Englewood Diner becomes Red Line Diner

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Red Line Diner, now located in Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera
Formerly the Englewood Diner of Dorchester, Mass.

I have been a little remiss in posting anything throughout November as I was scanning a bunch of slides, 180 or so (to be sort of exact). They were all of the photos/slides I had ever shot of Rosie’s Diner when it was in Little Ferry, NJ. The bulk of the slides came from the last weekend of operation in January of 1990 and the preparation for moving the structure on the next weekend. I had promised my friend Arnie Corrado (son of former owner Ralph Corrado, Jr.) back then that I would give him copies of all the photos I had shot. This plan sort of became cost restrictive when I realized how many images there were. Well, with all the new digital technology at my disposal nowadays, I could finally keep my promise. So for almost 3 weeks, I spent the extra time I had scanning all the images. Better late than never! I actually turned it into a slide show movie which can be found on Youtube……… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XlDiGzRM3I. I will eventually do a post about it here in the near future. Now on to the subject of this post……

A year ago Denise and I had made a trip (along with Beth Lennon and Cliff Hillis) up to Salisbury, Massachusetts to meet with Roger Elkus and Daryl McGann who had purchased the former Monarch Diner, originally of Dover, NH. The diner had not been in service since the early 1970s when it last operated in South Berwick, Maine. Dave Pritchard of Salisbury had started buying old diners a number of years ago and storing them at his truck/trailer company yard in Salisbury. The diners included the Miss Newport Diner of Newport, VT (now the Miss Mendon of Mendon, Mass.) the Englewood Diner last operated in Dorchester, Mass., and the Olympian Diner formerly of Braintree, Mass. as well as the Monarch. When we got into the yard I noticed the only diners left were the Monarch and the Olympian. I asked Roger and Daryl what happened to the Englewood and they told me that the owner of New Balance Footwear had purchased it and moved it to an undisclosed location.

Fast forward to October 25, 2013, when I received an email from Randy Garbin that had some attached photos from someone named Todd Purple. The message that accompanied the photos was short and sweet….. “Did you know about this”? I checked out the photos and low and behold, there was the former Englewood Diner looking to be completely restored on the exterior, sporting a new name….. Red Line! According to the email, it was located down behind 38 Everett Street in the Brighton section of Boston. Everett St. runs between Western Ave. in Allston and North Beacon St. in Brighton. The area was once primarily a mix of houses and somewhat run-down industrial buildings that has had a rebirth with parts of it being resurrected as an upscale office park. In fact a huge part of this rebirth can be directly attributed to New Balance Footwear as their Headquarters is located within a block of this property.

So, the 25th being a Friday, I decided to take a ride over to Brighton to check out this new location the very next day, where I managed to shoot some nice photos of it.

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

In looking closely at the exterior, the new steel panels seem to be painted instead of the porcelain enameled panels it originally had. Certainly a reasonable facsimile of the originals… and let me be clear, this was professionally done. Even the roof shingles look similar though not identical to what had previously been there, giving it a period look in keeping with the original style of the diner. The interior did not need much as the following photos show….

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Interior view of the Red Line Diner, Brighton, Mass.
October 26, 2013 photo by Larry Cultrera

Early on the next week I did some digging and was able to leave a message to a department in the corporate offices at New Balance Footwear. Within a couple of hours my wife Denise called to let me know there was a message from someone named Laurie at New Balance. When I returned her call, Laurie informed me that the restored diner is being used for corporate functions only and not open to the public (as I suspected).

As I mentioned above, the Englewood Diner operated for years in the Peabody Square neighborhood of Dorchester. It closed in 1979 when the land it was on was slated to be redeveloped, replaced by a high-rise building for senior housing. This was almost a year before I started photographing diners so I never was able to document it in that location. But luckily it was documented by others like David Hebb and Dick Gutman. Dick was kind enough to lend me this image (below) of the Englewood Diner when it was located across from Ashmont Station in Peabody Square, Dorchester…..

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Englewood Diner, 1970s vintage photo by Richard J.S. Gutman

So after it closed in 1979, the diner was moved to Pat’s Towing Company yard in the Cambridgeport neighborhood, just outside of Central Square in Cambridge. It stayed at that storage location through 1981.

