More changes for a Diner in Plaistow, NH


Betty-Ann’s Diner, August 13, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

I last made mention of the this diner in Plaistow, NH back in June at the end of the post I did on a short Memorial Day roadtrip. At that time Bob Higgins had sent a mesage about the former Diner 317 and how it was being reopened as Betty’s Diner. Well since then, the diner did reopen on June 25th as Betty- Ann’s Diner. The sightly different name was due to the objections of another restaurant, Betty’s Kitchen in North Hampton, NH. They apparently felt that there would be a conflict of interest if the diner in Plaistow (over 30 miles away) used the Betty’s Diner name.

Owned by the Pentoliros family since it was brand-new in the 1950’s, this is Mounatin Veiw Diner No. 317 and it was originally located on Route 28 in North Reading, Mass. It operated at that location as Pent’s Diner until it was moved to its current location circa 1959. It was operated here by the Pentoliros’s as Hope’s Diner into the early 1970’s but has had quite a few operators and names over the intervening years. I knew it as the Plaistownian Diner, and Route 125 Diner (1980’s) and the longest recently being as Eggie’s Diner, since the early 1990’s. Eggie’s moved to a new location in nearby Atkinson, NH over a year ago leaving the diner vacant. By the end of the summer (2010) it was being renovated and updated so it could reopen as Diner 317. It did reopen in November but unfortunately closed in March of this year.

Denise and I finally got over there for breakfast on Saturday, August 13th. It was not crowded but did have quite a few patrons. I thought the food was good and the service decent. By the end of the next week Bob Higgins had emailed me to say it looked like the diner had closed! It seems the new operator and the owners had some sort of disagreement and the owners decided to get back to operating the diner.


Betty-Ann’s Diner, August 13, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

The following is an article from the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune about the diner. The article incorrectly states the latest person to run the diner, Anthony Raia only operated it for a month. (It was more like a month and a half). It also says the Pentoliros family bought it in 1959. As stated above, they bought it brand-new in 1952 and moved it to Plaistow in 1959.

Plaistow Diner Changes Hands Again
By Cara Hogan

PLAISTOW — The diner at 127 Plaistow Road has changed hands yet again, this time going back to the original owners.

After just a month, BettyAnn’s diner is no longer run by Haverhill resident Anthony Raia. The Pentoliros family owns the property and has taken over the diner.

What happened is in question, with Raia and the Pentoliros family offering different versions. But Raia is out and BettyAnn’s reopened Thursday as Hope’s.

Perry Pentoliros said he and his brother Larry are operating the diner, rather than leasing it to someone else. Larry Pentoliros said their first two days of business went well.

“We did some business,” he said. “It was at full capacity.”

The diner has a long history; it has changed hands and names many times. The Pentoliros family bought the diner in 1959. They operated it first as Pents and later Hope’s for decades.

The family got out of the restaurant business in the early 1990s, leasing the 8-acre property to Eggies for 17 years. That restaurant moved to Atkinson in 2010.

Diner 317 opened early this year, with a focus on using local food. The diner closed in March, just months after it opened.

Raia leased the property in June and opened for business June 25, under the name BettyAnn’s. He painted the authentic 1950s diner pink and hoped to play up the nostalgic feel to make his diner a local landmark.

“We want to bring this back to a ’50s-type diner,” Raia said when it opened.

The dream didn’t last long. Now, Perry Pentoliros said, the family is tired of dealing with tenants.

But Hope’s opened prematurely. The Pentoliroses took over last week, but the business was still in Raia’s name. The town health officer closed them down Aug. 18.

“During a change of ownership, many times both owners work through the process,” Denise Horrocks said. “That wasn’t taking place, so they closed until the change of ownership could be official.”

The diner re-opened once the paperwork was completed.

“It opened early (Thursday),” Horrocks said, “They passed the compliance inspection (Wednesday).”

Larry Pentoliros said they worked hard to put in new kitchen equipment, get a new menu together and get the restaurant ready to open.

“We had to do warp speed to get the diner open,” he said.

Perry Pentoliros said he wanted to get the diner open and start making some money as soon as possible. Neither he nor his brother has worked in the diner business, but their father ran the diner for many years. Pentoliros said it’s important for them to keep the diner going.

“My brother Larry and I are going to run it to keep my mother’s legacy alive,” he said. “We’re changing it back to Hope’s diner, named for my mother.”

The name will change, but the color won’t. The brothers will keep the bright pink paint.

Well, let’s see how long it operates under the Hope’s Diner name. I am intrigued to see the owners will run it and wish them luck with high hopes for increased business. I know Bob Higgins will keep me posted!

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