Change in ownership for Peabody, Mass’. Little Depot Diner


The Little Depot Diner, as seen today

I just received word that the Little Depot Diner of Peabody, Mass. has had a change in ownership. This diner, Worcester Lunch Car No. 650, started its working life as Harry’s Diner in Lynn, circa 1929. It later became Cal’s Diner in Danvers for a time before settling on Railroad Ave. in Peabody around 1950. It operated under names here such as Holly’s Diner and Kurly’s Diner. It closed as Kurly’s around 1982 or 83 and was sold to Marianna Cox who operated it up to the late 1990’s as the Railroad Diner. Ms. Cox passed away and the diner was sold to Barbara Henry who kept the railroad theme but renamed it the Whistlestop Diner.

Kurly's-Diner-1a
Kurly’s Diner, circa 1981

In 2008 the diner once more changed hands when it was bought by Jim & Judy Miles who renamed it yet again, this time as the Little Depot Diner. The Miles family managed to bring the diner back to a level of service and popularity it had not seen since Mort & Inez Kurland operated it (as Kurly’s).  It was even on a segment of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

In September of 2011 when my book “Classic Diners of Massachusetts” had been printed but not yet released, I heard that the diner had closed abruptly which concerned me just a little bit as it was one of the featured diners in the book. This made the info obsolete before the book had officially hit the shelves! Luckily within about 3 weeks the Miles family reopened it with extremely short operating hours, basically just serving breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays while they looked for potential buyers for the business.

I was contacted today by Peter Scanlon who informed me his son Ross and daughter-in-law Alicia took over operation of the diner and opened on November 10, 2012.  Ross and Alicia are quoted as saying “the Miles family have been great about showing them the ropes and introducing them to the regular customers”. Peter went on to say that Ross and Alicia are on their honeymoon this week but will be back open for weekends starting the December 15th. After the first of year they’ll gear up to be open 6 days for breakfast and lunch. The response has been very positive with lots of return guests.

I want to wish Ross and Alicia Scanlon good luck in their new endeavor as well as congratulations on the recent marriage. Big changes in their life for sure! I look forward to meeting them in the near future and checking out the menu at the diner!

Notes from the Hotline, 5-20-2012

Documentary about Providence, RI’s Haven Brothers Diner in the works!


Haven Brothers Diner in Providence, RI…. April 19, 2012 photo
by Larry Cultrera

Jeff Toste of Ramp Media Lab has started filming footage for a new documentary entitled…. “Haven Brothers, Legacy of the American Diner” for which I was interviewed on camera back in April (hopefully my part won’t end up on the cutting room floor). Haven Brothers, the legendary mobile food cart that sets up outside providence City Hall every night can trace its roots back to a horse-drawn lunch wagon in the 1880’s.


Haven Brothers Diner in Providence, RI. That is Jeff Toste on the left, filming the diner in the process of setting up next to City Hall.
April 19, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

Although Jeff has received some funding to continue the process, he is no where near close enough, money-wise to finish the film. Therefore he is starting a Kickstarter Campaign that interested people can donate to, to help him reach his goal. Below is the flyer for the debut of the Kickstarter event at the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University

A documentary about a Providence icon – the oldest operating American diner on wheels

Produced by Ramp Media Lab, and made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 – 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the
Culinary Arts Museum
315 Harborside Boulevard
Providence,RI 02905
www.culinary.org

RSVP required byMonday, May 21, 2012
phone number is (401) 598-2805

Suggested donation: $10
All proceeds will support the production of the film

The Haven Brothers food truck will be parked outside of the museum for the evening, with plenty of tasty fare available for purchase.

Do you have a Haven Brothers story you would like to share? Interviews will be conducted at the museum, in the diner exhibit!