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My first shot of the Englewood Diner taken from the roof of my 1979 Chevy van looking over the fence of Pat’s Towing Company in Cambridge.
1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

In fact, Dick and Kelly Gutman were the ones who showed me where it was being stored on one of our first “Diner Excursions” in 1981 where I obtained the photo above. It was relocated to the Cambridge/Somerville town line in a yard maintained by Wayside Leasing on Park Street just off Somerville Avenue, where it stayed until 1984.

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Englewood Diner at Wayside Leasing storage yard in Somerville
1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at Wayside Leasing storage yard in Somerville
1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at Wayside Leasing storage yard in Somerville
1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

In 1984, the diner was bought by Brian Burke, a general contractor from Dorchester. His plan was to repatriate the diner back to its longtime hometown. He had some property adjacent to the Bradlees department store that was on Morrissey Boulevard at the corner of Victory Road. Burke took his time in setting up the diner and finally opened it in 1986. It was operated by at least two if not three operators prior to closing in the early 1990s.

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Englewood Diner temporarily parked at Kendall Square in Cambridge
on the way back to Dorchester. 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner temporarily parked at Kendall Square in Cambridge
on the way back to Dorchester. 1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

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The Englewood Diner newly arrived at Victory Road in Dorchester.
1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

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The Englewood Diner at its last operating location. It operated here from 1986 to 1992.
1984 photo by Larry Cultrera

In 1992, the Englewood was closed and sold at auction to Dennis “Skip” Scipione, owner of the Blue Moon Diner in Gardner. Skip had plans to reopen the diner and kept it in storage in neighboring Ashburnham, Mass. until the right time and place came about.  It looked like it would happen in 1997 when the diner moved to the northern part of Fitchburg. The next 3 photos show the diner at that proposed location….

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Englewood Diner at proposed location in Fitchburg.1997 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at proposed location in Fitchburg.
1997 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner at proposed location in Fitchburg.
1997 photo by Larry Cultrera

This location in Fitchburg never actually came to fruition and the diner embarked on a series of moves to at least two if not three different storage locations over the next few years. In fact Skip finally sold the diner to Dan Johnston in the year 2000. Johnston purchased it for $20,000, moved the diner to the town of Holden.  Johnston’s plans for the diner were somewhat vague. In one instance he talked about reopening it and another was possibly attaching it to his house for private use. None of that ever happened and in fact, according to Randy Garbin of Roadside Online, Johnston even had the diner listed on Ebay for a short time.

While in Johnston’s possession, the diner ended up taking its longest round trip to be in a big budget Hollywood movie! Johnston was approached by Dreamworks Production Company in 2001. Dreamworks wanted to use the diner in a scene of the movie “Road to Perdition” starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. According to Garbin as quoted from his book Diners of New England, Dreamworks reportedly paid Johnston nearly $40,000 giving Johnston the first option to purchase it back after the scenes in the movie were completed.

The diner was transported to the Chicago area for the film and Johnston bought it back for less than half his original sale price. As Garbin noted the time-frame of the film was set in 1931 while purists would note that the diner is from 1941…… details, details!!!

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Publicity still showing the Englewood Diner during its star turn
from the Hollywood production of Road to Perdition.
photo courtesy of http://film-grab.com/tag/daniel-craig/

A few months after Johnston got the diner back he flipped it yet again to Matt Letellier of Eliot, Maine whose plan was to attach the diner to his on-site built Downeast Diner. The next 3 photos show the Englewood in Eliot, ME….

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Englewood Diner in Eliot, Maine. 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner in Eliot, Maine. 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

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Englewood Diner in Eliot, Maine. 2002 photo by Larry Cultrera

Unfortunately, Letellier’s plans never came to be and he turned around and sold the diner to Dave Pritchard in 2003. That is when the Englewood came to Salisbury where it stayed until 2012 and ultimately purchased by New Balance Footwear.

