The Laurel Diner – Laurel, MD

The Laurel Diner opened c.1934. It originally operated in an early Silk City, with an unusual end-door setup. C. 1951/1952, this Silk City was moved to Baltimore to replace an old converted trolley diner. The Silk City was replaced with a brand new Comac Diner.

Like Outrider’s Diner, just down the road, the Laurel Diner was part diner, part bar. It looks like the Laurel also had an off-licence, as it advertised itself as a liquor store as well. It also owned a small two story brick motel, adjoining the diner.

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The diner acquired metal awnings in the 1980s. By that point, the neon “Chops” had been Changed to “Pizza”, and signage for the motel had been added. Also take note of the name change. It is still doing business as part of the local “Tastee Diner” chain. The large double signs have recently been repainted, but over the years, have lost all the sub-signage. Note the Little Tavern in the background of the night-shot.

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Greetings from the Laurel Tastee Diner!

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Over Christmas, I decided my girlfriend, Anna, needed a true American Diner experience. She’s from Manitoba and has been putting up with me geeking out over diners and all the stuff you see here on my blog for the past two years. Sure, up in Halifax, we’ve hit up most of the good greasy spoons and funky local places the city has to offer, but in my mind a storefront diner and a factory built diner are two different animals.

If you’re a long time reader, you’ll probably guess I like the Laurel Tastee- I’ve had enough posts on the place and researched its history enough. Part of that’s just that it’s close, but it’s got a really fantastic atmosphere to it. The perfect blend of seed and great food, preservation and funk. It’s a diner and makes no apologies. It’s the real deal.

So while she was stateside, we drove over to Laurel for breakfast. Chocolate chip pancakes for her. Cream chipped beef for me. Overheard conversations about bounty hunting and recruiting on campus. Had a nice little chat on the way out with (the owner? manager?) about his days as a trucker. He’d never been to Halifax, but had made some runs up Rt. 1 in Maine back in the day picking up sardines. You can see him sitting at a stool in the background of one of the shots.

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118 Washington Boulevard South
Laurel, MD 20707

Here are some other posts with history and additional photos.
Tastee Diner, Laurel, Maryland
The Tastee Diner Chain
Laurel Diner

Maryland Diners past and present

The Shamrock Diner- Rt. 40 Aberdeen MD
Gone.
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The Prospect diner (on site)- The Prospect Diner is one of the finest diners in the country, new, modern and air conditioned for your comfort. Located in Hagerstown, Md., on Route 40 and one block off Route 11. Is famous for its fine foods and generous service. Your visit to Hagerstown is not complete unless you visit the Prospect Diner.
Still there as of a 1963 city directory
Now Gone.
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The Overlea Diner– 6652 Belair Rd Baltimore, MD. 1930s Kullman
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Overlea Diner (1992) – 1992 Musi. Replaced original after fire.
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Outrider’s Diner- Rt. 1 and Whisky Bottom Rd. Laurel Md- 1937 Kullman
Investigated in regards to ties to organized crime in 1951
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New Ideal Diner- Aberdeen, MD-
There have been four diners on this site since 1931, the current one is a 1952 O’Mahony, Serial no. 2206

From a 1953 Coronet
The New Ideal Diner in Aberdeen, Maryland, located on Route 40, a broad four lane highway that connects Baltimore with the New Jersey Turnpike, is a good example. Sparkling and clean, its counter and comfortable booths can accommodate 102. Its menu caters to a wide range of eating tastes.

On the average day, you will find chauffeured limousines sharing its parking space with jeeps, hot rods and station wagons. You might even bump into Maryland’s Governor Theodore McKeldin, Jr. It is one of his favorite stopping-off places when he is traveling on the road.

The New Ideal’s owners, Steve Karas, Jr., and his uncle, Pete Mikes, paid O’Mahony’s $105,000 for it ($852,000 in 2009 dollars). They could have spent as little as $30,000 for a smaller unit, or as much as $150,000 for a larger one.
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Edgewood Diner- Edgewood Rd and 40- Edgewood, MD -Operated by Jim O’Keefe, former trouper (carnival), according to a 1948 Billboard magazine.
Demolished by 1970s
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Park College Diner- 8205 Baltimore Ave College Park MD
Multiple arrests during sit ins in 1962.
1950s O’Mahony

