Worcester Lunch Car No. 833 demolished

I heard some sad news last week that an old diner located on Bennett Street in Lynn, Massachusetts was reportedly demolished last week. It suffered a very bad fire a little over a year ago. Listed as Worcester Lunch Car Number 833, it was completed and delivered in June of 1952. At 15 feet 6 inches by 54 feet, it was one of the last really large one-piece diners built by the company. Originally operated as the Lynway Diner (just around the corner from the recent Bennett Street location) on the Lynnway, its original owner was James Vellis. It was moved to nearby Bennett Street many years ago. I first patronized it here as the Lynn Diner. It has since had other names including Webbie’s Diner. In the last 20 or so years it has been operated as at least 2 Oriental Restaurants. At the time of the fire, the place was about to reopen as a Latino restaurant called Anafe.

Lynway-Diner-PC-1
A post card of the Lynway Diner created a number of years ago
for a “Diner” exhibit at the Lynn Museum

Lynn-Diner-10
A photo of Worcester Lunch Car as the Lynn Diner after it moved
to Bennett Street. Early 1980s photo by Larry Cultrera
WLC_No-833-2
A photo from last February showing the fire damage, mostly
to the front right corner. Photo by Larry Cultrera

WLC_No-833-4
A photo from last February showing the fire damage, mostly
to the front right corner. Photo by Larry Cultrera

I actually was in Lynn a couple of weeks ago to have lunch at the nearby Capitol Diner and stopped by on the way home to see what was happening to this diner. It looked quite ominous surrounded by a chain-link fence. This past week, some of my photos of this diner surfaced on my Facebook feed as memories so I shared them. Not long after a Facebook friend (Paul Ferrari) left a comment to let me know that the diner had been demolished the week before. I took a ride by this past Sunday afternoon and saw that there was a hole in the ground where the diner had been.

Notes from the Hotline, 11/21/2010

Diner 317 opens in Plaistow, NH


New sign for Diner 317, photo by Larry Cultrera

I got an email from the intrepid Bob Higgins on Thursday. He let me know that Diner 317 opened on Rte. 125 in Plaistow, NH. This was the location of Eggie’s Diner for many years. Eggie’s Diner (the business) moved to a new location in nearby Atkinson, NH earlier this year leaving the early 1950’s Mountain View diner empty. The new partnership of John Woods, his cousin Chris Woods and Justin Behling embarked upon a much needed sprucing up of the building which included completely gutting and then installing a new kitchen. In the diner proper they insisted on  keeping any original details that remained original, installing new lighting and custom made tables with benches!


Sunrise at Diner 317, photo by Larry Cultrera

Denise & I went for breakfast on Saturday morning and I was impressed with the cleanliness as well as the extensive menu. I had a great breakfast and Denise enjoyed the home-made biscuits (almost like dinner rolls) that came from John’s grandmother’s recipe.


Front view of Diner 317 showing the new handicap access ramp leading to the side entrance, photo by Larry Cultrera

Right now, their opening hours are 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday thru Friday. Also they are going to see how 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM hours work for Thursday, Friday and Saturday as well. This of course may change. Diner 317 is located at 127 Plaistow Road (Rte. 125) in Plaistow, NH.

Richard Gutman’s Slide lecture well attended

My brothers Steve and Rick and I attended Dick Gutman’s slide lecture yesterday at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Mass. (my sister-in-law Ann also popped in). It was as usual, well attended! The presentation was the latest in the Museum’s Lowell lecture Series and a coming home of sorts for Mr. Gutman who has assisted the Museum on a slew of different projects many times over the years as well as guest curated along with his wife Kellie two major exhibits there. The first being the landmark “American Diners Then & Now” (1995) and the second “Summer Camp” exhibit (2000).

Dick Gutman’s lecture was called “What Is It about Diners? More Than a Meal, That’s for Sure”, but it could easily have been entitled “Dick Gutman and his Diner Adventures”. It sort of gave a loose account of his personal odyssey researching the history of diners as well as the many memorable characters he has met in his travels!

I was interested to run into 2 people at the lecture that had attended my own slide presentation in Easton this past July. I also met a long-time reader of Diner Hotline – Stefanie Klavens, who had contributed a major article entitled “Art of Movie Theaters” for the Fall, 2003 edition of the SCA (Society for Commercial Archeology) Journal Magazine. This magazine of course is where my own Diner Hotline column ran for 19 years. In fact that particular edition of my column featured “The Origin of Diner Hotline”!

Also attending was John Margarita of Gardner, Mass. who I had not seen in probably 15 years. John had made a video on Diners (that I appeared in) that became a thesis for a graduate degree he received from Cambridge College.

The biggest surprise for me came after the lecture when most of the audience had left. A young man came up to me and called me by name and introduced himself, he said Larry? I’m Mike from the Triangle Diner! I was floored! Mike Lessin who is in the process of completely restoring the Triangle Diner of Winchester, VA, had actually flown up to Boston just to attend the lecture!

We talked for a few minutes then I brought him over so he could meet Dick Gutman who was also amazed and delighted that Mike had made this extreme effort to attend.

New Links in my Blog Roll

Matt & Andrea Simmons’ Clash of the Palates blog

My good friend Matt Simmons and his wife Andrea just started an interesting blog that is appearing through Randy Garbin’s “Riding Shotgun” feature at Roadside  Online. Matt co-wrote with me my post entitled “The Story of the The Abandoned Luncheonette, AKA the Rosedale Diner” post (from August 14th). See…… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/the-story-of-the-the-abandoned-luncheonette-aka-the-rosedale-diner/.

Anyway, Matt and Andrea’s new blog is called “Clash of the Palates” and is basically a review of different restaurants that they check out and usually they each have opinions that differ, making for a point/counterpoint type of  review. Check it out at…..http://www.roadsideonline.com/clash-of-the-palates.