Museum Director Richard J.S. Gutman will be on hand to introduce Jeff at this event as well as speak about mobile lunch wagons, and food carts through the years. Being that this event is on a week night, I will not be attending but I urge anyone who might be interested to RSVP by tomorrow (although Richard Gutman clued me in that they will except all RSVP’s right up to Thursday!), or at the very least donate to the Kick starter campaign! Other links are……

http://www.havenbrothersmovie.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Haven-Brothers-Movie/177008755666409

@HavenBrosMovie on Twitter

http://www.rampmedialab.com/

Red’s Kitchen + Tavern of Peabody, Mass. opens


Red’s Kitchen + Tavern, U.S. Route 1 North, Peabody, Mass.
May 19, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

Red’s Kitchen + Tavern has opened as of Tuesday, May 15, 2012 on the former site of the late lamented Bel-Aire Diner. The restaurant is part of a larger building that was built on the site that will house other businesses sometime in the near future. This new restaurant is related to a long-time fixture in downtown Salem, Mass…… Red’s Sandwich Shop. The original Red’s is known for their breakfasts and lunches and the new place will feature the signature meals as well. But it will also be open for dinner and has a full liquor license.


Red’s Kitchen + Tavern, U.S. Route 1 North, Peabody, Mass.
May 19, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

When this new development was started, the Bel-Aire Diner was actually still going to be a part of the complex, built into the new building. But it seems when Red’s became part of the equation, the diner was nixed! It seems with all probability that the new people thought the diner was in pretty bad shape and would have been limiting to the size of the restaurant they envisioned operating. The new place seats over 200 people and has a small dining room on the back that could be used for functions and meetings. It is nice and clean and features “U-shaped” counters similar to Red’s in Salem as well as a nicely appointed dining room. The open kitchen is also remeniscent of the original Red’s.

Denise and I had breakfast yesterday at Red’s and were nicely impressed by the place! (I should have gotten interior shots). I wish the owners well and hope for their success at this brand-new location! For those who want to check the place out for themselves Red’s Kitchen + Tavern is located at 131 Newbury St. (U.S. Rte. 1),  Peabody, Ma 01960, phone: 978-531-7337
The Hours of Operation are… Sunday: 6 AM – 10 PM, Monday thru Wednesday: 5 AM – 10 PM and Thursday thru Saturday: 5 AM – 11 PM

http://www.redskitchenandtavern.com/Home_Page.html

New storage spot for Bel-Aire Diner

As I posted a few days ago, the Bel-Aire Diner (Peabody, Mass.) was relocated to the back right corner of the property where it operated since the early 1950’s. Owner John Kallas had been quoted as saying if they did not sell the diner in a reasonable period of time, he would move it to the back of the lot and possibly shrink-wrap it. Well, as construction progresses on the new building, it was determined that the diner was now in the way so now it sits in a small, fenced-in corner with its detached entryway standing a few feet away. Here are some photos I shot Friday afternoon after work…..


Bel-Aire Diner in storage, photo March 25, 2011 by Larry Cultrera
note the entryway to the left.


Entryway to Bel-Aire Diner in storage, photo March 25, 2011
by Larry Cultrera


Bel-Aire Diner in storage, photo March 25, 2011 by Larry Cultrera

So, if anyone is still interested, the Kallas family is looking to sell the diner for $50,000. You might be able to contact them thru….
http://www.peabodytruckstop.com/

Bel-Aire Diner moved to rear of lot (as predicted)

Well, those photos on my previous post show the Bel-Aire Diner in its last couple of weeks fronting directly on U.S. Rte. 1 in Peabody, Mass. As I said at the bottom of that post, I did not think the diner would remain where it was for long as construction on the new building was progressing fairly quick. This morning I drove by at about 5:45am and it was still up on cribbing in front of the new building. This afternoon was a different story, it was gone! So as I drove I looked and sure enough, the diner was now in the extreme rear of the lot to the right of the gas station surrounded by a fence. The entryway vestibule was removed and I assume it is in pieces with the diner behind that fence.

Here is a photo from better days when it was still operating…..


Bel-Aire Diner, photo by Larry Cultrera

Bel Aire Diner to become Red’s Kitchen & Tavern

I got an email yesterday from Robert DeCristoforo, a friend and former coworker of mine. The email had a link to an article from the July 7th Salem News, (Salem, Mass.) about the upcoming plans for the Bel Aire Diner located on U.S. Rte. 1 in Peabody, Mass. This article confirmed info that I already knew and posted about back in April, see…. https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/notes-from-the-hotline-4-10-2010/

 The Bel Aire Diner is a large Mountain View Diner from the early 1950’s that has been closed for a number of years. It is just up the northbound side of U.S. Rte. 1 from the Sonic Drive-In that was opened almost a year ago.