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Ayer’s Diner- Rt. 13 Salisbury, MD
Charles C. Ayers, Jr., 75, of Hebron died Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at Coastal Hospice at the Lake.
Born in Wilmington, DE he was the son of the late Charles C. Ayers, Sr. and Mary Cicatelli Ayers.
Mr. Ayers moved to Hebron in 1947 with his parents to open Ayers Diner in Easton and Salisbury. Along with his wife, Norma they built C&E Tastee Freeze 1966. In 1981, he went to work for Plymouth Tube in Salisbury until his retirement in 1990. Mr. Ayers was a franchise coordinator for Tastee Freeze and was in the National Guard in the 1950’s.
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Aberdeen Diner- South End Aberdeen Rt. 40
Multiple arrests made during freedom rides in 1961
Newspaper records going back to 1947. Silk City looks like it could be older.
There as late as 1984
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Dixie Diner No. 1 (Sold in 1959- records of a Dixie diner in Baltimore go back to at least the early 1940s)
4730 Pulaski Highway Baltimore MD. There’s a vacant diner-sized lot there now with what looks like the remains of a diner-sized foundation.
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Dixie Diner No 2
6425 Pulaski Highway Baltimore MD C. 1952 Owned by John DiNatale.
Still operating in 1980s, though exterior had been covered over by that point
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English Diner Salisbury MD – c. 1939
The diner at this time was on Baltimore Avenue. In the background you can see the outline of the Atlantic Hotel and to the left, the old ocean city post office.
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Magnolia Diner
1009 Pulaski Highway
Joppa, MD 21085
Late ’40s/early ’50s Mountain View. Closed c. 1976. Demolished 2009
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Diner next to Chesapeake Bar and Lounge (1982)
Intersection of Pulaski Highway and Middle River Road
By the early 1980s, the diner had been gutted and turned into a pool hall.
Now the site of the Silver Moon Diner

Dixie Diner
39 Summit Ave. Hagerstown MD
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New Bridge Diner- Havre De Grace, MD- Still there, but a great postcard
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Bridge Diner

Penmar Diner
Maryland Ave south of North Ave. Baltimore, MD
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Diner- converted trolley car- replaced with an early 1930s Silk City in the early 1950s
2821 Wilkens Ave
Baltimore, MD 21223

State Diner – now Bourbon House BBQ
2821 Wilkens Ave
Baltimore, MD 21223
Originally the Laurel Diner- moved from Laurel to Baltimore in 1952. Replaced a trolley diner.
Ads for State diner go back to at least 1942.

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Laurel Diner
118 Washington Blvd S
Laurel, Maryland 20707
Pre 1934 Silk City- replaced with a Comac

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Bonnie Brae Diner-
Owned by Mrs. Leroy Merritt.
1930s Kullman. Demolished 2006
Site of racial incident with Ambassador Adam Malick Sow of Chad, who was at the time on his way to visit President Kennedy.
1301 Pulaski Highway Joppatowne MD
replaced a converted streetcar diner
secondhand (early 1930s?) Kullman brought from NJ to MD in 1949. Closed as a diner in 1975.

Tastee Diner- Bethesda, MD
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Tastee Diner- Silver Spring MD
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Meadow’s Dining Car- Rockville, MD

Conowingo Diner
373 Conowingo Rd
Conowingo, MD
Silk City #3816

Bob’s diner, a 1947 Mountain View ( Serial #237), now under restoration in Queens NY was stored in Southern Maryland for several years.

This is the old BOBs Diner from Rt. 30 in Colombia Pa. I purchased it in early 1992 and have it shipped and storage on my property in Southern Maryland. Its a 1947 Mountain View Diner and in excellent condition…maybe some day I’ll open it up if I find a spot. Till then its a great Sunday morning retreat with a hot CUP of Joe!!! Keep up the Good Work…….Dan (dansdiner@olg.com)

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The Paddock Diner
Pulaski Highway Rt. 40
White Marsh, MD
E.F. Sadler owner
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Not quite MD- but close
Mayflower Diner- Washington DC
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There was a diner built by the General Diner Manufacturing company (1939-1940) shipped to Baltimore.

Penny’s Diner of 12310 Winchester Road LaVale, MD 21502, a 1997 Starlite (#M4472 ), was moved to Low Moor, VA. It may have replaced a Swingle.

The Lemoyne Diner (1941 O’Mahony #1104) was in Baltimore from 1990 to Sept. 4, 2002 at the 5800 block of York Road in Baltimore, but never opened. Bought by American Diner “Museum” in 2002. Sold to Richard Shappe. Bought by RM Auctions in 2008.

