Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Poirier's Diner on the Move

Poirier's Diner was known as the Top Hat the first time I went there. A 1947 Kullman has had a few lives  before it closed.

There's new hope.  Check out this video story from the Providence Journal.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sounds of the Season

Not dissin' the "virtual duet"...well, maybe a bit. Most of the coolest of the cool Christmas songs were done live...way before YouTube was even a twinkle in MTV's eye, so it's not easy to find live performances.

Here are a couple to tide you over. Now hang your stockings, and say your prayers, 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Sounds of the Season

You knew this had to make list....from my all-time favorite Christmas special....The Year Without A Santa Claus....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sounds of the Season

Since I couldn't find a video of Elvis singing my favorite...Santa Bring My Baby Back to's another fav...Santa Claus is Back in Town. He leads right into Blue Christmas. 

All with the added bonus of it being from the 68 Comeback Special. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sounds of the Season

Even Scrooge would be tappin' his toes to these Christmas Carols by the coolest cat around...Brian Setzer. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sounds of the Season

Young or old, don't you just smile when you hear your favorite Christmas song for the first time each year?

Who can resist "those holiday J-I-N-G-L-E Bells"...the piano in Bruce Springsteen's Merry Christmas Baby...or the Jordanaires crooning "Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me" in Elvis' rendition of the tune.

Inspired by Little Steven's Underground Garage radio show this week, here are some of my favs as we countdown to the Big Day.

Starting off with a performed by Chris Isaak and Michael Buble.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A "Toast" For The Holidays...

One of the things I love about the CBS Sunday Morning show is the sun designs in between segments.

Another is the pretty awesome stories they cover. 

I haven't been to a toaster convention...yet. Something to look into, for sure. 

In the meantime, see what's "popping up" at the Toaster Collectors' Convention.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Classic Diners of Massachusetts media tour continues..

Author Larry Cultrera is scheduled to appear on local radio personality, Phil Paleogogos' radio show tomorrow, Tuesday, November 22 at 10:15am. 

Phil is also the owner of New Bedford's Shawmut Diner, a 1954 O'Mahoney that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I first met Phil and his wife Celeste in the mid 1990s, but had visited their fine establishment a few years before that. They are the perfect diner owners - passionate about their diner and take pride in serving good food. They put a lot of work into the diner, restoring it to its original glory after purchasing it just over 30 years ago. Plus, they have great neon!

Phil's show airs on WBSM-AM (1420 AM) and the Shawmut is located at 943 Shawmut Avenue.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday

If you haven't been to the Miss Mendon Diner on Rt. 16 in Mendon, MA...what are you waiting for? 

This stunning Worcester Lunch Car No. 823 began life as the Miss Newport Diner in Newport, VT in 1950 where it operated until 2000.  

Ten years later, the diner has been restored and reopened the diner on the Imperial Cars dealership's lot.

Denise and I stopped in after a book signing last weekend. With a varied menu, friendly staff, great hours (6am-10pm) and awesome neon, the Miss Mendon is a must-visit. (Get the onion rings!)

And, yes, Monday's diner photo was from the Miss Mendon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"What's That Diner?"

Hope you all had a nice weekend. The weather in New England was phenomenal. While my husband and brother were doing some work at my mom's house, I went to a book signing in Massachusetts with Denise.

So, today's "What's That Diner?" is from MA.

(I'm lovin' this Hegla-like lens for Hipstamtic!)

Friday's Diner was Snoopy's - a Silk City diner in North Kingstown.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"What's That Diner?" of those dates that comes around once in a century. It's also the Friday reveal in What's That Diner.

Cheri's State Liner Diner in Foster was featured in Monday's q&a. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Classic Diners Book Signing - Don't Miss It!

On Saturday, November 12, Larry Cultrera is hosting his first book signing for Classic Diners of Massachusetts at the Tatnuck Bookseller Cafe - Westborough Shopping Center, 18 Lyman Street (corner of Rt. 9), Westborough, MA.

He'll be there from 10 am - Noon.

Larry's been documenting diners since 1980 (A full decade before me!) so you can imagine how many places he's been to and how many photos he has.

This book is sure to be a "must" for any roadside enthusiast...or resident of MA! A full review will follow.

A second signing is scheduled for Saturday, November 19 at the  Sommerville, MA public library.

Check out his blog here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"What's That Diner?"

Starting off week two in, "What's That Diner?"

Friday's photo was from Jiggers in East Greenwich. Half the diner stools are red and the other half are green in this Worcester diner.


Friday, November 4, 2011

"What's That Diner?"

Second in the you know which RI diner this is? Bonus "props" if you guess the manufacturer too.