 

Here is the Salem News article….

July 7, 2010

Red’s plans to open Route 1 restaurant, too

By Matthew K. Roy
Staff writer

PEABODY — Red’s Sandwich Shop, a culinary institution in downtown Salem since 1945, could be coming to Route 1 in Peabody.

Owner John Drivas has plans to open a second Red’s at the site of the long-shuttered Bel-Aire Diner on Route 1 north. It will be called Red’s Kitchen and Tavern.

“For our type of operation,” Drivas said, “it’s a perfect location.”

Red’s made a name for itself in Salem by offering an affordable variety of traditional breakfast and lunch menu options. Pending the approval of the city, the Peabody version of the restaurant could open by late fall or early next year in a new commercial building that will house multiple tenants. Ground could be broken on the project as early as next week, said David Ankeles, lawyer of property owner John Kallas.

“We’ve been looking (to expand) for some time,” Drivas said.

The third owner in its history, Drivas has run Red’s for 23 years. The Peabody location will reflect the menu and concept of the original restaurant.

Though still in the planning stages, the new restaurant is projected to be 5,000 square feet with seating for 175. It will offer breakfast, lunch and, unlike the original Red’s, dinner. The proposed operating hours are 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., according to a special permit application filed with the City Council.

“Red’s has got a good reputation, I’m sure they’ll have a positive impact in that area,” City Councilor Dave Gamache said.

Gamache represents the ward where Red’s is slated to locate.

“As soon as we can get that corner developed, the better off we’ll be,” he said.

Red’s needs the council to grant it a special permit because it intends to sell alcohol. Drivas is seeking a full liquor license. In Salem, he operates with a beer and wine license.

“It has every type of restaurant you can think of, but I don’t feel that Route 1 has a Red’s,” Drivas said. “It will be a great addition to the city of Peabody and the Route 1 area.”

The site will have 130 parking spaces and provide day and overnight parking for tractor-trailers. Among the businesses in the nearly 21,000-square-foot building will be a convenience store and motorcycle shop, Ankeles said.

But Red’s will be the primary draw.

“I hope (Drivas) gets a chance to do a bang-up job up there,” Ankeles said. “He’s a good guy, and he has a great reputation.”

Regular customers of the original Red’s need not worry. Nothing will change there, Drivas said.

The Central Street hot spot is popular among locals and visitors to Salem and has served its share of luminaries, particularly from the world of politics.

The late Sen. Ted Kennedy dined there, so has Sen. John Kerry, former Gov. Mitt Romney and first lady Barbara Bush.

Red’s would become part of a restaurant revival on Route 1 in Peabody. A new Sonic restaurant has thrived since opening last summer.

Santarpio’s, a famous, family-run East Boston pizzeria, is transforming the former Bennigan’s restaurant on Route 1 north into its 300-seat North Shore home. The Peabody venture will be the pizzeria’s second location, after 107 years in business.

The Bel-Aire Diner went out of business in 2006.

Because of its summer recess, the council will not take up Red’s special permit application until late August.

I personally do not like that Red’s owners are planning not to use “Diner” in the name of the new restaurant. Instead of “Red’s Kitchen & Tavern” they could  name it “Red’s Kitchen & Tavern at the Bel Aire Diner”, or how about “Red’s Bel Aire Diner”, just thinking! – LAC

Thanks for the link Robert!

Notes from the Hotline, 4-10-2010

Site of Bel Aire Diner slated for development.

The Bel Aire Diner of Peabody, Mass. has been closed for 3 or 4 years. Rumors have flown since this 1952 vintage Mountain View Diner closed about a reopening but nothing was happening until recently. A couple of months ago an article from the Boston Globe mentioned that of all the developments proposed for U.S. Rte. 1 in the Peabody/Danvers area the resurrection of the parcel where the Bel Aire Diner and it’s companion Best Gas Station are was the most likely to proceed.

Within the last 2 weeks a sign appeared on the stanchions of the Gas Station sign, check this out….

On closer examination you can see the diner incorporated into this larger 2 story building that will house other businesses besides the diner.

