Duff’s Diner – Winchester, VA

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Duff’s Diner No. 2 opened in 1951. It was built at a cost of $135,000.00 and featured a large dining room with nightly live organ music. By 1960, Mr. and Mrs. M.T. Duff sold the diner to Joseph and Evelyn Allen. In 1963, the Allens opened Duff’s Rebel Restaurant across town. They continued running the two establishments, along with a motel until 1983, when they sold the Rebel Restaurant to Charles and Fong Caldwell. The diner, by that point known as Duff’s Restaurant, continued operation until around 1985. Between 1985, it was occupied by Yam’s Rickshaw Lounge, the Silver Leaf Restaurant, Yam’s Fusion Buffet, Chrisana’s Thai Restaurant and Asian Market, and Dirty Harry’s Sports Bar and Grill. As of 2012, it is operating as the Winchester Diner.

When it was Duff’s, it also served Kentucky Fried Chicken, going back as far as c.1954, while it was still under the ownership of the Duffs. The Allens owned several KFC locations in the Front Royal and Winchester area, and advertised it at both the Rebel Restaurant and this location. Take a look at the former Kentucky Fried Chicken vestibule-top sign.

Pictures of the interior reveal absolutely nothing of its diner heritage remaining other than the footprint. Was it rebuilt in the ’70s? Was the diner remodeled so many times over the years by the multitude of businesses that have called it home that there’s nothing recognizable? Either way, there’s nothing really left to see.

The former Duff’s Diner is located at 2655 Valley Avenue Winchester VA.

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10 thoughts on “Duff’s Diner – Winchester, VA

  1. Spencer, I have a very large matchbook cover from Duff’s Diner. I obtained it years ago (mid-1990’s) thru someone I met on a Boston-Providence “Diner tour.

  2. The info in the above story is incorrect. Melvin Duff did not sell to Joseph Allen. in 1960. Mr Duff ran the restaurants until his death in 1965. He was my father.

    • I remember your father very well. Your father and Evelyn used to come up to our house on South Stewart St. to visit my mother (Jane Crenshaw) . If I remember right I think the Duff’s lived on South Washington st. Mom used to have Crenshaw’s Furniture. Melvin was one hellava poker player. . . lol

    • My father, Keith and I went to Duffs all the time, up until I went in the Navy in 76. I only knew Mr. Allen and Evelyn as they gave me my 1st job as a busboy / anything else they wanted. Seems so long ago but I will alway have fond memories. I remember the fountain and fish pond in the front, was it a pond or just the fountain?

  3. Deborah, I wish your family would re-open Duff’s Rebel Restaurant. We used to stop there when I was a kid on our way from Pa. to N.C. and I always wanted to eat there. The Civil War theme was so very appropriate to the area, as there are Civil War ghosts everywhere up there. In fact, eating there and riding on US 17 from Winchester to Falmouth is what enchanted me with the Civil War, something that has lasted unto this day.

    • I agree. I have fond memories of eating there w/ my family in the early 1960’s. the photo of the restaurant brings back many good memories especially since my dad passed 2 yr ago. I bought a felt rebel cap at the restaurant when I was 4.

    • It was a wonderful time in our country, a time of innocence, a time before political correctness silenced and intimidated everyone. I would go way out of my way to eat there if it was reopened, but only if it was reopened in the same style as it was in the 50’s and 60’s. I LOVED it! So sad that it’s gone. It was a piece of Americana.

  4. I have two sets of cups and saucers from Duff;s Rebel if anyone is interested in buying. Both cups are inscribed Wellsville China Wellsville Ohio 1960. The saucers are inscribed “hand decorated Cosmopolitan created by Wellsville China Wellsville Ohio”. Both cups have Duff’s Rebel inscribed once and each saucer is inscribed twice. Please contact me at cvinhunter@bellsouth.net if interested. Thanks.

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