Notes from the Hotline, December 4, 2011

Fourth Author Event in Webster

We had another nice Author Event yesterday, this time at Booklovers’ Gourmet located at 55 East Main Street (Route 12) in Webster, Mass. It is a small store set in the first floor of an old house packed with new and used books, as well as a small selection of gifts and artwork for sale. They also have a decent selection of coffee’s, tea’s and chai’s along with some fresh pastry from a bakery in nearby Putnam, CT. Owner Debra Horan was very nice and we met some customers who purchased my book. For those who could not make it, the remainder of her stock (of Classic Diners of Mass.) have been signed for anyone who wants to purchase it.

Left to right, Denise Cultrera, Larry Cultrera and owner Debra Horan
at Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster. Photo by Lorraine Ostrokolowicz

Original Dunkin Donut store gets a retro revamp

The original Dunkin Donut store located at 543 Southern Artery in Quincy, Mass. has just received a quick 11-day renovation that has the place looking like a modern version of its 1950’s look. The store located near the corner of Bracket Street and the Southern Artery (Route 3A), was first opened in 1948 by Bill Rosenberg, (the founder of Dunkin Donuts) under the name “Open Kettle” and was an adjunct to his other business, Industrial Luncheon Service.

By 1950 Rosenberg decided  the name of the store needed to reflect the actual product that he was selling, basically coffee and donuts.  That is when the name changed to Dunkin Donuts.

Publicity photo from Dunkin Donuts featuring the original Quincy location.
A fair number of the Dunkin Donuts locations in the Boston area have an enlargement of this hanging somewhere prominently in the stores.

The signage was notable with the letters “in” actually dipping down lower than the other letters symbolizing the “Dunkin” part of the name. The building has gone thru many “looks” over the last 60 years, reflecting the chains appearance in any given time. The new renovation represents a retro look back in a modern sort of way! It even has a small “L” shaped counter with fixed stools evoking the feeling and ambiance that the early stands had.

I first heard about this from the Boston Globe, November 30, 2011 in an article written by Christina Reinwald for the business section of that day’s newspaper. I would put a link to the article but you now have to be a subscriber to read it. That’s technology for you! Anyway, after reading the article, I decided a quick trip was in order to shoot a few photos and today (Sunday) seemed to be the ideal time.

So, on the way over Denise and I went and had breakfast at the Wheelhouse Diner (also in Quincy) and boy, that place was hopping when we got there. Grill-man extraordinaire, Doug Showstead was his usual pleasant and efficient self. He always makes us feel welcome and told me at least 10 people have come into the diner in the last month or so and mentioned about the appearance of the Wheelhouse in my Classic Diners of Mass. book.

After breakfast we drove over to Dunkin Donuts so I could take my photos. As you can see, the new signage is a smaller version of the original, only with backlit plastic covered letters instead of neon.

Original Dunkin Donut store at 543 Southern Artery in Quincy, Mass. December 4, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Original Dunkin Donut store at 543 Southern Artery in Quincy, Mass. December 4, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Original Dunkin Donut store at 543 Southern Artery in Quincy, Mass. December 4, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera
I was standing in the middle of the street to get this shot, thank goodness it was a Sunday morning!

A close-up of the little plaque they have to the right of the entrance announcing that this is the first Dunkin Donut store, circa 1950.

This little project was a combined effort between the franchisee and the Corporate Headquarters of Dunkin Donuts to make the store look the way it does. According to the report, this will be the only Dunkin Donut outlet to reflect this style! Overall, I like the look and always enjoy when a company makes a nod to their past. I applaud all involved.

Diner Slide Presentation set for Dec. 6th, 2010

I am doing a new streamlined version of my Diner Slide Presentation at 7:00 pm on Monday, December 6th. It will be held at the Thomas Crane Public Library 40 Washington Street, Quincy, Mass.
(617-376-1301   –

Ironically, the main building of this library was designed by the noted architect H.H. Richardson making this the second slide show in a row I have presented in a Richardson designed building. The last one was at the end of July at the Ames Free Library in North Easton, Mass.

Built in 1881 by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson — who also designed Boston’s famed Trinity Church — the Thomas Crane Public Library’s original building is a masterpiece of 19th century Romanesque architecture. Its ornate woodwork and LaFarge stained glass windows are truly works of art. Since the library opened in 1882, several additions have been constructed, including a multimillion-dollar addition in 2001 that combines the architectural spirit of the original Richardson building with the technological capabilities of a 21st century library.
(info from Quincy Green Map)

This slide presentation is sponsored by the Friends of Thomas Crane Public Library

Recent Visit to the Wheelhouse Diner

Wheelhouse Diner, 453 Hancock Street (corner of Hayward St.) in the
Wollaston section of Quincy, Mass.

Last Saturday (the 26th of June) Denise and I took a ride down to Quincy, Mass. for breakfast at the Wheelhouse Diner. The Wheelhouse is an on-site built diner (non-factory-built) that has been in existance for decades. Doug Showstead who looks like a classic short order cook with his “whites”, (something you do not see too much of these days) has been the chef and short order grillman for 5 years.

The exterior has gotten some recent updates since I first photographed it in the 1990’s. The interior has the typical diner set-up with counter and stools and a few booths. The cooking is done right behind the counter and there is a ktichen on the back of the building. The great signage you see was done by the Modern Art Sign Company which is right next door to the diner on Hayward St. If you look closely at the bottom of the verticle street sign you will see how the sign company got to advertise their advantageous location next door to the diner, see below…..

The food and service is great at the Wheelhouse Diner, and the prices are very reasonable too! I highly recommend this as a breakfast or lunch spot if you are ever in Quincy.

As is sometimes the case, after we eat at the Wheelhouse, we drive a few blocks over to Eastern Nazarene College to walk around the small campus, (this college is Denise’s alma mater). On the way over at the center of the business district in Wollaston, I took a glance down Beal Street. I noticed that the old Wollaston Theater was still there (although not in use) and also that there was still an operating Brigham’s Ice Cream store. The company that owned Brigham’s closed recently and the only stores still open are the former franchised ones.

Brigham’s Ice Cream store on Beal Street in Quincy

The Theater is directly across the street from Brigham’s…….

Wollaston Theater, on Beal Street in Quincy, Mass

Wollaston Theater, on Beal Street in Quincy, Mass

Wollaston Theater, on Beal Street in Quincy, Mass

The entrance to the theater is in a storeblock, while the theater itself is actually behind and to the right. So I assume that when the theater was open for business, a person would  walk thru the entrance and buy their tickets, then walk to the rear and take a right to enter the auditorium. The theater looks to be intact and there is a sign on the door that anyone interested in information on the property to contact a local realty company.