The reported facts are the diner is to be moved back on the lot and placed on a new foundation and as the artist’s rendering shows, be incorporated into the larger building. The article also mentioned the whole place (gas station & diner) will be an expanded “truck stop”. I also heard from Bob Fennell of the Capitol Diner that when the Bel Aire Diner reopens, it will be operated by the same people who run Red’s Sandwich Shop in downtown Salem, Mass.

In the above photo you can see the excavator that has been parked to the side of the diner for most of the winter. I will continue to watch this as I drive by it every day on the way to and from work.

Agawam Diner “play” to run in Newburyport

I first heard about this a few weeks ago from Randy Garbin of Roadside Online…. the North Shore’s beloved Agawam Diner is now immortalized in an original play written by Josh Faigen. I hope to get a chance to see it before it closes. My pal Steve Repucci and his wife Mary Lou are attending the show tonight so I will hear how it was when I talk to him on Monday morning.

Here is the piece that was written by Correspondent Wendy Killeen for the Boston Globe last weekend…

Daily special: a play

Noted for its home-cooked food, Rowley diner now has a role in Newburyport playwright’s work

Two evenings a week for several years, Josh Faigen drove his son from Newburyport to Rowley to study with a tutor who lived near the Agawam Diner. During the session, he’d go in for coffee.

“This is the best place you can spend an hour when you don’t have anything else to do,’’ Faigen said recently at the diner. “He used to sit there and drink coffee and have pie and not say much,’’ said Angela Galanis Mitchell, an Agawam waitress for 21 years and part of the family that has owned it since 1940. She didn’t know much about Faigen, but, she said, “I knew he was observing.’’

Faigen is a playwright. And, yes, he was taking note of everything going on in the 54-seat diner, so that he could write about it. His play, “The Agawam,’’ debuts at The Actors Studio in Newburyport Thursday and runs through April 25. “This is an infinite resource for writers,’’ Faigen said. “Everybody here is really welcoming and they have never been surprised by anything, ever. Stuff happens in here. It’s the zeitgeist of this place.’’

He recalled an older man who was asked by another patron if he still played the tuba. “He brought it in from his car and played Christmas carols to rousing applause and then put it back in his car,’’ Faigen said.

Tuba Man is one of eight characters in the play, but the only one based on a real person. Others are composites or fictional. Set entirely in the diner, the play also features a waitress, cashier, cook, salesman, old man and his girlfriend, and the Man of God.

What it is about, Faigen is at a loss to say. “I couldn’t tell you what it’s about, and I wouldn’t even if I could,’’ he said. “I only wrote the play,’’ he continued. “It becomes a whole layer cake, of my work at the beginning, Stephen Haley’s work as the director, the actors’ work, and then the audience’s work. By the time it gets on stage, there are so many more layers of meaning, emotion, and story. I can’t know what it’s about because it isn’t finished until it’s actually performed.’’

In promotional material for the play, publicist Jay Tormey describes the plot: “People drink coffee. They eat pie. Someone dies. A miracle happens, maybe two. Then everyone’s life shifts a few degrees in a better direction. Or maybe not.’’

Faigen, 55, grew up in New Mexico. He majored in piano performance and philosophy at Colgate University in upstate New York. “So, you can see I was prepared for the world,’’ he said with a laugh. For almost 25 years he lived in Pittsburgh, where he met his wife, Penny Lazarus. He had a traditional typesetting business but as the industry waned, the couple decided to move, choosing Newburyport in 2000 because it’s near the ocean. 

In the 1990s he worked for a high-tech company on Route 128. He was laid off but now works as a consultant for the same company, which builds large composition equipment. With neighbors who are playwrights, the couple soon tapped into Newburyport’s fertile theater community. At a party, Faigen was introduced to Marc Clopton, founder and executive director of The Actors Studio, and mentioned he was interested in plays, although he had never written one. He said Clopton told him, “Anyone can write plays; you just have to have lived.’’

A few months later, Faigen started writing, and he also joined an author’s group. His first play, “Our Nation’s Capitol,’’ was inspired by a visit to a local assisted living facility. He has since written comedies, dramas, and experimental plays. And he has received recognition, from winning the New Works Festival at the Firehouse Center in Newburyport several times to having his work staged in theaters elsewhere. Lazarus said a turning point came about three years ago.