Still wondering about Monday? The Modern Diner in Pawtucket. One of only a handful of Sterling Streamliners still in existence, it was the first diner to be on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Hipsta Diner Tour
Seaplane Diner, Providence RI
Hipstamatic Lens: John S, Film: Kodot XGrizzled

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Time to play, 'What's That Diner?'"

We recently photographed to almost all or Rhode Island diners in one day...the only catch was that we had to use the Hipstamatic app to take the photos.

Over 140 miles later (yes, it is possible to rack up that many miles in RI), several cups of coffee and lots of laughs, we had visited 13 diners.

What better way to re-launch the blog than with a fun q&a? Over the next couple of weeks, every Monday I'm posting an image of diner stools. Look for the answers, and another photo, on Friday.

We'll start off with an easy one...


Friday, October 28, 2011

"Greetings from"... the RI Post Card Club Annual Show

The Rhode Island Post Card Club's (RIPCC) Annual Show is taking place this Sunday, October 30 between 9:00am and 4:00pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick.

Hundreds of thousands of post cards, in any category you can think of, will be available for sale.

Not sure what to get that hard-to-buy for person for the holidays? How about a postcard from their home town? Frame it and you have a unique, personalized gift!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dishin' About Diners ... and Other Stuff is back!

Dishin' About Diners ... and Other Stuff is back from hiatus. Just in time for the Royal Wedding. Okay, okay, enough with the eye rolls. This qualifies as "Other Stuff" and is definitely nostalgic. Nostalgia is a personal, yet collective thing. For some, it is remembering the first time they saw Star Wars in the movie theater or listening to a baseball game on the radio as a kid or their favorite toy...or eating in their favorite diner.

I was a teenager when Lady Diana married her Prince. The wedding took place on July 29 - less than month before my birthday and for the next several years, my family didn't think very hard about gift ideas. Books, stamps, tea cups - you name it, I think they were all part of my "collection" at one point.

A few years later, antsy with college, I signed up for a Junior Year abroad in London, with visions of pubs, Sloane Rangers, cool music and running into royalty. (It wasn't until I had to get on the plane that I realized I'd have to leave my comfort zone and meet new people!) The year was one of my coolest adventures.
The unexpected luxury to traveling as a college student is having time to explore. With London as a base of operation, the rest of the UK and Europe is easily accessible. Every weekend I was wandering around with my camera, at a soccer game, a museum, shopping. The music was pretty cool - from Elvis Costello at the Royal Albert Hall to the Pogues at Brixton Academy.

And, yes, I did run into royalty. On my way to class one day I stopped in Frog Hollow, a small toy store in Kensington and there she was, picking out a toy ... let's assume for a young prince.

My affection for the UK continues. Although I worked in London for several months after college, it has been a while since I've visited friends. Thanks to Facebook, we keep in touch. Over the years and more so after Diana's accident, I didn't follow the monarchy as closely, but obviously the royal story didn't end with the romance that it started with. And, I confess to not knowing who Kate Middleton was until the engagement was announced.

But, in a nod to nostalgia, I'll be setting my alarm early tomorrow morning.

Monday, March 14, 2011

From Eccentric Roadside: A Bridge Too Far

Eccentric Roadside: A bridge too far: London Bridge of Lake Havasu City, Arizona

According to Eccentric Roadside, "London Bridge is not falling down" ... see if it is true on their latest post (above).
Photo from and taken by Eccentric Roadside
London Bridge, Arizona

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Postcard of the Silvertop Diner, Providence, RI
"A Morning through Maxwell House Eyes"
Photo: Paula J. Walsh 

Monday, March 7, 2011

On The Menu: Humble Pie ....

Stories have been handed down for generations as a way of capturing history. First-hand accounts of events were then recorded in print, followed by radio, movies and television as a way of sharing the news.

In our tech savvy times, we have the intranet to combine both official news stations and individual accounts or 'story' sites (such this one), putting the world at our fingertips creating an instantaneous resource for information. And, sometimes we use unknowingly use inaccurate sources as a resource ... as was the case with last Monday's blog.  

When brainstorming for last week's post, I wanted to tie in the 1982 movie, Diner, with the Academy Awards. I checked IMDb, and sure enough, it had been nominated for an Oscar in 1983 for Best Screenplay. Bingo! There was my tie-in. 

I "Googled" to find out which diner had been used for the interior movie scenes. The first search result list came back with the Bendix. I'd been to the Bendix, so I considered the topic for the week's blogs done. 

While the Bendix has had supporting roles in many commercials and a couple of movies, thanks to Larry at Diner Hotline for providing the correct info. It was actually Baltimore's Hollywood Diner. (I know for sure because I Googled it ... again!) 