1964 Fodero – Previously operated as a State farm and a Playground Equipment Co.
804 East Pulaski Highway
Elkton, MD 21921

Rose’s Diner
1958 Silk City
800 East Pulaski Highway
Elkton, MD 21921

Elkton Diner
771 East Pulaski Highway
Elkton, MD 21921
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From a 1954 Article- “Best Diners in America”
Rt. 40 – ‘Judy’s Diner, northeastern out- skirts of Baltimore, on right goingsouth.
Rt. 40 – D and S Diner , near Rosedale, going into Baltimore, on left going south.
Rt. 1 – Harwood Restaurant, on right going north, at Harwood.
Rt. 1 – Clay’s Diner, 1 mi. north of Harwood, on right going north.
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Not sure to which diner this 1959 ad is referring to.
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Art’s Diner
5014 Rhode Island Ave Hyattsville, MD
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Belair Diner
Bel Air, MD
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Bel-Loc Diner
8701 Loch Raven Boulevard
Towson, MD 21234
DeRaffele c.1964

Boulevard Diner
1660 Merritt Boulevard
Dundalk, MD 21222
The Boulevard Diner at the corner of Merritt Boulevard and Holabird Avenue is a family-owned diner characterized by its casual atmosphere and great food: Built in 2001 it replaced one of Dundalk’s most famous landmarks-The House of Neptune.
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Happy Day Diner – former Double T Diner
1959 DeRaffele
8302 Pulaski Highway
Rosedale, MD 21237
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Essex Diner
Formerly Mr. D’s Diner /Starlight Diner
1993 Starlite- severely remodeled
15 Eastern Boulevard
Essex, MD 21221

Double T Diner
4140 East Joppa Road
Baltimore, MD 21236
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Silver Moon Diner
9605 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21220
2006 Kullman
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Double T Diner
10741 Pulaski Highway
White Marsh, MD 21162
1997 DeRaffele
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Golden Star Diner/ Cloverleaf Diner/ Aberdeen Eagle
527 S Philadelphia Blvd
Aberdeen, MD 21001
1954 Kullman
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Since these pictures were taken, the majority of the original interior has been removed.

Double T Diner – Frederick
5617 Spectrum Drive
Frederick, MD 21703
1998 Kullman

Double T Diner
10055 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21043
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Forest Diner (Carl’s Dining Car)
10031 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042-3611
Silk City No 5076 (1950)
Well preserved Silk City nearly entirely encased in a larger addition. Threatened with demolition (if it hasn’t happened already)
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New Towne Diner
11316 Reisterstown Road
Owings Mills, MD 21117
On-site ’90s diner

Double T Diner – Catonsville
6300 Baltimore National Pike
Catonsville, MD 21228
1959/ 1993 DeRaffele
I’m not 100% sure if this is the correct pic for this diner.
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Hilltop Diner
5440 Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, MD 21215
The inspiration for the film “Diner”
1961 Kullman

Hollywood Diner/ Kids Diner /Westbury Grill
400 East Saratoga Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
The set for the filming of “Diner”
Mountain View #326- 1954

Bunting’s English Diner
22nd St. and Philadelphia Ave
Ocean City, MD
1952 O’Mahony

Double T Diner
Rt 50 and Rt. 2 ( 12 Defense St.)
Annapolis, MD
1998 DeRaffele
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Double T Diner
9217 Cornflower Rd
Baltimore MD
1996 Kullman

Double T Diner
1 Mountain Rd.
Pasadena, MD
1991 DeRaffele
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English’s Diner
Rt. 13 N.
Salisbury, MD
1957 Mountain View

English’s Diner
Main St.
South Salisbury
1947 O’Mahony

Frank’s Diner / Olympia Diner- formerly in Carney’s Point, NJ
Rt. 1 and Cedar Ave
Jessup, MD
1959 Kullman
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Nick’s Diner
11199 Viers Mill Rd.
Wheaton, MD
Converted gas station
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Silver Diner
Lake Forest Mall
Gaithersburg
Uniwest (contractor for on site construction) 2000

Silver Diner- Laurel
14550 Baltimore Ave
Laurel, MD
1990- DeRaffele/ Uniwest?

Silver Diner
11806 Rockville Pk.
Rockville, MD
1989 Kullman

Silver Diner
12276 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Silver Diner
Towson Town Center
825 Dulaney Valley Rd.
Towson, MD
Uniwest (contractor) 1992

Village Grill/ Spike’s Diner
50 Southlawn Ct.
Rockville, MD

Irene’s/ Time Out Diner/ Short Stop Diner
University Blvd
Wheaton, MD
1956 Kullman Dinette

Plum Crazy Diner
15 Baltimore Blvd
Westminster, MD
1998 Starlite
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Nautilus Diner
2047 York Rd
Timonium MD
2000 DeRaffele
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RD’s Diner
3106 Solomon Island Rd
Edgewater, MD
?

