I will be doing a slide presentation in conjunction with the Plaistow Historical Society this coming Friday afternoon. It will be held at the Plaistow Public Library, 85 Main Street (Route 121A) at 3:00 PM. I will have a small supply of my books (Classic Diners of Massachusetts) and (New Hampshire Diners, Classic Granite State Eateries) for sale as well. The slide presentation is based on my NH Diners book, but slightly expanded.
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.
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!
I decided I needed to get to southeastern Massachusetts over the long weekend for some new photos. These would be for my “Classic Diners of Massachusetts” book. I am attempting to use entirely all-new photos for all the diners I am “featuring” in the book, mainly so I can show these diners as they are today. The diners I was interested in photographing were Betsy’s Diner in Falmouth, the Shawmut Diner in New Bedford and Al Mac’s Diner in Fall River. I was also hoping to squeeze in Don’s Diner in Plainville if we had time.
So Denise and I headed out on Saturday morning and stopped for a quick bite and a cup of coffee at Marylou’s Coffee Shop in West Quincy, right off the Expressway. After Marylou’s, we pointed the vehicle toward State Route 28 and followed it all the way into Wareham. We passed Dave’s Diner, a Star Lite Diner in Middleboro and the “closed” Sisson’s Diner, a “converted trolley car” in South Middleboro as well as the Mill Pond Diner, a 1950’s O’Mahony in Wareham along this route. I am happy to report that Dave’s and the Mill Pond were doing a great business. After crossing over the Cape Cod Canal we also passed by the Patriot Diner in Pocasset which also seemed to be doing a great business.
The weather was funny this particular morning as it was warm and sunny away from the coast but we were going in and out of Fog as we were mostly by the ocean. That is why the diner photos (with the exception of Don’s Diner) are a little on the cloudy side. Oh well, what can you do!
We got down to Betsy’s Diner shortly after 9:00 am and the diner seemed to be hopping. Denise overheard someone say they had gotten the best crowd they have seen all spring that morning (it has been a really unseasonably cold one). We got something else to eat and I briefly talked with Karen Chandler, who along with her husband Dave, have been operating the diner since they bought it from Larry Holmes in 1994.
Betsy’s is a beautifully maintained 1950’s Mountain View Diner that originally operated in Kuhnsville, PA under names such as the Peter Pan Diner and Michael’s Family Restaurant before being relocated here in the early 1990’s. I obtained a take-out menu for some info for the book as well as the photos and we were on our way again, heading toward the Shawmut.
The Shawmut was fairly busy as it was between breakfast and lunch. I had given owner Phil Paleologos a call when we were traveling from Falmouth to New Bedford and he promised to meet us within a half hour. This was when I found out that my buddy Phil’s concept of 25 minutes was actually closer to an hour. So while we were waiting, I got some new photos of the outside and inside of this great 1954 O’Mahony diner.
In fact, we were ready to leave when he finally showed up. We did have a nice few minutes talking with him. I got at least 3 bear-hugs from him (he never shakes hands as far as I can tell). Phil is the friendliest diner owner I know!
After saying goodbye to Phil, we continued west into Fall River for our next diner destination….. Al Mac’s Diner. We got there and it was still foggy but I got some decent photos. We met Garet Xanyn who co-owns the diner along with his father-in-law, Norman Gauthier. I asked for a take-out menu so I could refer to some of the diners offerings in the book. But unfortunately, they were out of them. Garet promised me that he would email me a copy.
I started heading home when Denise asked me about the possibility of checking out Don’s Diner in Plainville. She wanted to know if there was enough time to get there and then back home around the time we needed to be in Saugus. I said we could probably fit it in, so we detoured down I-495 over to Wrentham, which is just north of Plainville. We got to Don’s right after they closed, but the door was still open, so we went in. I was hoping to meet Perry Perreault who is the current operator for the business that was started by his grandfather in 1936. Unfortunately, he had just left! I explained to the waitress who was still on duty that I needed a couple of interior photos for the book. She said she could not give me permission, so I asked her to call Perry, whom I had been in contact with a day or two before to get permission. She did call him and he told her it was OK. So I got my shots and went home.