The Hollywood is now run by the Crema Coffee Company. They list the Hollywood's other movie credits (Sleepless in Seattle, Enemy of the State and more) and cite the book 'Hometown Diners' as its source. It is a beautifully photographed book by Robert O'Dell that I have in my personal library.

So, note to self:

  • double check sources 
  • brush up on my diner traits.
After all, are a Masters diner and a Mountain View even similar?  I see a good old-fashion term paper in my future! Hmm, I wonder ... maybe there's a diner app for that??!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday

My planned montage of "Wordless Wednesday" photos of the Bendix Diner was thwarted by technology ... or my memory lapse to not having a digital camera all my disorganized life!

Obviously, I have a date with my scanner, once I locate my negatives. In the meantime, here's a picture taken at the Bendix that is amusing on many levels ... but mostly for me eating a salad ... in a diner.
Interior of the Bendix Diner
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 2004

(Okay, its also funny that I'm wearing a t-shirt I'd just bought at the Newark Museum's Troubadour of the Highway exhibit on Bruce Springsteen. Yes, that was the reason for the day trip to Jersey.)

Back to the diner... the Bendix has great neon and I promise to post photos on Friday.

If you have a photo, post it!

Monday, February 28, 2011

And The Oscar Goes To ...

In 1983 Diner was nominated for Best Screenplay.

Barry Levinson's 1982 critically acclaimed film about longtime friends facing life after college features a now famous "who's who" including Mickey Rouke, Paul Reiser, Kevin Bacon and Steve Guttenberg.

The movie poster showed a generic image but the interior diner shots were filmed in the beautiful Bendix Diner, a 1950s Master Diner located in Hasbrouck Heights, just over the New Jersey state line. The movie will celebrate its 30th Anniversary next year ... ROAD TRIP!

Screenplay of the Year in '83 went to Ghandi. And, when you think of it, Diner offered its own pearls of wisdom ... "If you want to talk, you always have the guys at the diner."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Stone's Downtown Diner, Hopewell, VA
Originally the Little Chef Diner, then the N & M Diner

Monday, February 14, 2011

Going With The Obvious ... Happy Valentine's Day

The Kansas Historical Society has a great section dedicated to the state's only diner manufacturer ... Valentine Manufacturing Inc.

Arthur Valentine and his wife started a restaurant in the 1920s, expanded to other locations in the 30s, which turned into a chain of diners.

Valentine Diners were manufactured in Wichita between the late 30s and mid 70s, and they produced many styles over the years and 'brand' names include Little Chef, Double Deluxe and Big Chef.

Characterized by their small, boxy buildings, a Valentine's counter sits 8-12 people.

Old advertising programs claim the diners were shipped to 38 states, although evidently not so much in New England. I'd never seen one until we passed through Virginia on the way to North Carolina. 

Stones Downtown Diner, Hopewell, VA
Little Chef model Valentine Diner
Click here to find a Valentine in your area.  Visit the KHS website here

Me and my Valentine
December 2008

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blanchard's 101, Worcester No. 852

Every diner has a story.  

Blanchard's 101 Diner on Cambridge Street in Worcester is unique in that opened for business for the first time in 2008.  

Larry Cultrera's Dinerhotline had a great post about the history.

Basically, in 1961 the diner was on the production floor when all of the Worcester Lunch Car Company's assets were sold at auction. The new owners hoped to continue in the diner business, but things didn't work out as planned. 
Amazingly, the frame of this 'last' Worcester diner remained enough intact for someone to realize its historic value and built a diner around it, creating Blanchard's 101.

So, are Worcester Diners my favorite style?

Yes ... until I see a shiny Fodero, a 'space age' DeRaffele, a cozy Valentine or have lunch in a Sterling Streamliner or .... 

What's great about the Worcester diners is that they were able to adapt over the years, updating their style to include monitor roofs, a more streamlined appearance and as a result, were in business for over half of a century.

Pretty cool. 
Road Trip
L-R: Kim Smith, Paula Walsh, Richard Gutman
Denise Bass, Larry Cultrera
Blanchard's, 2009

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Worcester Wednesday

95 Prescott Street
Worcester No. 660

Night Photo by Denise JR Bass
155 Shrewsbury Street
Worcester No. 730

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Week of Worcesters

Providence may be the birthplace of the diner, but Worcester is truly a diner kind of town.

A week's feature on diners manufactured by the Worcester Lunch Car Company could easily focus on this Massachusetts industrial hub.

I guess you'd expect nothing less from a city whose tourist council's information booth was once a diner.

According to Roadside Online's Diner Finder, there are currently 14 diners in Worcester.

