Another installment of Engle on the Trail of Diners!
Hullabaloo’s Diner may be in Wellborn, Texas now, but it spent its formative years in the Capital Region of New York.
Now we have learned that originally, diner was known as Reilly’s Diner and was located at 835 Central Avenue. Wednesday January 8, 1950 was the opening day of the diner by Frank T. Reilly. After becoming Bill’s Diner and Drive-In in 1951, the diner soon closed.
A March 23, 1953 newspaper article stated some of the facts. “A dispute over a Central Ave. real estate transaction, which has been held up 10 months because of an unused diner on the premises, was settled today in a decision by County Judge Schenck.” Then went on to say, “The contract provided that, if the diner were not removed by last June, the purchase price would be reduced by $150; if it were still there in July, the reduction would be $200; in August $250, and for each month thereafter that the diner remained, $300 more was to be deducted from the purchase price. Mr. Alpart contended that so long as the diner remained he was not obliged to convey title to the property. The court ruled the contract should be carried out immediately, with the price reflecting the appropriate reductions. The diner is owned by Alfred Equipment Company, which acquired it from a previous owner in bankruptcy proceedings.
The diner was moved up Central Avenue where it went on to become known as Little Nick’s Diner. We are aware of this time, but do not have any photographs of the diner in this location. The Albany city directories recognized this diner as Little Nick’s Diner starting in 1956, and went until 1964. The managers listed in the city directories are: Nomikas Koutouzis 56 : Arnold J. Madison 57 : Ben J. Blecker 58 : Frank J. Wagner 60-62 : Nomikas Koutouzis 63-68 : John Marshall 69-74.
In 1976, Rudolph Schlegel of Albany, NY bought the diner from the Capital City Realty Corp. It was reported that there were back taxes owed on the property. Rudolph sold the diner to a Mr. Lassy who moved the diner up by the entrance to the Saratoga National Park and the Saratoga Battlefield on US Route 4. In 1977, a Mr. Lasek was running the diner, then known as Carol’s Diner, until 1989 when it was sold to David Wolff. Wolff ran the diner for some years before it sat vacant for some more years. The property was bought by a Mr. Dyer who had plans for the property, but fell ill. Mr. Dyer was a friend of my uncle who let me know that there was a possibility of the diner being demolished. I quickly contacted Daniel Zilka who made a few calls and attempted to get the ball rolling on saving the diner. The diner risked demolition and was merely a day away from being demolished before Daniel Zilka was able to successfully come through and found an owner at the last minute. Eric Schulte from Wellborn, Texas bought the diner and had it moved to Texas. In moving, the diner did have one hiccup, as it hit a SUV in Saratoga Springs, on its way to the interstate. This led the diner to become sidelined in a parking lot for a few days before again hitting the road.
The diner now operates as Hullabaloo’s Diner in Wellborn, Texas and has been a hit! Hullabaloo’s can be found on the Internet http://www.hullabaloodiner.com/ and also has appeared on such shows as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The original flooring has been covered over, but otherwise most other things are quite original, Schulte has said. His intention is making the diner compliant and safe, but also allowing a future owner to possibly restore the floor to its original appearance.