I will say that although this diner has had an interesting life in the last 35 years, it can also be said that it probably has the most mileage, being one of the most traveled diners in history! Now that it has found more than likely a permanent home in Brighton, as well as a new lease on life…. it is almost like an old racehorse being put out to pasture in its golden years!

Myles Henry of the Maine Diner dies suddenly

I read with sadness a link that Randy Garbin of Roadside Online posted on Facebook that Myles Henry of the Maine Diner died suddenly while on vacation in Marco Island, FL.


A recent photo posted on the Maine Diner’s Facebook page showing
left to right… Dick Henry & Myles Henry with former First Lady Barbara Bush
& former President George H.W. Bush

Myles, along with his brother Dick run one of the most successful diners anywhere! Although not a factory-built diner, the place has a very down-home kind of feel, just right for its namesake state. I have always said, that most diner owners/operators could take a lesson or two from the Henry’s on how to run a diner!

Here is the copy (and link to the Seacoastonline piece on Myles’ untimely passing, written by Casey Sullivan……
http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20101205-NEWS-101209873

WELLS, Maine — Fifty-four-year-old Myles Henry, co-owner of the Maine Diner, died Friday, Dec. 3, in Marco Island, Fla., after apparently having passed out and hit his head in a restaurant bathroom, according to multiple sources.

While Henry’s official cause of death is yet to be determined by the District 20 Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida, Henry’s wife, Trisha Henry, said the longtime local business owner was born with two heart deformities — a bicuspid aortic valve and Wolf Parkinson White syndrome — which she said could have led to a heart attack.

Henry and his brother, Dick Henry, had purchased what is now the Maine Diner off Route 1 in 1983, and the establishment has been thriving ever since.

“He was loved by so many people,” Trisha Henry said in a phone interview Sunday. “It’s just unbelievable how many friends he had.” She said her husband had been vacationing in Florida with three friends at the time of his death, and was found unconscious in the bathroom of Da Vinci Ristorante Italiano at 599 South Collier Blvd., Marco Island.

“He came in, sat at the bar, had one drink and then went to the bathroom,” Da Vinci owner Louigi Carvelli said of the moments before restaurant staff found Henry on the bathroom floor Friday night and called 911.

Marco Island police declined to comment on the matter Sunday.

Trisha Henry said there had been a moment when emergency medical responders had arrived on scene Friday night, and, upon coming back to consciousness, Henry had said, “Call Trish, call Trish, call Trish.”

Billy Egan, Myles Henry’s lifelong friend who had accompanied him on his vacation in Florida, said Sunday he could not have pictured a more perfect day for the man to have lived before he died.

“He was happy,” Egan said, making note that the group of friends — Egan, Henry, Rick Finks and Rick Sawyer — had played a “good round” of golf earlier that day. “We played 36 holes and then we had a great dinner and watched the Celtics that night.” Henry had later traveled to Da Vinci’s because he was meeting up with another friend he had in the area, Egan added.

Egan became choked up when he said the only thing that could have been better about Henry’s last day was a little better weather, and if he could have spoken to his wife one last time.

The group of friends had vacationed to Florida together biannually for the past 18 years, Egan said.

After news of Henry’s death hit Wells on Sunday, his friends, family and Maine Diner staff reacted in a mixture of shock and sorrow.

“First and foremost, he was a mentor to me,” said Maine Diner manager Jim MacNeill. “He had a zest for people, and life, and having fun. When people pressed him with needs — whether it was for charitable contributions or for friends in need — he was always there for people.”

According to Trisha Henry and Bibber Memorial Chapel staff, arrangements have been made for visiting hours from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Bibber Memorial Chapel. A memorial service will follow at noon, Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Coastal House on Route 1.

I personally met Myles at least 3 times, the first being at my one and only appearance on the Phantom Gourmet TV show approx. 10 years ago.  The last time being 5 or 6 years ago when Denise & I stopped at the diner on the way to Old Orchard Beach in Maine. The place was bustling as usual and we had to take a pager and wait a few minutes. We actually were able to get a seat at the counter within a short time and ordered a couple of their fabulous deserts. We went to pay when we were finished only to find out that Myles had got the check for us!

I want to extend my condolences to the Henry family on their loss.