The Forest Diner – Ellicott City, MD – Update

The Forest Diner closed on May 28th, 2012. Here’s a full post on its closing, with pics of its final days. To refresh your memory- here’s the way the diner looked a little less than a month ago. The old Silk City diner was entirely encased in a larger restaurant, with about four feet between the diner’s facade and that of the surrounding building.


In these past couple weeks, the surrounding building has been razed, leaving nothing but the diner itself. Word on the street was conflicting- one person at the site saying that it had already been sold and was going to be moved to Virginia, the other that it had not been sold, but was moving to temporary storage off-site until plans can be made for it. Once I hear back from people who know for sure, I’ll post it on the blog. Either way, the diner is being saved, but removed from Rt. 40.








The Forest Diner – A Final Farewell

The official notification hanging in the diner:

Deal Loyal Forest Diner Patrons,
After 66 years of serving the finest food in Howard County, the Forest Diner will be opening our doors for the last time on Monday, May 28. We would like to thank everyone who has allowed us to become part of their lives over the years. It has been our pleasure to serve each and every one of you.
While the Diner will be closing, we have partnered with Jilly’s Bar and Grill, which is right across the street in the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, to continue the tradition of fine food and service that you have come to expect from us. So what does that mean? Quite simply, this means the Forest Diner without the dining car.
Starting on may 29, Jilly’s will be open at 6am to serve you. You will be able to get the same food as the Forest Diner, prepared and served by the Forest Diner staff, for the same price. The management team at Jilly’s is looking forward to exceeding your expectations for breakfast and lunch.
As part of their commitment to you, we would like for you to write your name and contact information in the notebook located by the register. Jilly’s is in the process of making a Diner Loyalty Card, which will entitle our loyal customers to receive special deals at Jilly’s.
Once again, thank you for being part of our family over the years. And while we will miss the dining car, we do hope to see you at our new home at Jilly’s.
Truly yours,
The Staff of the Forest Diner

Over the years, the Forest Diner has become entirely encased in later renovation, leaving the Silk City unrecognizable from the street.

neon sign

Inside, however, the original diner is in extremely good condition, having been protected from the elements for decades.


The diner is Silk City 5076, meaning it was the 76th diner built by Silk City in 1950. It was originally known as Gearhart’s Diner and was opened by a Bob Gearhart. It was sold in 1957 to William Carl Childress and was renamed the Forest Diner. He operated it until his death in 1998.
I’m not sure where the 1946 date that the diner and the news stories have been using comes from. I suppose this could have been a replacement for an earlier diner, bought either new or secondhand. I need to do some digging.

Waitress Ellen Jackson in the diner.

Neon with the Enchanted Forest in the background. The Enchanted forest was supposedly the nation’s second theme park, opening just after Disney.

Soft stuff is also closing with the diner

Directly next door to the Forest Diner- a Kullman which opened in 1998 as the Princess diner and was bought out a bit later by the Double T diner chain. There was a lot of head scratching in ’98 as to why they would open a diner next to another diner, and speculation as to its effect on the Forest diner’s business.

More stories on the closing

Maryland Diners past and present

The Shamrock Diner- Rt. 40 Aberdeen MD

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.

The Overlea Diner– 6652 Belair Rd Baltimore, MD. 1930s Kullman

Overlea Diner (1992) – 1992 Musi. Replaced original after fire.

Outrider’s Diner- Rt. 1 and Whisky Bottom Rd. Laurel Md- 1937 Kullman
Investigated in regards to ties to organized crime in 1951


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.

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

Park College Diner- 8205 Baltimore Ave College Park MD
Multiple arrests during sit ins in 1962.
1950s O’Mahony


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.

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

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.

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

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.

Magnolia Diner
1009 Pulaski Highway
Joppa, MD 21085
Late ’40s/early ’50s Mountain View. Closed c. 1976. Demolished 2009

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

New Bridge Diner- Havre De Grace, MD- Still there, but a great postcard
Bridge Diner

Penmar Diner
Maryland Ave south of North Ave. Baltimore, MD

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.


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


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

Tastee Diner- Silver Spring MD

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 (


The Paddock Diner
Pulaski Highway Rt. 40
White Marsh, MD
E.F. Sadler owner

Not quite MD- but close
Mayflower Diner- Washington DC

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


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.

Not sure to which diner this 1959 ad is referring to.

Art’s Diner
5014 Rhode Island Ave Hyattsville, MD

Belair Diner
Bel Air, MD

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.

Happy Day Diner – former Double T Diner
1959 DeRaffele
8302 Pulaski Highway
Rosedale, MD 21237

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

Silver Moon Diner
9605 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21220
2006 Kullman

Double T Diner
10741 Pulaski Highway
White Marsh, MD 21162
1997 DeRaffele

Golden Star Diner/ Cloverleaf Diner/ Aberdeen Eagle
527 S Philadelphia Blvd
Aberdeen, MD 21001
1954 Kullman
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

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)

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.


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

Double T Diner
9217 Cornflower Rd
Baltimore MD
1996 Kullman

Double T Diner
1 Mountain Rd.
Pasadena, MD
1991 DeRaffele

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

Nick’s Diner
11199 Viers Mill Rd.
Wheaton, MD
Converted gas station

Silver Diner
Lake Forest Mall
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

Nautilus Diner
2047 York Rd
Timonium MD
2000 DeRaffele

RD’s Diner
3106 Solomon Island Rd
Edgewater, MD

Broadway Diner
6501 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD, USA, 21224
2000s DeRaffele

Towson Diner
718 York Rd, Towson, 21204-2545
1999 DeRaffele


Silver Diner
6040 Greenbelt Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770
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

Hollywood Diner
895 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD

Sullivan’s Diner- Horseheads NY

I visited Sullivan’s Diner in April of 2004. To this day it remains one of my all time best diner experiences. The well preserved Silk City had just enough wear on it that it felt like home. Locals helped themselves to coffee behind the counter and Mrs. Sullivan doted on her customers like a mother. The dark wood, sliding front door and heavy china transported you back decades. To this day, this formative experience is one that I judge all other diners against.


Blue Moon Diner

Here are some shots from Inky over at of the recently restored (by Steve Harwin of Diversified Diners) Blue Moon Diner, a 1941 Silk City Diner now located in Hickory Corners, Michigan, at the Gilmore Car Museum. It was originally located in Meridan, CT, and has been at the museum since 2004.

Blue Moon Exterior




exhibit only