“There was a point when someone asked him what he did,’’ she said. “He’d answer, ‘I’m a playwright with a day job.’ That was a very crucial, significant turn. It said a lot to his family, to himself, and to anyone else.’’ “Theater is really, really fun,’’ Faigen said. “It was never my lifelong dream, but it is very habit-forming.’’

Now the entire family, including the couple’s sons Adlai, 16, and Max, 10, are involved in theater and the arts. Clopton said because Faigen is “not steeped in [theatrical] tradition he plays outside the box. His plays are unique and unexpected, and therefore exciting and refreshing.

“He has a great sense of humor and ironic eye for human nature and a great soulfulness,’’ Clopton said. “He sort of speaks to that part of us that is hard to define; a part of ourselves we hesitate to share in casual conversation that is deep, mystical, and puzzling.’’

Mitchell said having a play written about her family’s diner “is cool and an honor . . . I’m definitely going to see it.’’

“The Agawam,’’ by Josh Faigen, directed by Stephen Haley; April 8-25,  The Actors Studio, The Tannery, Newburyport. 978-465-1229, www.newburyportacting.org.

Last weekend’s revisit to Mendon

Last weekend the weather was so nice that I convinced Denise that we should take a ride out to Mendon (Mass.) and have lunch at the Miss Mendon Diner. The diner was doing a steady business and we had a pleasant lunch. Denise had a cup of Chicken Noodle soup and I had a Grilled Cheese on Wheat with french fries. Nothing too heavy but we both enjoyed what we ate!

We also talked briefly with General Manager Michael O’ Donovan and met his wife Jennifer as well. He showed us where the original porcelain panels that said “Newport” (the diner was originally the Miss Newport Diner) were now hung on an interior wall next door at one of Imperial Auto’s service buildings along with some of the antique signage that owner Kevin Meehan has collected.

When we left the Miss Mendon we drove down the street about a mile to the entrance to the Myriad Ballroom. I had been curious to see if things had changed since 1983 when I first saw the former stainless steel diner that had been added on to the ballroom years before. David Hebb had shown me some photos he took of this place before I ended up seeing it myself. I would guess that the diner is being used as kitchen facilities for the ballroom which is itself being utillized as a function hall.


The former diner at the Myriad Ballroom from January, 1983 


The former diner at the Myriad Ballroom from January, 1983 

From the above 2 photos you can see that there was some stainless steel (albeit painted white) still covering the right side and the adjacent front portion (for about the width of 2 windows). With the exception of the corner window, all the other windows had been closed in.

I took a couple of more shots last week showing that new siding was placed on the diner to incorporate it more seemlessly into the whole building…

The only real identifying feature is the rounded corner with it’s window still intact. My guess is this is a Jerry O’Mahony diner from the early 1950’s. I also heard that this may have been relocated from somewhere in Rhode Island.

Murphy’s Diner lives on!

This weekend marks the 29th anniversary of when I shot my first photo of a diner. I posted previously about this at the end of last month. In thinking back on these last 29 years and all the diners I have photographed (since that first shot of the Bypass Diner of Harrisburg, PA), some of my most intriguing shots have been of closed or abandoned diners (like the former Rosedale Diner, Daryl Hall & John Oates Abandoned Luncheonette in my header).

Possibly the first abandoned diner I ever documented was one I found in Haverhill, Mass. It was the summer of 1981 and if I remember correctly my brother Rick and I were driving north on state Rte. 97. I had passed thru downtown Haverhill and was just going over I-495 heading toward Methuen, Mass. and Salem, NH. Just over on the left past I-495 was an old farmhouse with some trees behind it. Peeking out from behind the trees was the side elevation facade of a stainless steel late 1940’s or early 1950’s diner.

Below, you can see the photos from my first visit to Murphy’s in Haverhill…..


