A (sort of) Mountain View Diner weekend

Sunday Breakfast at Mountain View Diner No. 428

After I posted last weekend about the Patriot Diner opening in Bourne, Mass.  I had it in the back of my mind to take a short ride down to Cape Cod and check it out in person! So Denise and I went down on Sunday (yesterday) and had breakfast at this 1950’s Mountain View Diner.

As mentioned in a previous post, I first wrote about this diner (formerly the Berlin Diner) which was moved from Berlin, NJ to East Hampton, CT (back when Diner Hotline was in the SCA Journal magazine). I had heard from Steve Gasior who was an SCA member. He was already running a restaurant in Connecticut and thought the diner would be a great addition to his operation.


the former Berlin Diner moving to Connecticut, courtesy Steve Gasior

After the diner was moved to the Nutmeg State, Gasior started to have the diner installed on a foundation and even utilized the services of a so-called restorationist to bring the diner back to a reasonable appearance. You see when the diner was in New Jersey, it had been updated over the years with the facade under the windows being stripped of its stainless steel skin for a different look. The restorationist went as far as having new stainless steel skin made for the diner.

Sometime right after that things went sour and the work was discontinued, the diner project for Gasior was now in limbo. The diner sat there for a while (a couple of years at least) until he was able to unload it.


Otis Rotary Diner, Bourne, Mass. March, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


My Tinman Diner, 1996 photo by Larry Cultrera

During this period, The 1941 vintage double-ended Sterling Streamliner operating as “My Tinman Diner” at the Otis Rotary in the Pocasset section of Bourne, Mass. had been burned by an arsonist (circa 2000). That diner was eventually moved off the property and Claire Bergeron (the property owner) was thinking of finding a classic diner to take the place of  the old streamliner. She found out about the former Berlin Diner being available and arranged to purchase it and have it installed on her property in Bourne.

Unfortunately she also utilized the same restorationist that Gasior used and ran into similar problems! So again the diner sat idle until Ms. Bergeron contacted Richard Gutman of the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University. He put her together with Steve Spencer the Operations manager at the Museum who completed the installation of the exterior stainless steel skin (as mentioned in the last post) and the diner opened for business in the last 2 weeks. Here are a few of my photos from yesterday…….


Patriot Diner, October 10, 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera


Patriot Diner, October 10, 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera


Patriot Diner, October 10, 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera

We had a decent breakfast at the diner but I was a little concerned as to how they set-up the interior. The original counter was there along with the stools that had back rests (these stools may not be original although they do look good). What bothered me about the set-up was that there were no booths in the diner, just table and chairs which would have been ok if they were set up by the windows against the wall, but they were not. They were moved away from the wall and set at angles with the 4 related chairs on all sides. This might work in a large room but within the fairly narrow confines of a 1950’s diner, forget about it! There was hardly any room to walk between the tables and the counter stools!

Also, they installed built-in wooden benches against the side walls that have access to tables along the side. A 1950’s diner would have had upholstered benches and these wooden ones looked out of place and did not look comfortable. I would suggest they revisit their configuration by doing something different with the side benches and placing tables for 4 against the front walls with 2 chairs on each side.

OK, that’s enough of my bitching (of which I do very little here) and onto the next Mountain View Diner I visited this weekend!

Mountain View Diner No. 317 gets new operators


Eggie’s Diner, Route 125 in Plaistow, NH, photo by Larry Cultrera

Recently I mentioned that the people who ran Eggie’s Diner on Rte. 125 in Plaistow, NH had moved their business from the 1950’s Mountain View Diner they had occupied for many years to new digs in Atkinson, NH. This left the future of the old diner building in question. Well that question was answered within the last few days by an article from the Lawrence Eagle- Tribune (Lawrence, Mass.). This article mentioned the new people who would be operating the diner now called Diner 317.

Originally known as Pent’s Diner on Route 28 in North Reading, Mass. in 1952, it was moved to Plaistow by owners Jim & Hope Pentalerios in 1961 when I-93 opened and took a lot of north and southbound traffic from the old road.

When I first photographed the diner in Plaistow in the early 1980’s, it was being run as the Plaistownian Diner. Its exterior had been altered sometime in the mid-to-late 1970’s with all the stainless steel exterior skin being removed and covered with some type of siding (either wooden or vinyl). All the other stainless steel (trim & panels) by the windows were painted over.

