News from the Silver Diner

This just posted from the folks at the Silver Diner:

Hi everyone! Thanks for weighing in on the new location. We are sorry the news was so disappointing and believe us after putting our blood sweat and tears into the Rockville location, we are sad to be leaving, however our lease has expired. And, unfortunately, it is not feasible to cut up the 8 different modular sections that make up the diner & reassemble them as an operating restaurant. So after 20 great years, we are headed down the road to create the Next Generation Diner incorporating all the best features we’ve built into Silver Diner for the last 20 years. But, don’t be so quick to say goodbye, if you miss the old diner you can visit it around the country. The old diner will be available at different museums to help preserve the Silver Diner history!

I’m curious what they mean about visiting it around the country at different museums? Are they talking Dan’s Diner Salvage? Is it feasible to chop it up and ship it hundreds of miles but not the couple of blocks down the pike? Are they just taking select bits from it and bulldozing the rest?

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DC / MD diner trip – May 24, 2009

This was my first real diner trip in a while. I met up today with Mike Engle, author of Diners of New York; the man behind NYdiners.com, and roadside buff and frequent Zippy the Pinhead contributor Ed Engel at the American City Diner, and headed out from there.

The first stop of the day was the American City Diner of 5532 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC. It’s a late ’80s Kullman, one of the early retro-styled diners, and one of the ones that did it right. For some photos as it appeared when new, click here. Since then, it’s been added on to, with a large side addition, and a front porch which obscures everything to the left of the vestibule.
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The Left side of the diner- 2009
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The left side of the diner – 1989
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The former Howard Theater. Great rusty marquis on this one.
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The now abandoned Wonderbread / Hostess Factory

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Ran into a little excitement along the way between these two stops, but all’s well that ends well.

Northeast Academy of Dance Neon sign. Look at the detail at the left hand corner of the sign.
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We hit up the Capital City Diner, which was moved here on the 20th. Watch the video of it being moved. This Silk City, formerly of Avoca New York, has made its way to the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast DC.
Photos at its original location and some backstory can be found at :A Real Historic Diner Coming to DC!

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This next leg of the trip had some neat neon and signage

A&R Auto Parts
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Syd’s Drive In / Liquor
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Cross Roads
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Tesst theater
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Hyattsville Hardware / Franklin’s
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Calvert House
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Silver Spring’s old Canada Dry bottling plant
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A quick stop at the Silver Spring Tastee was made.

Now
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Then
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More old photos can be found here.

Then a side trip to Forest Glen, parts of which have deteriorated greatly since my last visit.
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Dinner at the Tastee Diner in Bethesda
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Then
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And the trip’s final stop at Bethesda’s former Little Tavern. A 1990 photo of it, when it was still a Little Tavern, can be found on the Diner Hotline.

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The American City Diner – Washington DC

I have a couple more posts of these old slide scans to go.

The American City diner was built by Kullman in 1989, and was one of the first old style diners to be built. And it really nailed the look. Just take a look at the photos. With the exception of larger dimensions, the detailing and proportions were kept essentially the same as a ’40s model. It’s beauty was in its simplicity, the design was clean and beautiful. Based on pictures of them from when they were built, this one and the Silver Diner in Rockville are my two favorites from this era of diners.

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

And here’s how it looks now. An awning has been added, obscuring the roof stainless work. The roof has been painted blue and red, a signboard has been added to the vestibule. A googie-esque addition has been added to the left hand side, as has a now closed in patio seating area, entirely covering the diner to the left of the vestibule. Everything about the diner has so much added onto it that the diner that was installed in 1989 is hardly recognizable.

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