Rosebud Diner soon to be sold


I was talking with Bill Nichols of the Rosebud Diner of Somerville, Mass. within the last 2 weeks and he informed me that the diner was going to be sold he estimated sometime in March. He also said not to advertise it and I of course told him I would not. Well with a piece published from the Somerville Patch this morning ( it looks like the cat is actually out of the bag. Here is the piece written by Chris Orchard…

Rosebud Diner to Get New Owner, Updated Look and Food

Restauranteur Marty Bloom, who founded Vinny Testa’s, plans revamp the restaurant into something more contemporary while leaving the historic diner’s exterior untouched.

Marty Bloom, a local restaurateur who founded Vinny Testa’s and owns Mission Oak Grill in Newburyport, is close to cementing a deal to purchase Davis Square’s Rosebud Diner, according to Bloom, who attended a Somerville Licensing Commission meeting Wednesday night.

Bloom said the completed sale would likely become final sometime in late March or early April. He was at the Licensing Commission meeting to request the transfer of Rosebud’s alcohol, victualer and entertainment licenses to his company, a request the commission approved.

Bloom said he plans to leave the exterior of the diner untouched. “It’s iconic,” he told the commission, saying, “I have talked to the historic commission in depth” about the local landmark.

However, he plans to renovate the interior of the diner and the restaurant space behind the diner. He also plans to revamp the menu, he said.

“We’re going to be doing a big upgrade on it,” he told the commission, saying he wants to merge the diner and the restaurant area into one space, change the floor plan and update the kitchen and bathrooms. He’ll probably put in a new bar and stage, he said.

As for the menu, Bloom said he plans to serve food that’s “a little newer” and “contemporary.”

“Updating the classics,” he called it.

He cautioned that “this all could change” as plans for the diner evolve into something more definitive. Initially the restaurant would just see “minor renovations,” he said.

Rosebud would likely close for some time while renovations take place, Bloom said.

News of the sale comes about six months after reports surfaced that something was going on with the diner. In June, Somerville Scout had a conversation with Bill Nichols, son of Rosebud’s owner, Gally Nichols. The younger Nichols told the magazine his father was planning to close the diner. Gally Nichols later said the story was a rumor.

Buddy’s Diner to reopen

Buddy’s Diner, 113 Washington Street, Somerville Mass.
April 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

I am happy to report that Buddy’s Diner will reopen tomorrow, August 4, 2012. As stated in a previous post a couple of weeks ago, Buddy’s had been seized by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for non-payment of taxes.

As soon as this happened, the rumor mill was very active and chief among them was the story that the diner would reopen soon. In fact the first date I heard was this coming Monday. But today I received an email from David Hebb stating that the diner will in fact open at 5:30 am tomorrow. I would tend to believe Dave as he is a regular customer at Buddy’s going back 30 plus years now.

So it seems that owner Nicole Bairos has made an arrangement with the DOR to make some sort of restitution. I may make a visit myself tomorrow and check things out.

Somerville, Mass’ Buddy’s Diner seized for non-payment of taxes

I just received word from Brian Ballou, a reporter for the Boston Globe that an old time favorite of mine, Buddy’s Diner has been seized by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for non-payment of taxes. This apparently happened yesterday, July 18th.

Buddy’s Diner – 113 Washington Street, Somerville, Mass.
April, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

According to Mr. Ballou, this has been coming on for quite some time, in fact he mentioned that a seizure is usually the last resort for the Dept. of Revenue when all other options have been exhausted. The amount of taxes owed is quite substantial and more than likely the diner will be auctioned off to get some of the monies owed at some point in the future.

Buddy’s Diner is a 1929 vintage Worcester Lunch Car (WLC No. 624) that originally operated in Leominster as Sawin’s Diner and reportedly came to Somerville in the early 1950’s. Although it is not included in the Multiple Property Submissions for the National Register of Historic Places, it nonetheles is designated a Landmark through the Somerville Historic Commission.

I am saddened by this news, even though I have not patronized the diner on a regular basis in the last few years. At various times I was there every morning before work. Back in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, during a stint working for a company in the Allston section of Boston and again more recently when I was employed down the street at Acme Bookbinding in Charlestown just 4 short years ago. Buddy’s was one of the featured diners in my book “Classic Diners of Massachusetts” (published last October by The History Press).

