English Diner No. 1 – Salisbury, MD


Thompson’s Diner opened in 1929 at 209 East Main Street, Salisbury, Maryland. The barrel roofed diner was bought by Jack English in either 1934 or 1936, depending on the source, and was the first of what was to be a diner empire on the Eastern Shore.

According to a 1967 article in the Salisbury Daily Times, “Mr. English, a Riverton farm boy who attended business college here by hose and buggy. . . worked in canneries, for Victor Talking Machine in Camden, NJ, and starting as an order boy for the American Stores Co. he became manager of the Philadelphia store, later becoming general manager of the New Jersey Area.

In the 1930s, the old 36 barrel roof was traded in on a large L-shaped double monitor roof graft, then again for an L shaped c.1947 O’Mahony “arrow” style diner. With its dining room addition, this diner sat 200. The diner survived long enough to make it into the guide in the back of Richard Gutman’s “American Diner Then and Now”, but has since been replaced with a mansard roofed brick office.  It appears that part of the dining room or kitchen still stands. photo EastMain.jpgA big thanks to Ed Engel for bringing the 1960s article to my attention. I’ve been searching for info to fill the gaps on the English Diner chain for years!


2 thoughts on “English Diner No. 1 – Salisbury, MD

  1. Pingback: English Diner No. 1 � Salisbury, MD | Diner Hunter ← Delmarva News

  2. Edward L Thompson about 1926 purchased the diner car and had it shipped in by train to Delmar, Maryland . He ran the restaurant for a couple years here in Delmar Maryland. In 1930 he moved the diner car to Salisbury and placed it next to the ‘old” post office. It was very successful. It stayed open to 3 AM and caught the night trade and the drunks in addition it was Greyhound bus station so it caught the bus trade. He added a brick and mortar addition to restaurant in 1937. In 1937 James B. English bought the restaurant and called it the English Grill. In 1938 Mr. English replaced the old diner car with a new larger Diner car. He shipped the old diner car to Ocean City, Maryland on Baltimore Avenue Bay side. In 1954 the new owners of that diner replaced it with a new diner. They sold the old Thompson diner to a man in Dover and there the trail disappears.

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