11 of these are Worcester style diners
 1 is in storage
 1 is a private residence (really!)
 3 have been renovated to the point where there is little left of the original structure.
   (Having been manufactured in the 1930s & 1940s, it is bound to happen.)
 2 have been remodeled to keep up with the times, but are more true to their original form.
 1 is an 'lost diner found' ... Worcester 101 (more on that later this week.)
 1 used to be a bar and is still in great shape
 2 are picture perfect examples of Worcester Lunch Car craftsmanship.
    (The Boulevard Diner and the Miss Worcester from yesterday's post. I'm seeing conflicting
    reports about the Miss Worcester's status ... is it open?)

Photos tomorrow in a Worcester Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Week of Worcesters

There are some things that are quintessentially New England ... a spired church, the brilliant colors of Fall, the ocean, a covered bridge ... a Worcester Diner.

The Worcester Lunch Car Company may have been founded in 1906 by Philip Duprey, but it is carpenter Charlie Gemme's name that is tied to the Worcester Diner.

Between 1907 and1961, the company built over six hundred and fifty diners.  Over the years, the style of the diners changed with the times ... from  a barrel roof, beautiful woodwork to a more streamlined, modern look. Worcester diners are always numbered and in many cases, a Worcester had porcelain enamel panels on the outside which featured the diner's name, often starting with "Miss" ... an early marketing ploy to attract women to the diners? Hmmm.

Miss Worcester Diner in the early 1990s
photo by Paula J. Walsh
In a 'Week of Worcesters' it seems obvious to start with the Miss Worcester Diner, Worcester, MA.  No. 812, the diner didn't have far to go.  It rolled off the production line in 1948 and went right across the street.

Still located at 300 Southbridge Street, the Miss Worcester is owned by Kim Kniskern.

Phone: (508) 753-5600

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two People Who Have Probably Never Been In A Diner....

.......England's Prince William and his fiancee, Kate.

Obviously, I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing they haven't made a late night trip to Fat Boys Diner, the 1953 Worcester diner located at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Perhaps they've 'popped round' to an Ed's Easy Diner. While technically not a diner, the restaurant chain has been a fixture in the city close to 25 years. I was at the one in Covent Garden in 1989, before diners ... or Ed!

England certainly has it fair share of American style restaurants ... and a fascination with Americana that dates back to Elvis.

So, if the upcoming Royal Wedding wasn't enough of a reason to make the trip, add checking out Starvin Marvins,  a 1997 DinerMite diner in Greenford and the Riverview Diner,  a 1940s O'Mahoney in Kent to your itinerary.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Diners & Music ... a Natural Pair

I originally wanted to talk about diners on album covers last month. Not surprisingly, I was distracted by a photo of Springsteen in a diner. Which led to diners in music videos - again Springsteen has one of those, too.

Before MTV album covers were the main visual associated with a song or record.

I have four of these in my collection and I won't make you guess which ones - Stray Cats, Tom Waits and Hall & Oats.

Larry at Diner Hotline has a posting on the Don Williams album ... and yes, I Googled the rest!

I confess, my albums are packed away since our move last year. Only until we set up the turntable again. But, what am I missing? There has to be more than this, right?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Neon Museum in Vegas ... from the Associated Press

Next time I'm in Vegas, no excuses, I need to go to the Neon Boneyard.

I recently noticed this article on Roadside Online's blog. They picked up an AP story and since I haven't yet mastered how to import from another blog ... I'm doing the old fashioned, "cut & paste" with this piece from the San Fran Gate. 

The stack of giant neon letters just beyond the gates of the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas are unlit. Flecks of turquoise, ruby and jade paint chips dot the gravel field. There are rusted metal beams, twisted tubes, cracked lightbulbs and 40-feet-tall skeletons plucked from the rubble of imploded casinos.

Miles from the blinking marquees of the Las Vegas Strip, this is where neon signs go to die.

Click here, to read the full article and view photo credits.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Exercise, eating right ...

Today's the day when most people put their resolutions to the test and head back to work.

If exercising more and eating better weren't on your resolution list, the barrage of commercials from gyms and weight loss systems over the weekend most likely have you thinking twice.

And the first thing your probably thinking is ... a diner, no way can I eat there.  Well, no, not every day - but most likely you weren't going every day to begin with.I'm sure whatever diner you stop at will make an egg white veggie omelet.

I'm also pretty sure if you get a short stack of pancakes instead of the regular order, and choose either butter or syrup, you'll still leave full and have had a tasty breakfast.

And let's hope whatever diner you go to is busy ... so you're taking parking spot farthest away from the door, and adding a few extra steps on that pedometer!