I will keep tabs on this and hope that the diner can possibly reopen sometime in the near future.

Author Event at Somerville Public Library, Saturday 10 am

Postard from my collection of the Somerville Public Library

I am looking forward to my second “Author Event” this coming Saturday November 19th to be held at the central branch of the Somerville Public Library located at 79 Highland Avenue in Somerville, Mass. This will be the first talk of the new “Meet, Mingle and Read” a Director’s Feature at the library and is held in conjunction with The Harvard COOP Bookstore, who will be providing copies of the book for purchase. Not only will I be signing copies of Classic Diners of Massachusetts but I will also have a short slide presentation.

On another note, the first “Author Event” at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough was really great! We sold quite a few books and saw some old and new friends in the bargain! Rich Beaubien, Denise J.R. Bass and Paula Walsh (all mentioned in my acknowledgements in the book) came by as well as Mike O’Connor (owner of Worcester Lunch Car No. 705) and John Harmon, former owner/operator of Lulu’s Diner in Malden.

Also, Phil Robbins, who lives in the Westborough area attended. Phil has been to 2 of my recent slide presentations and it was no surprise to see him at this event. I want to thank Rick Gemme for coming by. Rick is the great nephew of the late Charles Gemme, the vice president and superintendent of the Worcester Lunch Car Company. Charlie had a hand in the design of virtually every diner that came out of that factory.

I would like to thank the management at Tatnuck Bookseller, they have a really nice store and it made for a pleasant experience. Alex (not sure if he was the assistant manager) was very helpful and I would highly recommend a visit to this store if you are ever in the area. They have a huge selection of gifts, books and a nice cafe.

At Tatnuck Bookseller Gift Gallery and Cafe, pictured left to right
(front) Rick Gemme and Denise Bass (back) Phil Robbins, Mike O’Connor, Paula Walsh and Larry Cultrera, Photo by Denise Cultrera

Another “Author’s Event” for Classic Diners of Massachusetts

I just booked a second “Author’s Event” for November 19th at the Somerville Public Library, 10:00 am to 11:30 am. This will be at the main branch of the Library, 79 Highland Avenue in Somerville, Mass.  and held in conjunction with the Harvard COOP/Barnes and Noble. Here is a link to the Library’s event page…..

I will be doing a short slide presentation to go with the book signing at this event. This of course follows the event in Westborough at Tatnuck Booksellers on November 12th (announced in the previous post).

I am also getting some positive feedback from people who have already received their copy of the book. Philomene Belair at the Miss Adams Diner tells me she has sold quite a few copies of the book. David Bergstrom from Lynn says…. Larry just finished your book, love it, love it, great job! I love the way you laid it out !! Really good read. I was talking with Perry at Don’s Diner they have your book on sale there ! I bought mine on line at Barnes and Nobel. I have to catch up and have you autograph it for me !! Congrats and much success .

Thanks David!

April Vacation, 2011 – Part 3

Part 3 of my April Vacation, 2011 begins on Monday morning (4-18-11) before sunrise. I left Albany by way of U.S. Rte. 20 heading east. I drove into Pittsfield, Mass. and decided to see if Adrien’s Diner might be open. It was around 5:30 am and there was no one around. The operating hours were not posted so I was not sure if they were even opening (it was Patriots Day, a Massachusetts holiday, although not everyone gets it off). I decided not to hang around and coninued east toward the town of Lee. Once I got there, I saw that Joe’s Diner was open. I figured it was about time I checked it out as it is a somewhat famous place. Joe’s is not a factory-built diner but a small storefront type diner. It is famous for being the place where Norman Rockwell set his well known iconic 1958 painting, “The Runaway”.

The Runaway, a painting by Norman Rockwell

Joe’s Diner, U.S. Rte. 20, Lee, Mass. April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Joe’s Diner, U.S. Rte. 20, Lee, Mass. April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

I had a pretty decent breakfast at Joe’s Diner and then got back on the road, continuing east on Route 20. As I mentioned in Part 1, I needed to get to 5 diners in the western part of Massachusetts on my way home from Albany for info and photos for my “Classic Diners of Massachusetts” book. My next destination was the Route 66 Diner on Bay Street in Springfield and it had been a while since I was last there. I did not need exterior photos of this diner as I figured the last ones I shot a few years ago were good. Unfortunately, owner Don Roy was not there, I was told he was in Florida. So I obtained a takeout menu and took 2 interior photos. Here is one of them below…….

