New home for Hometown Diner

The Silver Diner Restaurant not showing too much silver (stainless steel)
Note that the sign says “Trailer For Sale” (I hate when people refer to diners
as trailers!) photo courtesy of Steve Harwin & Diversified Diners

Once upon a time there was a place called the Silver Diner located in London, Kentucky. This was a 1947 Silk City Diner built by the Paterson Vehicle Company of Paterson, NJ (actually, it turns out it is a 1949 vintage No. 4931). The Silver diner was a little worse for wear when it closed at the end of 2005. Steve Harwin of Cleveland, Ohio’s Diversified Diners heard about the closed diner and that it was available. Steve went down to Kentucky to inspect the diner and here is his description of what he found…..

It had a front entrance and a side entrance but the vestibule was missing. There were two doors leading out the back of the diner, a center door for the access to an annex kitchen and the door on the right side leading into additional seating area and rest rooms.

Steve also told me in a recent phone conversation that 90% of the original stainless steel facade had been stripped off when the T-111 wooden paneling was added to the facade, (as the photos show). Also, another roof had been built that incorporated the diner with the attached building. Only the stainless steel trim around the windows and the corner pieces were left intact from the diners original facade. When Harwin decided to obtain the diner, he got a crew together to extract it from the remaining structure and remove it from its site for transport back to Cleveland.

The Silver Diner in process of being extracted from the attached building.
photo courtesy of Steve Harwin & Diversified Diners

Interior view of the Silver Diner shows that a huge amount of originality existed on the inside as compared to the outside.
photo courtesy of Steve Harwin & Diversified Diners

Another interior view of the Silver Diner.
photo courtesy of Steve Harwin & Diversified Diners

As Steve Harwin goes on to say….  The diner was configured by the factory to seat 52 but we modified it slightly to allow for more spacious seating and ADA accessibility.  It measures approximately 40 foot long by 15 foot wide. It took 8 months to restore the diner for new owner Matthias Kaplanow.

Steve told me this restoration was a challenge for him. Even though he had restored quite a few Silk City Diners, all of those previous diners had porcelain enameled steel panels and not the stainless steel panels that these slightly newer models had. To assist in the restoration he traveled to Meriden, CT and took numerous photos of  the former New Palace Diner now operating as Cassidy’s Diner, which was a similar model. The photos helped him replicate the stainless steel panels that he then had to figure out how to install properly. The restoration of this was completed in 2010 and Steve was justifiably proud of the outcome. The diner was then moved to Ottawa, Ohio where Kaplanow, a German national had some property. He opened the establishment as the Hometown Diner.

Front elevation of the Hometown Diner after installation in Ottawa, OH
photo courtesy of Steve Harwin & Diversified Diners

Side elevation of the Hometown Diner after installation in Ottawa, OH
This shows the kitchen and dining room addition with matching stainless
steel facade. photo courtesy of Steve Harwin & Diversified Diners

Interior view of the Hometown Diner after installation in Ottawa, OH
photo courtesy of Steve Harwin & Diversified Diners

Unfortunately, Matt Kaplanow was under the mistaken impression that he could run the diner from his home in Germany. This arrangement did not work out and the diner was closed in 2012. Around this same time ironically  I received an email from Evie Goodspeed, (on July 10, 2012 to be exact). Evie works for Tim Halliday, the owner of 202 Truck & Equipment located in Rindge, NH. She told me in this email that they had been looking for the past year for a Diner for sale and have not had much luck. In Evie’s email to me, she basically wanted to know if I was aware of any diners in the Northeast that might be for sale. She went on to say…. we have the ability to move a diner ourselves. Any info you might have would be great.

I got back to Evie and suggested she get in touch with Dave Pritchard of Salisbury, Mass. who had 2 or 3 diners possibly for sale. She immediately answered that they had known about Dave and already checked out what diners he had, basically deciding the diners did not meet their requirements. I also told Evie about Steve Harwin and she immediately said that they had actually been in contact with Steve but communication was moving very slowly. In fact Steve ultimately told them he did not have a diner at that point in time available for sale.

So I then mentioned the former Forbes Diner in New Haven, CT which off the top of my head was the only other one I could think of at that time that was available and ready to move.  I gave her whatever contact info I had for that diner and Tim immediately decided to go down to inspect it the next day, ultimately deciding that that particular diner needed too much work. I did not hear from Evie or Tim again after that. It seems their luck would change not too long after this when Steve Harwin called to let them know of the availability of the closed Hometown Diner.

Fast forward to about a month ago…. I read online that a new diner was coming to Rindge, NH. I started reading the piece and then the light bulb went off…. I know who this is and what diner they are buying! I immediately got on the phone and talked with Evie. I said to her (without identifying myself), I see you people got the diner you were looking for! She laughed and I then identified myself and she said they had mentioned my name within the last few days and were going to let me know about the news…. but I beat them to it.

The diner was moved from Ohio to New Hampshire shortly after I spoke with Evie in early June.  Denise and I decided to take a ride this past Sunday to take a look at the diner which was reportedly already installed on a foundation at its new location, the intersection of U.S. Rte. 202 and State Rte. 119. It was a beautiful day for the ride and I was able to take quite a few great photos of the diner ….

Hometown Diner at its new location in New Hampshire
June 9, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hometown Diner at its new location in New Hampshire
June 9, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hometown Diner at its new location in New Hampshire
June 9, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hometown Diner at its new location in New Hampshire
June 9, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior photo of the Hometown Diner, June 9, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Looks like I can still rock these thru-the-window interior shots – Thanks
Dick Gutman!!!!!

Hometown Diner at its new location in New Hampshire
June 9, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

I tried to get in touch with Tim before I took the ride out to Rindge. I actually spoke to his wife Anne who told me to stop by the 202 Truck & Equipment business as Tim would be there. I did stop but the place seemed closed and no one was there. I called Tim’s house and again spoke with Anne after I got back. I asked her about the entryway and other pieces of the diner. She told me they were in a storage trailer along with that great neon sign it had in Ottawa, OH. So, I did not get a chance to meet Tim or Evie on this trip as it was sort of spur of the moment, but that will come in the future! I did eventually speak with Tim the next morning and he told me that he hopes to have the diner up and running by September. He will not be operating it himself but is in negotiations with interested people who are very experienced in running a food establishment. I certainly will be keeping tabs on this and will update the progress as well as hope to be there when the diner opens!