Left side close-up. This is the side you could see from the road,
just a different angle. You can see where the roof of the kitchen
building was cut away in this view.
August, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera


Front side view almost hidden by the trees.
August, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera


Front right corner view.
August, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera


Right rear view also showing where the roof of the kitchen was cut
away. August, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

I stopped to check it out and actually talked to some people who lived in the house. They were just renting the accomodations and told me their landlord owned the diner as well as the property. They did not know anything about the diner but gave me the name of the owner. I did some sluething and actually got a phone number for the owner.

I subsequently called him one day soon after to ask about the diner. He was somewhat reluctant to say much about it and was a tad suspicious of me and my motives. I finally convinced him that I was conducting a personal research project, documenting diners (he probably thought I was nuts). I told him when I saw a diner up on blocks in a yard behind a house, I felt compelled to find out where the diner came from.

He eventually told me that it was the former Murphy’s Diner of Cambridge, Mass. I later showed the photos to my diner buddy David Hebb and he showed me a book he had in his personal library published in 1977 by the Cambridge Historical Commission. The book was entitled  Survey of Architectural History of Cambridge, Northwest Cambridge and Survey Index written and researched primarily by Arthur Krim. (Arthur and I were to become friends and collegues in the Society for Commercial Archeology not too long after).

On page 149 of this book there was a photo and a short blurb about Murphy’s Diner. Here is what a partial scan of the page showed…

Following are a closer view of the photo and the info on the page…



In preparation for this post, Dick Gutman sent me info from his database about the diner with some interesting notes, among them a mention that the diner left Cambridge in 1968. I mentioned to Dick about the 1970 date from the book and he acknowledged that he wasn’t sure where that info he had came from. This had prompted me to contact Arthur Krim.

I spoke with Arthur today (November 29th) for some background and to confirm the date he had written (as to when the diner left Cambridge). He said by the time they were doing the research for the book in 1971 the diner was already gone. Luckily the photo of the diner was shot just prior to the move in anticipation of the research. He also mentioned city permits and other info that were obtained in the research that verified the facts.

 The diner remained in Haverhill until June of 1993 when (according to Richard Gutman’s notes) it was bought by Charles Gutzos (who contracted with Brian Payne) who moved the diner to Peabody, Mass. Gutzos had plans to restore and reuse the diner but these plans never came to fruition due to Gutzos’ passing away suddenly.


Murphy’s in storage just off Pulaski Street in Peabody, Mass.
June, 1994 photo by Larry Cultrera


Murphy’s in storage just off Pulaski Street in Peabody, Mass.
June, 1994 photo by Larry Cultrera


Interior of Murphy’s Diner when in Peabody, Mass.
June, 1994 photo by Larry Cultrera

The diner again stayed in storage for the next 2 years in Peabody when it was bought on March 3, 1995 by Pendragon a British Automobile Dealership located in the town of Derby, who specialized in  selling classic 1950’s American vehicles. The diner was placed on a container ship and sailed over to the United Kingdom on April 28, 1995 where it underwent a $200, 000 restoration and was put into service as The Motown Diner. The Motown Diner went out of business by 1997.


Exterior photo of the Motown Diner in Derby, England 
July, 1996 photo by Richard Gutman


Dick Gutman in front of the Motown Diner in Derby, England 
July, 1996 photo by Kellie Gutman


Interior photo of the Motown Diner in Derby, England 
July, 1996 photo by Richard Gutman

After the Motown Diner closed it remained in storage for quite a few years again. The next chapter of Murphy’s Diner starts up in 2004. Enter Jeff Laight and Trish Whitehouse of S. Derbyshire, England. They actually bought the diner through a listing on Ebay! They now operate it as the 50’s American Diner in Church Gresley, S. Derbyshire. I have been in contact with them for a couple of years and actually was able to clue them into a copy of the Cambridge Historical Commission’s book which they bought on Amazon.com. I emailed them recently for this post and here are their own words on how they found the diner….

We bought the diner off ebay after looking for a farm in Wales (strange I know but thats us for you), it was sitting behind an Aston Martin dealership in Derby and had been left to the elements and not in a good state at all. It had smaashed windows all the electrics when removed from its last site had just been ripped out of the ground. The roof was leaking, etc. and the list went on.