I recall the diner looking all original circa 1971-72 but after that I guess I did not pay attention. Luckily, Richard Gutman at least had photographed it in his early days in Boston and had some decent shots of it as Hope’s Diner from back then.
Here is the article from the Eagle-Tribune that was brought to my attention by Glenn Wells of www.roadsidefans.com……..

 http://www.eagletribune.com/newhampshire/x1274851766/Plaistow-gets-a-new-diner

By Cara Hogan
 chogan@eagletribune.com The Eagle Tribune
Sun Oct 10, 2010, 12:03 AM EDT

Plaistow gets a new diner

The former site of Eggies diner in Plaistow has a new name and new owners, who hope to revitalize the local landmark. Eggies has moved to a new location in Atkinson.

John Woods, originally from Rye, has renamed it Diner 317, taking the number from an old metal plaque on the wall of the classic diner. Woods is a chef and just moved back to New Hampshire from Boulder, Colorado.
“I had a restaurant in Colorado, but I sold it to come back here,” Woods said.

He said his two good friends from Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston, Justin Behling and cousin Chris Woods, asked him if he wanted to go into business together. “They were looking into building a restaurant, and I had been in the business for 20 years,” Woods said. “We’ve known each other forever and we all trust each other. Chris is running construction, Justin and myself are operating the restaurant.”

Cook has already written the menu. Prices will range from free for kids under age 10 to $12.50 for all-you-can-eat. “We’re going to continue to do diner food and comfort food, serving breakfast all day,” Woods said.

The menu includes dishes like Backwoods Benedict: turkey, bacon, two poached eggs with chip sausage gravy over buttermilk biscuits, and the Breakfast Bomb Burrito: two scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, hash browns and choice of ham, bacon or sausage wrapped in a large flour tortilla smothered with green chili. The menu also will feature a regular assortment of french toast, waffles, pancakes, burgers and sandwiches.

Woods and his partners are leasing the diner from the owners, but are doing significant construction to improve the building and parking lot. “We are redoing a lot,” Woods said. “We’re doing mainly cosmetic changes in the front, keeping it as original as possible. We’re going to fix the parking lot also, pave over the potholes and get everything up to code.”

He said he hopes construction will be completed in the next few weeks. Plans call for opening the diner Nov. 1. The diner will open at 5:30 a.m. every day. Woods said he is proud of the diner’s long history, including the story at the bottom of the new menus.

“This diner was built in 1951 in New Jersey by the Mountain View Diner Company,” Woods said. “It moved from Jersey to North Reading and was there until 1961. Then it was brought up here.” The Pentalerios family owned the diner, calling it Pents, then Hope’s Diner, before leasing it Eggies. “We’re only the third people to (run) it since 1951,” Woods said. “It’s virtually a landmark.”

The new diner will be a green operation. “We’ll be recycling, composting and selling our fry oil for biofuel,” he said. “We’re also thinking about doing farm to table in the spring, maybe planting a box garden in the field out back. We have so much space. It feels good to be respecting the environment and cooking fresh, delicious foods. It’s a win-win.”

Woods said he hopes people will try the food and support a local family business. “My cousins and other family are volunteering, doing construction for free,” he said. “Everyone working here is family.”

After reading this article I decided because I had today off (Columbus Day) I would take another quick ride to Plaistow where I met both John Woods and Justin Behling. They really do have an appreciation of the diner and have pledged to keep as much of it as they can original. They have stripped the paint from all the stainless steel surfaces that remain on the exterior and are busy completely rebuilding the on-site kitchen.

John told me something I was not aware of, namely that the Pentalerios family still owns the diner! This was a total surprise! I wished them luck and hope to be at the diner again shortly after it reopens (next month I believe).

Here are some photos from this morning…..


John Woods (L) and a contractor (R) in front of Diner 317
October 11, 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera


Diner 317, October 11, 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera


Interior of Diner 317, October 11, 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera


Interior of Diner 317, October 11, 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera

Notes from the Hotline, 7-8-2010

Diner Slide Presentaion in North Easton, Mass.

I will be doing one of my Diner Slide Presentations toward the end of this month. It will be held at The Ames Free Library of North Easton, Mass. on July 29, 2010. The show starts at 6:30 pm.