Interior of Route 66 Diner, Springfield, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

I left Springfield and jumped on I-91 northbound to get up to Northampton. Once I got there I headed back west on Route 9 to visit the Miss Florence Diner. I had not been to the Miss Flo since the Alexander family sold it 10 years ago. The place looked good and I got some new photos (exterior and interior). They had no takeout menus as they were actually having new ones being printed. I started taking notes from their extensive menu and thought this might take all day, and then one of the waitresses told me that the menu was pretty much all on their website. I got the name of the owner who was not there, (John Zantouliadis) and called him later in the week for some background. It seems he is not the person who bought the diner from the Alexanders, he is actually the second owner after them. (He also told me the takeout menu came in from the printers the day before) Anyway, here are some shots….

Miss Florence Diner. April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Miss Florence Diner. April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior of Miss Florence Diner. April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

I went back to Northampton but continued past the center of town toward the Route 9 Diner in Hadley a few miles to the east.  This is one of the newer diners in Massachusetts. It came to town as the Sit Down Diner, brand new from Kullman Industries, but the original owner went out of business and the diner was bought back by Kullman at auction and they turned around and found new operators, Chris Karabetsos and Archie Sideris who have been very successful with the business in the intervening years.

Route 9 Diner, Hadley, Mass. April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Route 9 Diner, Hadley, Mass.
April 18, 2011 interior photo by Larry Cultrera

Route 9 Diner, Hadley, Mass.
April 18, 2011 interior photo by Larry Cultrera

I headed back to Northampton and drove north on Route 5 (King Street) to the Bluebonnet Diner. Jim Greco was given a heads-up by his son Tony that I was coming. Jim was very helpful and it is obvious he takes pride in the business that his dad and uncle started in 1950.

Bluebonnet Diner, Northampton, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Bluebonnet Diner, Northampton, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Bluebonnet Diner, Northampton, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior of the Bluebonnet Diner, Northampton, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Bluebonnet has been added onto over the years and features a cocktail lounge as well as a huge function facility. Through all this, the diner section itself has pretty much stayed original with the exception of some updated windows and light fixtures. The diner is popular with regular customers as well as the out of town transient crowd that frequent it.

From Northampton I jumped back on I-91 to get up to Whately where the Whately Diner Fillin’ Station was awaiting me. This diner is a true 24 hour “truck stop diner” catering to truckers at Exit 24 off I-91. This is a “Princess” model built by Kullman Diners circa 1960 and was originally operated as the Princess Diner in Chicopee, Mass. It was bought in the early 1970’s by F.L. Roberts, a local company that has a chain of convenience stores, car washes and gas stations in the area. They moved the diner from Chicopee to Whately and ran it as the Maverick Diner for a time prior to renaming it to its current name.

Whately Diner Fillin’ Station, Whately, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Whately Diner Fillin’ Station, Whately, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior – Whately Diner Fillin’ Station, Whately, Mass.
April 18, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

After Whately, I scooted back home by I-91 and Route 2. I was out again the next morning and visited Buddy’s Diner in Somerville. I used to be a semi-regular here but have not visited it in a while. This is a 1929 vintage Worcester Lunch Car that has been at this location since the early 1950’s. Currently owned by Nicole Bairos, it is primarily operated by her cousins Kim Bairos & Niko Makrigiannis as well as short order cook extraordinaire,  Jose Ramirez.

Buddy’s Diner, Somerville, Mass. April 19, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior – Buddy’s Diner, Somerville, Mass.
L-R behind the counter, Jose Ramirez and Niko Makrigiannis
April 19, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

The next short roadtrip was out to Worcester on Thursday for more photos and info for the book. This time, Denise went with me. First stop was Blanchard’s 101 Diner. I have written extensively about this diner in a few previous posts since they opened over 3 years ago, (wow, it’s that long?). It was great to see Chris Blanchard. I got some new shots, inside and out plus a copy of their menu.