The 50’s American Diner photo courtesy of
Jeff Laight & Trish Whitehouse
 
When we had bought the diner we did not know how to move it as moving diners is not the norm in England. We contacted many companies specializing in moving large stuff by road, one company said they would take it to pieces and move it in vans!! After many quotes we eventually settled on Darren Wilson Lifting Solutions because of its location and weight the crane we had to use was a 200 ton crane made up of 2 parts and a specialist lorry from Heanor Haulage.
 
During its journey to Church Gresley they took a wrong turn and were then stuck in traffic calming but only knocked 1 post over! After she landed on site, a year of never ending jobs started. Going before the planning permisision was a nightmare! The local council treated the building as a new build even though it was 50 years old, they tried to get us to double glaze the windows!!


The 50’s American Diner photo courtesy of
Jeff Laight & Trish Whitehouse
 
During the rebuild we had to renew all electrics re do the exterior, IE: take all the panels off at which point we found that most of the panels had been replaced with fibreglass copies which was a great shame. We also added a new toilet and washing up building at the rear. This all sounds very simple but it really wasn’t. We opened 22nd August 2005 and we are still here so we must be doing something right!
 

The 50’s American Diner photo courtesy of
Jeff Laight & Trish Whitehouse 
 
During the last 4 1/2 years we have enjoyed our time as diner owners and looking forward to the next 4 1/2 years. Since opening the diner has been featured on BBC TV, ITV, Sky Radio and of course KHQ TV in the USA.
Last year we were named as 1 of the top 25 webcams of the world by Earthcam and top 10 in March 2008. We have tailoured the menu to English tastes whilst still keeping to the diner’s history where we could. We have a chap here that makes us rootbeer to an old recipe too.
 

The 50’s American Diner photo courtesy of
Jeff Laight & Trish Whitehouse

The 50’s American Diner photo courtesy of
Jeff Laight & Trish Whitehouse
 
This brings me to June of this year, I did my Power Point presentation called Local Roadside Memories at the Medford, Mass. Public Library for the Medford Historical Society. It was well received by the packed room of attendees. One of the people who attended was Maryellen McCarthy of Medford. She asked me after the show if I knew anything about Murphy’s Diner that used to be in Cambridge.
 
She mentioned that she and her friends who attended Matignon High School (a Catholic High School in North Cambridge) were regular customers in the mid-to-late 1950’s of the diner as it was located about 1 or 2 blocks away from the school. She also mentioned that she had an old menu from Murphy’s in her posession. I of course told her the diner still existed and that there was a link on my blog to their website.
 
Front and back of Murphy’s Diner menu
courtesy of Maryellen McCarthy
 


Inside pages of Murphy’s Diner menu
courtesy of Maryellen McCarthy

 
Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when I received a phone call from Maryellen. She was excited to tell me about something she organized. After She told me her news I asked her to email me all the details so I could post it in Diner Hotline! This is what she wrote…. 
 
After I attended your lecture at the Medford Public Library (Local Roadside Memories) and learned that the Murphy’s Diner in North Cambridge (where I went for French fries and a Coke after school with Matignon classmates) had been moved to the UK you gave me an idea – why not celebrate our 70th birthdays together in a booth in the original Murphy’s Diner in Swadlincote, Derbyshire UK?  The diner has been fully restored and is operating as a diner/museum, a trbute to 1950s America according to their website. I emailed as many of my Class of 1957 classmates as I could find, made some phone calls, got in touch with the diner owners and so far have a group of twelve and likely more who will be traveling to the UK and visiting the diner on Monday, May 3rd 2010.

 Jeff and Trish, the owners, are just as excited; “over the moon” is the expression. I emailed a picture of an original Murphy’s menu that I still have and we have been exchanging emails since. They are arranging for the Friends of the American Diner Auto Club  to pick us up at the railway station in vintage American cars and I understand they have been in touch with the BBC to alert them about this “human interest” story.

 Thank you Larry, you have started what I know is going to be a really fun event for us and for the diner people. They told me they never thought they would ever meet anyone who had actually sat in a booth in their diner. They have named a dish they serve “The 2525 Massachusetts Avenue” for the original address in North Cambridge and pictures of the Matignon Class of ’57 cheerleaders and football team now hang on their wall.

I am flattered that I got to play a small role in this little adventure that Maryellen and her friends are going to embark on next spring.