If you liked the Armory Grill and the Chester Diner- here’s another diner find for you: The Meriden Diner, of Meriden CT.
Mike Engle was researching this diner today and was able to dig up some really great info on its history. We were chatting about what he’d found and I looked it up on google maps to see what they built on the site, and what do you know? It’s still there. Boarded up, mansard roofed, and covered over, but still recognizable.
The Meriden Diner was opened in 1931 by Fred Klett. It was built by the Ward and Dickinson Dining Car Company of Silver Creek, New York. Klett supposedly invented the Steamed Hamburger at the Meriden Diner. Mr. Klett unexpectedly committed suicide after five years of operation, leaving the running of the diner to his wife.
Fred Klett was a true diner man. Prior to 1911, Klett ran the Uneeda Lunch Room (on State Street) and the Lenox Lunch Room (Corner of Hanover and W. Main). He sold the Lenox in 1911, buying out his business partner’s interest in the Uneeda. Around the same time, Klett started operating what would become known as the Palace Diner on West Main Street, Meriden, CT. It is possible, likely even, that this original Palace Diner founded by Klett was the forerunner to a 1949 Silk City (#49212), which is currently operating as Cassidy’s Diner at 82 W. Main St., Meriden, CT. That location was known as the Palace Diner until 1983.
But back to the Meriden. It was bought by Wilson A. Veillette in 1938, who sold it to Clifford P. Hourigan in 1956. The old Ward and Dickinson car lasted until 1963, but by that point the car was small and dated. So a second-hand diner was brought in to replace the dining car. Veillette bought the Washington Diner of Hartford, Connecticut. This second hand Paramount would be replaced by another, more modern Paramount, located at 175 Washington St., Hartford, CT. Hourigan ran the diner until c.1973.
In 1974, the land was sold to Aida Incorporated. The ’70s and ’80s get fuzzy as far as ownership and operational status go, but I can say that in in the 1990s, it was the Meriden Bicycle Center, and was gutted by that point. Rite Aid received approvals for an 11,180 sf building with a remote drive-thru on the site. Eep.
The Meriden Diner (or what’s left of it) is located at 518 Broad St., Meriden, CT.