Blanchard’s 101 Diner, Worcester, Mass.
April 21, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior – Blanchard’s 101 Diner, Worcester, Mass.
April 21, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Next stop was a few miles to the west on Route 9 – to Spencer, Mass. and a visit to Charlie’s Diner Bar & Grill. Charlie’s was moved from its long-time operating location on Plantation St. in Worcester a number of years ago. It stayed in storage for a couple of years before it found a home in Spencer. Within the last 2 years they added on to the existing structure with a bar & grill to expand the operating hours. From what a very tired Steve Turner told me, the new addition to the business has been a success.

Charlie’s Diner Bar & Grill, Spencer, Mass. The section with the dormers to the right is the Bar & Grill addition.
April 21, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior – Charlie’s Diner Bar & Grill, Spencer, Mass.
April 21, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

After Charlie’s we went back to Worcseter and our final destination of the Boulevard Diner. If one was ever to look for a museum quality working diner, this is it! The Bully is almost hard to describe, from the fantastic food, to the condition of the building, to the people who patronize the place and the people working behind the counter….. this diner has it all! I spoke with Jim George for quite a while, and we had a great conversation! He mentioned that he recently started making his own Italian Sausage again after many years of purchasing the product of a local meat purveyor. He said when he was a youngster working for his dad at the diner, making the home-made sausage was one of his regular duties and now he has come full circle. I will tell you, he had my mouth watering!

Jim George, behind the counter at the Boulevard Diner
April 21, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Interior – Boulevard Diner, Worcester, Mass.
Denise Cultrera in the foreground. April 21, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

Boulevard Diner, Worcester, Mass. April 21, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

We actually did eat lunch at the Boulevard, but no Italian food (darn). Denise and I split a wonderful BLT on toasted Italian Bread with french fries! Well, that was it for my vacation week, the rest of it was spent winding down to Easter weekend and doing a little writing.

Tony & Ann’s Pizza and the Rosebud Diner

The new location for Tony & Ann’s Pizza, Dracut, Mass.

I was checking Facebook yesterday morning and saw that Tony & Ann’s Pizza was reopening at 11:00 AM after a 7 year hiatus. I posted about this place last month, see it here… . Denise and I were going out for an errand shortly after I saw the F.B. post, so we stopped for a mid-morning hot chocolate at Honey Dew Donuts on the way to do the errand in Wakefield.

With the errand done I said lets take a ride up to Dracut to see if we could try a Tony & Ann’s Pizza. Well we made it up there by 11:30 or so and the place was mobbed. In fact they could have used some traffic control from the Dracut Police Dept. I spoke with a lady who had come out of the store carrying 2 pizzas and she said it took 30 minutes just to order and another 45 to get them! We stepped inside for a second and it was just a crush of people. Denise said she wasn’t waiting and I concurred.

I had a hunch it might be crazy and I was right. So maybe another visit will be in order within the next 2 or 3 weeks when the craziness dies down. I spoke with Bob Philpot, a Tony & Ann’s devotee on Facebook yesterday afternoon and he got his pizza after a 2 hour wait. I asked him if it was worth it and he gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Charlie Terenzio, another facebook friend read my comment and answered he would wait at least a week before partaking of his favorite pizza!

Pizza at the Rosebud Diner’s Bar & Grill instead

Later in the afternoon I decided I still needed a “pizza fix” and asked Denise if she wanted to go over to the Rosebud Diner in Somerville. We have been meaning to try out the pizza they serve in the Bar & Grill behind the diner. So we went and sat with owners Bill & Helen and ordered a cheese pizza. We were delighted with what turned out to be a very tasty thin crust “bar pie”!
We were both hooked, and believe me Denise is kind of particular when it comes to pizza, she really liked it!

If you go down the walkway next to the side door of the diner,
it leads to the entrance to the Bar & Grill.

I highly recommend that if you are ever in Davis Square Somerville and visiting the Rosebud Diner, check out the Bar & Grill (which you can enter from the diner or thru the entrance to the right behind the diner). They open the Bar & Grill at 4:00 PM, Monday thru Friday and at 5:00 PM on the weekends. There are other items available on the menu that are not available in the diner and they have a full bar with some great draft and bottled beer on hand to go with the food.