The DeLite/Deluxe Diner – Harrisburg, PA

A Brill Steel Diner arrived in Harrisburg, PA on July 1, 1929 from the factory in Springfield, MA. Its installation was supervised by Robert H. Lewis of the J.G. Brill Co., who had been in Harrisburg on a sales trip in March of 1929.  It was originally set up at 329 Walnut Street and cost $12,500. The diner was owned by Robert B. Brown of 259 Seneca Street, who had previously owned diners in Philadelphia. He operated the diner from 1929 until his suicide in 1933. His widow, Gertrude Brown, took over the diner and ran it until 1940, when the YMCA expanded their building onto the site and the diner was forced to move.

The newspapers and directories have a bit of confusion about the name.  1929, 1930, 1931 have it listed as the DeLuxe Diner. 1930 has the DeLite Diner at 239 Walnut. In 1933, the DeLite diner shows up at 325 Walnut Street, listed in the directory alongside the DeLuxe, still at 329 Walnut.  Later, the DeLuxe Disappears from the listings and the DeLite begins to be listed at 329. Articles about the removal of the diner for the YMCA expansion alternately refer to it as the DeLuxe and the DeLite. “Deluxe” was a standard name for Brill Diners of the period.
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Porter’s Diner – Harrisburg, PA

Porters Diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company and opened on December 22, 1939. It was located at 3rd and North Streets. It has a blue and gray color scheme and seating for 48.

Porter also had a 1934 O’Mahony at the corner of Paxton and Cameron. That diner later became Seybold’s, then the East Shore.

A shot of the 1939 Porters can be seen here: http://beyondsecond.com/photos/view.php?id=4112

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The City Line Diner, Harrisburg, PA

 

The City Line Diner was located at 1946 Paxton Street, Harrisburg, PA. It was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company,  and opened on October 25, 1940. It was originally owned by C.H. Wertz Jr. The diner sat 36, 22 at stools, and another 24 at six booths. It was painted the usual 1930s-1940s color scheme of white and green.

According to an article from the opening, at the time of its construction, this was one of the widest diners in Pennsylvania, which necessitated that its transport from New Jersey be entirely by truck, instead of the usual rail transport. Police had to close roads for its transportation, as it took up both lanes of the two lane highways upon which it traveled.

The diner was replaced in 1956 with Mountain View no.478. It was demolished in 1981. photo cityline-Copy2-Copy.jpg

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Ward and Dickinson

I got this photo in the mail earlier today. It was taken in 1947, but other than that, I don’t have much to go on as far as identifying the location goes. The photographer just missed name of the diner on the sign, and there is just too much film grain to be able to read any of the menu board inside. A nearby barbershop must have been moving or have been evicted, with all of its equipment sitting on the street in front of the diner at night. The vestibule is a crude affair, and the flowerboxes are gone. The sign is showing clear signs of age.
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The Mt. Penn Diner – Reading, PA

The Mt. Penn Glass Front Diner was located at the east end of the Lindbergh Viaduct in Reading, PA. It looks like it was located roughly at 2101 Howard Blvd, where Arner’s Family Restaurant is now. (A real estate listing for that restaurant can be found here). The diner is certainly an unusual one. The extreme width (for the pre-war period) is reminiscent of diners built by General and by Bixler, however the roof curvature and detailing is wrong. More than likely it was built on-site by a local contractor. I will give them credit, though, this is a well executed job if that’s what it is.

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This photo is from a menu I have in my collection dating from 1941. Some fun facts about the diner from that menu:
Do you know? That we employ 24 people in the diner, 24 hours.
Do you know? That we average over 25,000 patrons monthly.
Do you know? That this is America’s only Vitrolux Glass front diner and Pennsylvania’s Finest.
Do you know? That you have only a five (5) minute drive from the diner to the Chinese pagoda on the Sky Line Boulevard. (Dinerhunter note: It’s worth noting that they’re referring to it as a “Chinese” pagoda. Possibly to do with the Anti-Japanese sentiment of the war-time years.)

Quality food at the lowest possible price is our first consideration
We select all our employees, and instruct them to be civil, kind and thoughtful, even under the most trying circumstances.
We think you have a right to know the quality of food we are serving.

It may interest you to know: That we only use Idaho Potatoes – the world’s finest and that we served more than 60,000 pounds in 1940.
That all our french fried and julienne potatoes are cooked to order in our modern electric fryers.
That we use only the highest grade vegetable shortening for all our cooking and baking.
That in 1940 we used more than 100,000 Berks County fresh eggs, supplied by a reliable farmer. All our eggs are fried in pure dairy butter.

Do you know? That we used 6,000 pounds of creamery butter in 1940
That we served 215,000 cups of coffee the same year.
That we served 5,650 quarts of pure cream for coffee in 1940.
That we served 15,500 quarts of milk during the year 1940.

Do you know? That we grind our own hamburger fresh daily, from choice young beef rounds, and that we served more than 18 tons during 1940.
That we use Swift’s special bacon and choice beef.
That we use Heinz ketchup and tomato juice exclusively.
That we use Spanish onions- the sweetest in America.

We Do Know
That our success depends upon your satisfaction and your recommendation. . . If your food is not as you expect it to be, please oblige the management by having your waitress return same. We do appreciate your patronage.

Oriole Cafeterias – Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore’s Oriole Cafeterias still stand today, though you would probably never recognize them. Here they are, contrasted with original illustrations of the locations from 1947. The chain opened in 1922, with a fourth location at 22 Light Street. Going by city directories, this location didn’t last as long as others. The chain was defunct by 1975.

17 E. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD
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11 East North Avenue, Baltimore, MD
edit: The picture is of the Aurora Theatre. The Oriole stood directly to the left, a fragment of what remains of the building can be seen. It was originally the Peabody Theatre, which burned down in the early 1970s. More info.
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306 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD
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Diner Find- Mt. Vernon, New York

Mike Engle found a mention of a diner at this location in a 1933 newspaper. While greatly remodeled, this monitor roofed former diner is still recognizable. It is located on the Southeast corner of W. 1st street and Vista Place, Mt. Vernon, NY. Further info on the diner is being tracked down.

In 1930, the diner was owned by Joseph Rowall of Poland, who lived at 313 S. 6th Avenue. His roomer and fellow Polish immigrant, John Socker, was counterman in 1930, but would come to own the diner by 1936.

Edit: Found the name. As of 1931, it was the Joe and Larry, diner. By 1937, it dropped the full names and was called the J&L diner. The proper street address is 310 N. 1st St.

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Little Tavern Stools

Today was a big day for my Little Tavern collection. I picked up four new mugs, and eight stools. Three of the mugs are Jackson, one is Shenango. Four of the stools are from Washington No. 9 (1932, 5100 Georgia Ave NW) and four from Washington No. 15 (1936, 1200 Good Hope Rd SE).

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The Penn Diner – New York City

I just got this (probably) 1950s slide of New York City’s Penn Diner. It replaced an older barrel roof model, but the neon transferred. The caption on the slide is in Japanese.

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