Broadway Diner
6501 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD, USA, 21224
2000s DeRaffele
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Towson Diner
718 York Rd, Towson, 21204-2545
1999 DeRaffele

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Silver Diner
6040 Greenbelt Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770
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from wikipedia commons

Silver Diner
BWI Airport – Concourse B
PO Box 28967
Baltimore, MD 21240

Double T Diner
543 Market Place Drive
Bel Air, MD 21014
2000
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Hollywood Diner
895 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD

Maryland Diner Tour- 1981

Lots of searching finally paid off- now I have an address on Outrider’s Diner, as well as a more recent pic of it and the State Diner.
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Outrider’s Diner- It doesn’t seem there’s anything left.
black and white
color

State Diner- Moved from Laurel. Unfortunately remodeled sometime after 1981

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Photo by David Wilson

A color picture taken by David Wilson in 1979, showing the diner in color.

Tastee Laurel
Opened in the early 1930s. Replaced with a Comac. The number of windows in the illustration of the original diner, the doors on the ends and date it was moved make me think that the State may have been the original Laurel Diner.




Tastee Bethesda

Tastee Silver Spring

Laurel Diner updates

It looks like the Laurel diner (now the Tastee) goes back quite a ways. I’ve found newspaper records of it going back to 1934, when three men an a woman tried to kidnap one of the waiters. The Laurel diner has also had a liquor license going back as far as September of 1939.

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I’m fairly confident this is a drawing of the actual diner and not just period clip art. Assuming that’s the case, can anyone make an id or at least a guess as to manufacturer, if it dates from a 1934 or a bit before?

1934
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1939
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Laurel Diner

I found another matchbook view of the Laurel Diner, which I believe shows an older diner which the current Comac replaced. If you have any wild guesses as to builder or date of the diner from the matchbook, please throw them out there.

Frustratingly, it’s just a drawing on the matchbook, but it seems too specific to be stock art, and I haven’t seen the design on any other matchbooks, so I’m going to assume it’s at least fairly representative of what was there.

Note the doors at both ends. The rooftop sign advertises it as both a diner and a bar.
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Matchbook design is mostly the same, but diner is different and it’s billed as the “New” Laurel diner
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Postcards showing the early 1950s Comac which later became part of the Tastee Diner Chain. I wish I could find an actual photograph to confirm the earlier diner.
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Tastee Diner, Laurel, Maryland

As far as diners within a reasonable drive go, the Tastee in Laurel is my favorite. Great food, served fast in a nicely designed diner by a rare maker, Comac. The Tastee sits on an island of land between US 1 North and US 1 South, with entrances to the parking lot from both sides. It sits with the old train station to its right, and the old Little Tavern to its left. The kitchen, a small dining room, and the T.D. Lounge are all housed in the original brick addition.

This Tastee Diner was built by Comac in 1951, and replaced an earlier monitor roof diner at the location. The manufacturer is rare as they were only in business for four years or so. Their tag is found above the door. It opened as the Laurel Diner, but was bought by the local diner chain, Tastee Diner, which once had locations in Fairfax, Va, Rockville, MD, Bethesda, MD and Silver Spring, MD, as well as sponsoring an award winning duckpin bowling team after WWII. The Fairfax location is now known by its original name, the 29 diner, the Rockville location is long gone, but the Silver Spring and Bethesda ones are still going strong.

The two original neon signs still stand on either end of the diner, a silhouetted chef perpetually beckoning hungry travelers. The sign’s original neon reading “Laurel” is long since replaced with “Tastee”. The sign also originally read “Air Conditioned / Steaks-Chops / Cocktails / Patron Parking”. By the 1980s, “chops” had been replaced by “pizza”, and a sign for the adjacent motel had been added. Those have been gone for years, though.

The outside of the diner has changed very little in all the years since it was installed, with the exception of the usual wear and tear. Inside is also in good condition, with some changes made over the years, but nothing, with the exception of televisions, which detracts terribly. They are now smoke-free, which is nice.

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The “New” Laurel Diner- Restaurant and Liquor Store – “Before and after the races, as always your best bet.. is the Laurel Diner

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The Laurel Diner showing the neon

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Later postcard from the Laurel Diner

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Copyright Michael G. Stewart
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Old slide of the diner. Copyright Michael G. Stewart

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an early ’80s view of the . Copyright Michael G. Stewart

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The sign c 2007

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The Tastee Diner c 2006

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Comac Inc. Builders of Better Diners – Irvington, NJ
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Inside the diner. Note the newer stools and tile floor over the original terrazzo. Booths are presumably original old-syle dark wood.

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2007
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Me in the diner yesterday. The double cheeseburger was gooey and delicious on a perfectly toasted bun, with a side of homemade mashed potatoes. The refills on the crushed ice filled cokes came before I could finish even half of the previous one. The name of the diner says it all.