette and he did manage to Cab it over to the diner where I showed him my diner photo albums I had with me. We had a very memorable meeting and to top it off, we gave him a ride back to where he was doing the rewrite for the book. Needless to say this topped off the roadtrip weekend we had and made it back to Massachusetts that evening.

Another trip back to the early 1980’s

As the cartoon character Mister Peabody used to say….. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to the early 1980’s. Yes, I’m taking another trip back in time to show some photos of diners I documented back then. First up is a diner that is still going strong in Highspire, PA, a small town adjacent to Harrisburg.

Highspire Diner, 2nd Street, Highspire, PA


Highspire Diner, that’s Homer Alverado the owner at the time out in front,
photo circa March, 1982 by Larry Cultrera


Highspire Diner, photo circa March, 1982 by Larry Cultrera

This wonderful example of an early 1950 vintage Silk City Diner is almost pristine, even today! I believe the signage has changed since 1982, I especially like the word “Highspire” arched over the word “Diner” on the Coke sign. You don’t see that often but I believe it was unique to that area as I recall seeing other Coke signs down there with a similar lettering style.

Magnolia Diner, Rte. 40, Joppa, MD


Magnolia Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Magnolia Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

This Mountain View Diner with unique “squared-off” corners was closed at the time of these photos. I am not sure it ever opened for business again. Not even sure it still exists. (I’m am sure Spencer Stewart might be able to enlighten us on the current status of this place). Later on that day, I photographed the Hightstown Diner (see below). Also Steve Repucci and I stopped in New York City and connected with John Baeder for the first face-to-face meeting we ever had with him. He was in the middle of a marathon rewrite for his Gas, Food and Lodging book that weekend. He took a quick break to come and meet us.

Colonial Diner, Main Street, Brockton, Mass.


Colonial Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera


Colonial Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera

The Colonial Diner was the last diner in downtown Brockton. It was a large Sterling Diner with monitor roof and stained glass windows (like Worcester Lunch Cars of similar vinatge). According to my notes it was torn down by 1993.

Forest Diner, Rte. 20, Auburn, Mass.


Forest Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera


Forest Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera

This diner originally operated as the Casu Diner in Turners Falls, Mass. It was moved to its second location in Auburn a few years later and operated as Lavalle’s Diner. I believe that location was taken by eminent domain possibly for I-290 (where it crossed Rte. 20) and the diner was then moved to this location adjacent to the Forest Motel. It was again sold in the late 1980’s and eventually made its way to Colchester, VT to become Libby’s Blue Line Diner. It is Worcester Lunch Car No. 838.

Cable Car Diner, Bank Street, Attleboro, Mass.


Cable Car Diner, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera


Cable Car Diner, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

In the early 1980’s, Attleboro had 4 diners in the downtown area. This 1930’s Worcester Lunch Car had operated as Barney’s Diner prior to my first visit. This rare diner had a mirror-image back-bar to the normal Worcester configuration. the grill and refrigerator as well as the rest of the set-up was on the right end instead of the left. So the “blank” panel adjacent to the window (above the sign) is the location of the refrigerator. This diner was closed and moved in the late 1980’s.

Franklin Cafe, Mill Street, Attleboro, Mass.


Franklin Cafe, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera


Franklin Cafe, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

Here is another of the 4 Attleboro diners. This diner was originally called the Franklin Diner and was operated by the Morin family who currently run Morin’s Restaurant around the corner from this place. This was the only one of the 4 diners that was closed when I first visited the town. It was torn down by the late 1980’s.

Hightstown Diner, Mercer Street, Hightstown, NJ


Hightstown Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Hightstown Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Hightstown Diner looks to be a 1950’s Kullman Diner in these photos. But in actuality, this is a 1940’s streamlined DeRaffele Diner that Kullman retooled in the 1950’s or early 60’s. The sign on the roof is noteworthy and can even be seen in a postcard image of the diner with its 1940’s appearance. The diner has since been stuccoed over and had a mansard added.

I was contacted by Terry Parliaros, one of the owners in the last couple of years and we had a couple of emails and possibly phone conversations if I recall. I sent him scans of these 2 images as well as 2 different postcards I have in the collection, 1 of the first incarnation, a 1930’s vintage barrel roofed Tierney Diner and the 1940’s vintage DeRaffele.

Since then I almost forgot about this incident until this week when I got a nice surprise in the mail. Terry sent along a newly created multi-page laminated menu (as well as a take out version) accompanied with a thank you note for sending the photos. I want to extend my thanks to Terry for sending these along and hope to take him up on his offer to visit the diner the next time I am down that way!  Here is a link to their website…. http://www.hightstowndiner.com/menu.html, for some reason their Home Page is not working but the rest of the site is ok.