The Diner Project by Warren Green

I recently heard from Warren Green who told me he had also attended my recent slide presentation in July. He sent me a link to his new Website called “The Eclectic Light Company”. This website features his photographs but more important here, he has a page called “The Diner Project”. Check it out at….. http://www.eclecticlightcompany.com/Other/Statement-Diner-Project/14372321_wH8XH.

Theatre Historical Society website and readerboard

Karen Colizzi Noonan recently sent some sample copies of the Theatre Historical Society’s “Marquee” Magazine (Karen is the President of this organization). This was brought to my attention by Beth Lennon of Retro Roadmap http://retroroadmap.com/ who had made a mention in her blog about this and told her readers that for a limited time they could also get some free copies of this magazine as an introduction to this organization that has been around since 1969. So I took advantage of the offer.

Karen emailed me and said she had seen Diner Hotline and wanted to put a link to it on her readerboard. I of course said please do, and that I would reciprocate. So here are 2 links, one to the Website and one to the readerboard. check them out at…. http://www.historictheatres.org/
and…. http://theatrehistoricalsociety.wordpress.com/

Capitol Diner exterior improvements complete!

Bob Fennell of the Captiol Diner (Lynn, Mass.) every few years has to get his 1929 Brill diner repainted. This year was the year it needed to be done. The place was scraped down and some imperfections were corrected and the whole building was primed and then painted. This was all done by the end of August. The only thing that did not happen was the lettering on the outside walls were not repainted. He decided to have new vinyl “decal” type lettering made by the same sign company that used to paint the lettering.


Capitol Diner with primer paint, June 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera


Capitol Diner with new paint job and vinyl lettering
Photo November 21, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

Notes from the Hotline, 10-29-2010

Former Lynn, Mass. Diner opened in New Hampshire

The Riley Bros. Diner formerly located in Lynn, Mass. was moved within the last 5 years to the Ossipee, NH area. I had frequented the diner in the early 1980’s when it traded under names such as The Boston Street Diner and Serino’s Diner. I even recall it was known as Buster’s in the 1970’s.


Boston Street Diner, Boston Street – Lynn, Mass.
November, 1980 photo by Larry Cultrera

 This 1941 vintage Sterling Diner had not served food since the mid-1980’s when a new owner gutted the almost original interior and began running a Balloon & Flower Shop out of the building, until he moved the business around the corner to a larger storefront near the corner of Chestnut Street and Western Avenue a few years ago.


the diner operating as a Balloon & Flower Store, photo by Larry Cultrera


The diner after the Balloon & Flower Store moved out, that is Steve Repucci on the right, checking out the diner not long before it moved to NH!
Photo by Larry Cultrera

The diner stood empty for a short time until the property surrounding the diner and other adjacent buildings was developed for a new branch bank. In 2006 the diner was sold and moved to Madison, NH and is owned by the Silver Lake Railroad (a heritage railroad).


Riley Bros. Diner at new location, circa 2006 photo by Brian Page

Here is a blurb from Wikipedia about the SLRR….  The Silver Lake Railroad opened on July 7, 2007, operating from Madison Station (aka Silver Lake Depot) in the town of Madison. This station was a stop for the Boston and Maine Railroad from 1872 until passenger service ended on the line in 1961. The station has been restored over the period from 2002-2007, and much of its original features are intact. The original order boards and stationmaster office were undisturbed, as well as the interior of the station (now housing the Silver Lake post office), which displays its original varnished woodwork. Check out their website at….
http://www.silverlakerailroad.com/thedinertheslrr.htm

I received word from Bob Higgins not long ago that the diner had undergone a retrofitting and been reopened for limited food service at the Silver Lake Railroad. My pal Steve Repucci was in the area this past weekend and checked the place out (his first time seeing it since that time I shot the photo above with Steve in it) . Steve took the next group of photos…….


October, 2010 photo by Steve Repucci


October, 2010 photo by Steve Repucci


October, 2010 photo by Steve Repucci


October, 2010 photo by Steve Repucci

Steve tells me they are not operating as a regular diner possibly due to town Board of Health regulations and of course the SLRR is only open seasonally, in fact the season has just ended. So this means the diner is now closed until spring!

Richard J. S. Gutman to give new “Diner” Lecture


Diner Historian Richard J. S. Gutman is giving a brand-new lecture at
The National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Mass. 
on Saturday, November 20th at 2:00 PM.

Part of the Museum’s Lowell Lecture series, the presentation is called…

“What Is It about Diners? More Than a Meal, That’s for Sure”

Richard J. S. Gutman, director and curator of the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, will hold an illustrated lecture entitled, “What Is It about Diners? More Than a Meal, That’s for Sure.” Gutman will elaborate based on 40 years of eating and research. The lecture complements the exhibition, “Night Road: Photographs of Diners by John D. Woolf.”  The lecture is Free and open to the public.

The National Heritage Museum is located at……..
33 Marrett Road (At the intersection of Route 2A and Massachusetts Ave.)Lexington, MA 02421

Diner Hotline Weblog celebrates 3rd Anniversary


Yours truly at Lunch Box Diner in Malden, Mass.
Photo by Denise Cultrera

This Sunday, October 31st marks the 3rd anniversary of Diner Hotline being on the Web! I cannot believe 3 years have gone by since I retired the old hard copy column from the SCA Journal and shortly thereafter, with prodding from Brian Butko, this blog was born! As I write this, the blog has gotten 134, 819 hits and I am hopeful that more and more people are discovering Diner Hotline through internet search engines as well as from connections like Facebook and the like! Thanks to all my faithful readers!