The Ames Free Library, North Easton, Mass. A handsome 1877 building
designed by the famed architect, Henry Hobson Richardson

In this presentation, I show how this American Institution has evolved from the horse drawn Lunch Wagons of the late 19th century to the large ultra-modern Diner-Restaurants of the 21st century. I also include a section on some of the local New England diners that people can visit, if they are so inclined!

Here is a link to the Library’s website… http://www.amesfreelibrary.org/index.htm

Diner Photos by Beth Lennon of Retro Road Map
included in Wildwood, NJ exhibit


Angelo’s Diner, Glassboro, NJ – Photo by Beth Lennon

Our good friend, Beth Lennon has a group of her Southern New Jersey Diner photos on exhibit for the month of July in wonderful Wildwood, NJ!  Beth has the hugely popular Retro Roadmap blog at http://retroroadmap.com/, probably my most favorite blog (after Diner Hotline of course!). Here is the mention of it from the July 8th Shore News Today….

WILDWOOD – Beth Lennon of Phoenixville, Pa. recently announced that a selection of her photos of southern New Jersey vintage diners will be on display in Wildwood, throughout July.  The exhibit will be at The Doo Wop Experience in celebration of their ‘Manufactured Diner Month’.
Lennon is the owner of RetroRoadmap.com – a travel blog dedicated to all things retro, vintage and mod.  The Web site includes her photos and experiences from her travels across the United States visiting what she describes as ‘cool old places’.  Her photographs have been used by cartoonist Dan Goodsell.
The Doo Wop Experience is located across from the Wildwoods Convention Center at Ocean Avenue between Burk and Montgomery Avenues.  The exhibit is free to the public and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon and 5 to 10 p.m.  For more information see www.doowopusa.org.

Here is Beth’s list of the diner photographs she has on exhibit…

Angelo’s Diner
26 North Main Street
Glassboro, NJ 08028
(856) 881-9854
1951 Kullman diner

At The Hop Diner
411 South Pomona Road
Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
(609) 804-1950
1952 O’Mahony diner

Deepwater Diner
552 Shell Road
Carneys Point NJ 08069
(856) 299-1411
1958 Silk City diner

Elgin Diner
2621 Mount Ephraim Avenue
Camden, NJ 08104
(856) 962-0202
1958 Kullman diner

Forked River Diner
317 South Main Street
Forked River, NJ 08731
(609) 693-2222
c.1960 Kullman diner

Mustache Bill’s Diner
Broadway & 8th Street
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
(609) 494-0155
1958 Fodero diner

Salem Oak Diner
106 Broadway Road
Salem, NJ 08079
(856) 935-1305
1955 Silk City diner

Report of Plaistow, NH’s Eggie’s Diner may be in jeopardy


Eggie’s Diner, Rte. 125, Plaistow, NH – Although the diner is covered in wood instead of its original stainless steel skin, it still has a lot of integrity left on the inside.

Diner Fan Bob Higgins emailed me 2 days ago with some news on Eggie’s Diner of Plaistow, NH. It does not look good for this 1950’s vintage Mountain View Diner. Here is what Bob said in the email….

The diner is closed up and vacant as of the beginning of July. The business has moved to another location in Plastow. There are some surveyors stakes and markings around the diner property. It has been for sale for a long time.

I hope that someone can save this diner, it probably would not take much to at least get it into storage and out of harm’s way.


Route 125 Road Trip, circa early 1980’s

When I first started documenting diners in 1980,  it gave a new purpose for driving the older state highways, basically I was now using a fresh eye in looking for diners on roads I had driven on many times before. One of these roads was Route 125. Rte. 125 is a state road that starts in Wilmington, Massachusetts and heads roughly northeast through the communities of Andover, North Andover and Haverhill before crossing the state line into Plaistow, NH. It continues thru a handfull of Granite State towns such as Kingston, Epping and Lee before coming into the larger city of Rochester.

In fact, as I recall, Rte. 125 used to end at it’s junction with Rte. 16 near downtown Rochester. But the last time I was there it looked like the route may have been extended. A recent look at the map tells me that the extension of Rte. 125 goes up the older alignment of Rte. 16 north of Rochester to just south of Sanbornville where the newer Rte. 16 joins the old road (this is now the new northern terminus of Rte. 125).