After Don’s, we scooted home and went about our usual Saturday afternoon routine at home and I was able to get some more writing in for the book. The next day we had breakfast at the Four Sister’s Owl Diner on our way up to Hudson, NH for an errand. After that I got some more writing in and around noon time we went and dropped something off at the place I am employed in Danvers. We then jumped over to nearby Beverly for another errand which was conveniently located near the newly opened stand called The Scotty Dog, a place that features a true “Chicago Hot Dog”. This is located on the corner of Rantoul Street and Elliot Street (Rte. 1A & Rte. 62) where Ron Dogs had operated for a short time.
I met Steve Scott who runs the business with his son Matt along with a few other employees. I was excited to see that they were doing a decent business as they had their Grand Opening two days before. I was not hungry so I grabbed a couple of photos and promised to be back.
Well, I did get back there on Tuesday after work. I got a Chicago Dog (a Vienna Beef Dog) with all the fixin’s, a kosher pickle spear, 2 slices of tomato, diced onions, 2 sport peppers and neon relish with a dash of celery salt (I did not get the yellow mustard, I don’t like mustard) on a steamed poppy seed bun and an order of French Fries. The photo below is the very first time I have ever photographed a meal I was about to eat! I felt really weird doing that, let me tell you. But I figured, I see “Food Bloggers” doing it all the time so here you go.
I wish the crew at The Scotty Dog good luck and hope to get up there for semi-regular meals.
I also heard from Bob Higgins over the weekend and he sent reports and photos of the former Diner 317 in Plaistow, NH. They had only been open a short time, from the opening in November, 2010 to the closing in March of this year. Now it looks like this beleagured diner is reopening as Betty’s Diner fairly soon. Bob said the stools had been removed (hope they put real ones back in, not movable ones) and they painted the exterior a bright pink (which actually does not look bad). I guess we will have to check this out in the near future and see what happens.
Thanks to Bob Higgins for sending along these photos.
Diner 317 closes after a short run
Bob Higgins has been keeping tabs on Diner 317 in Plaistow, NH and has been updating me periodically, he had mentioned to me previously that he thought the diner was struggling for business. I wrote about this diner back in Novemeber, see…… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/notes-from-the-hotline-11212010/ . Well Bob wrote me an email over the weekend to tell me that it is indeed true that the diner is now closed. Here is what Bob said in his email from Saturday…. Was in Plaistow this morning, the diner is vacant and for rent or lease. There is a sign by the road and also in the window for rent and a telephone number. I think it has been gone for maybe a month or so.
I feel badly that the operators, John Woods, his cousin Chris Woods and Justin Behling could not pull this off. I believe there were mitigating circumstances that may have led to the closing such as an on-going road construction project on Rte. 125 near the diner as well as this recession.
Progress at the former site of the Bel-Aire Diner
I have been watching the progress on the redevelopement of the former Bel-Aire Diner site in Peabody, Mass. Things were going fairly slow due to the heavy snowfall we had gotten over January and February. But in recent weeks, things have really started happening. The construction of the new building which is slated to house a few truck-stop related businesses has been moving right along with the raising of the steel framework taking place in just about 3 weeks. Here are some photos from last week showing the diner still on-site and the building rising behind it….
I have a feeling the diner is not going to get sold right away and it cannot stay where it is for too much longer. John Kallas has said that if no one buys the diner he will have it shrink wrapped and moved to storage behind the new building.
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!
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.
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/
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.
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.
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
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…
26 North Main Street
Glassboro, NJ 08028
1951 Kullman diner
At The Hop Diner
411 South Pomona Road
Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
1952 O’Mahony diner
552 Shell Road
Carneys Point NJ 08069
1958 Silk City diner
2621 Mount Ephraim Avenue
Camden, NJ 08104
1958 Kullman diner
Forked River Diner
317 South Main Street
Forked River, NJ 08731
c.1960 Kullman diner
Mustache Bill’s Diner
Broadway & 8th Street
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
1958 Fodero diner
Salem Oak Diner
106 Broadway Road
Salem, NJ 08079
1955 Silk City diner
Report of Plaistow, NH’s Eggie’s Diner may be in jeopardy
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….
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
From what I remember, this diner did not make it to 1985. The lot is still empty today.
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.
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 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.
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