Notes from the Hotline, 11/21/2010

Diner 317 opens in Plaistow, NH


New sign for Diner 317, photo by Larry Cultrera

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!


Sunrise at Diner 317, photo by Larry Cultrera

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.


Front view of Diner 317 showing the new handicap access ramp leading to the side entrance, photo by Larry Cultrera

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/
and…. http://theatrehistoricalsociety.wordpress.com/

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.


Capitol Diner with primer paint, June 2010 photo by Larry Cultrera


Capitol Diner with new paint job and vinyl lettering
Photo November 21, 2010 by Larry Cultrera

Update on Virginia’s Triangle Diner


The Triangle Diner, notice the t-111 plywood box w/roof covering the original diner roof.

I mentioned the Triangle Diner of Winchester, VA in a post, Dec. 25th, 2009.
See here… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2009/12/25/winchester-vas-triangle-diner-named-state-landmark/ . It had recently received Landmark status from the Commonwealth of Virginia and is being nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the post from last week where I updated my list of diners that are on the National Register, I had a question on the amount of diners that were listed in Virginia. You see I was aware that Marc C. Wagner, (Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources) had done the research for the Diners of Virginia, MPS survey back in the mid-1990’s. His research covered all the diners that were located within the state and provided the basis for future nominations for listing on the Register. The Tastee 29 Diner was previously listed in the Register a few years before but only 2 diners, the converted Trolley Cars in Chatham, VA were listed in the Register since the Diners of Virginia, MPS was authored.

I corresponded with Marc right after I posted the update last week and he sent me some info basically verifying what I had discovered and also brought me up to date on what’s happening with the Triangle Diner. He told me that they were hoping to get the paperwork sent to the Federal folks within a week or 2 and that the listing in the National Register could be as early as April, 2010.

Regular readers of this blog might recall in my post from Dec. 25th that I mentioned in passing about my hopes that the new owner Mike Lessin would have the roof (and t-111 box) masking the original roof removed from the diner. Well guess what? Marc just sent these photos and I am really glad to see this!


Workers removing plywood box and roof from the Triangle Diner
Photo courtesy of  Mike Lessin by way of Marc C. Wagner


Workers removing plywood box and roof from the Triangle Diner
Photo courtesy of  Mike Lessin by way of Marc C. Wagner


Workers removing plywood box and roof from the Triangle Diner
Photo courtesy of  Mike Lessin by way of Marc C. Wagner


Workers removing plywood box and roof from the Triangle Diner
Photo courtesy of  Mike Lessin by way of Marc C. Wagner

Winchester, VA’s Triangle Diner named State Landmark


early postcard view of the Triangle Diner from my collection

The currently closed Triangle Diner of Winchester, VA, a 1948 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner has been named to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Landmark List according to the following Associated Press article with Information from: The Winchester Star, http://www.winchesterstar.com…….

Historic Winchester diner on Va. landmarks list

WINCHESTER, Va. – The 61-year-old Triangle Diner in Winchester has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register. The diner also has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s one of 10 prefabricated stainless-steel diners in Virginia and has stood in Winchester since 1948.

The Triangle Diner is owned by Dulles-based Medallion 7 Financial. Managing director Michael Lessin says the diner is one of the few remaining examples of that type of architecture. The diner is closed but Lessin says the company plans to restore it and reopen it in the spring or summer. Lessin says the company plans to invest about $1 million in the restoration.


slightly later postcard view of the Triangle Diner from my collection

I first knew about the Triangle Diner with one of the earliest inclusions to my diner postcard collection, the one pictured above (full color real photo card). Later, October 10, 1986 to be exact, Steve Repucci and myself were following U.S. Rte. 11 from Harrisburg, PA to Knoxville, TN and we stopped to have lunch at the Triangle Diner. It is said that legendary Country-Western singer Patsy Cline worked here before rising to stardom. Below are my 3 photos shot that day in 1986.


Triangle Diner photo copyright 1986 by Larry Cultrera


Triangle Diner photo copyright 1986 by Larry Cultrera


Triangle Diner photo copyright 1986 by Larry Cultrera

Here’s hoping the 1million dollar restoration the article mentions includes removing that roof that connects the diner to the rear kitchen addition so the diner will be more visible! If the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places goes through, it will join 3 other diners from Virginia already there, namely the 29 Diner of Fairfax, Bill’s Diner of Chatham and Burnett’s Diner of Chatham.