Aqua Dream Pool Store

Anyway, back in the early 1980’s, there were still a few old diners along this road. The first one I encountered was in North Andover, Mass. At that time (early 1981) operating as Aqua Dream, a pool supply business, this diner was Worcester Lunch Car No. 767. According to Gary Thomas’ “Diners of the North Shore” book, this diner originally was located on Rte. 28 in Methuen, Mass. and operated as Solak’s Diner. It moved to North Andover in 1956 and traded as Joe’s Diner and later as Maggie’s Diner, gaining a couple of additions and a brick facade before morphing into the Aqua Dream Pool Store.


Aqua Dream Pool Supply, North Andover, formerly Joe’s Diner.
Photo circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera

Not too long after I photographed it, the diner section in the middle of the expanded building was torn down to the floor and a new “greenhouse” was placed there as part of the store’s showroom. The whole place was leveled circa 2005 and replaced with a strip mall.

There were no other operating diners along Rte. 125 in Massachusetts by the early 1980’s. Even though Haverhill was once loaded with diners and Rte. 125 was a major route through the city, the last diner that was located in Haverhill on Rte. 125 (Arthur’s Diner) was gone by the time I started photographing them. I can at least say that I ate at Arthur’s once on Labor Day weekend of 1971!

Eggie’s Diner

Crossing into New Hampshire on Rte. 125, about 3 miles north of the state line is a small Mountain View Diner currently operating as Eggie’s Diner. It has had quite a few names since it moved here from North Reading, Mass. I’m not sure when it moved here but Gary Thomas says the diner originally operated as Pent’s Diner was not in North Reading too long. I do recall as of the early 1970’s it was still covered in stainless steel and according to Richard Gutman’s photos it was called Hope’s Diner. By the early 1980’s it had been covered in T-111 wooden panelling on the exterior and was called the Plaistownian Diner and later the Rte. 125 Diner. At this point it is now the only operating factory-built diner on Rte. 125.


Eggie’s Diner, Rte. 125 in Plaistow, NH – Photo by Larry Cultrera

June Bug Diner

Farther north in Epping, NH,  just off Rte. 125 at the intersection of Rte. 27 was the June Bug Diner. I believe this was originally the Parkway Diner of Lawrence, Mass. (Worcester Lunch Car No. 717). It is the right size and configuration. It was not in business in early 1981 when I photographed it But I do recall it was operating in the 1970’s.


June Bug Diner, Epping, NH – Photo circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera


June Bug Diner, Epping, NH – Photo circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera


June Bug Diner, Epping, NH – Photo circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera

From these photos you can see the large porch-like addition off the front of this diner. From what I could tell the diner itself was fairly gutted on the inside and was used for the kitchen of this establishment. The “porch” was used for seating of the patrons. It looked like the waitstaff may have accessed the food thru the front windows of the diner to serve the patrons out front.


June Bug Diner, Epping, NH – Photo October, 1983 by Larry Cultrera


June Bug Diner, Epping, NH – Photo October, 1983 by Larry Cultrera

From what I remember, this diner did not make it to 1985. The lot is still empty today.

Sunset Diner

Travelling north into Lee, NH you would have seen the Sunset Diner on the left side of the road, another small Worcester Lunch Car. This one was modified with an added on diningroom and newer windows.


Sunset Diner, Lee, NH – Photo circa September, 1983 by Larry Cultrera


Sunset Diner, Lee, NH – Photo circa September, 1983 by Larry Cultrera

By the mid-1980’s this was replaced by a stick-built building calling itself the Sunset Diner. The last time I drove by (2004) this newer building was not being used as a restaurant.

Back in the early 1980’s, when Rte. 125 ended at Rte. 16 near downtown Rochester, at that time, if you hung a left toward downtown on the old Rte. 16 you would have immediately seen Leo’s Diner a 1946 vintage Worcester Lunch Car (No, 796) on the right.


Leo’s Diner, Rochester, NH – Photo circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera

Leo’s was moved in the late 1980’s and is now the Harley Diner at South East Harley-Davidson in Cleveland, Ohio

Also in the early 80’s there was Harold’s Diner in downtown Rochester. Harold’s was a rare 24 hour diner.


Harold’s Diner, Rochester, NH – Photo circa 1981 by Larry Cultrera

By the mid-1980’s Harold’s was moved briefly to Newton, NH on Rte. 108 and was placed on a foundation. The installation was never completed and it reportedly was moved to Barrington, NH