This shot comes from my friend Luke Ryalls, who is down south on a trip with Dalhousie University architecture.
The 11th St. Diner is a 1948 Paramount, moved from Wilkes Barre, PA in 1992.
Roussel’s was also located in LaPlace, LA. It originally sported a much flashier neon.
The Harris Diner is an old homebuilt diner, located at 79 North Ave, Owego 13827. It replaced a Ward and Dickinson.
We stopped in for breakfast once, about five years ago, which is when these pictures are from. They really know the dying art of counter showmanship here. The breakfast was timed so perfectly that the toast was caught mid-air as it popped, just after the eggs finished on the griddle, as the plate made its way from behind the counter to in front of us.
The Spot Diner was located at 220 N. Franklintown Road, Baltimore, MD, an industrial neighborhood just off Rt. 40.
While the matchbook graphic obviously exaggerates the diner’s size, it does appear to be a representation of the diner itself, and not just a stock image. It looks like the diner was sold in 1954 and changed its name to the Franklintown Diner. It was sold again in 1962.
The site is now home to Calmi Electric. The windows and proportions are right for a covered diner, as is the foundation and window/door deletes on the other side of the building. But the setup and size don’t look consistent with what’s on the match cover, even taking into account the exaggeration. So at the moment- it’s a big who knows. Further investigation is necessary.
The Clearview started out life as a small, five bay 1948 Paramount. It was pretty standard for a Paramount built diner of the late 1940s, which is to say it was extraordinary- with a sensuously curved roofline and strong vertical elements. From the postcard, it’s hard to say what the exterior finish is, but I would guess probably vertically ribbed stainless. It had a great rooftop neon, which, in true 1940s form read “steaks, chops, hamburgers”. You don’t see nearly enough Steaks and Chops being advertised these days. For other ’40s Paramount built diners along similar lines, allow me to direct you to: “Rajun Cajun” of Hartford, CT, a six-bay model from 1950, to the Vale-Rio Diner, another 1948 model.
In 1954, the diner was remodeled and drastically enlarged, adding three bays to the left side and bumping a dining room back quite a ways. Business must have been good! In keeping with this modernization, curved glass supplanted glass brick on the corners. A new, clock topped vestibule was added, and a parapet was added to the curvy monitor roof to give the entire place a continuous, 1954 modern roof line. The emphasis of the design was changed to the horizontal. The diner was topped off with metal awnings and a new freestanding neon, though the steaks-chops rooftop piece remained for at least a little while longer.
Later on, the “Diner” name was dropped, replaced with “The Clearview Dining Room and Coffee Shop”. See Richard J.S. Gutman’s chapter on the move away from the “diner” name in the 1960s in his book “The American Diner Then and Now”. Despite the name and neon changes, the exterior looks to have remained in-tact, with the addition of Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs.
In what I’m guessing was the 1960s, the diner was enlarged and remodeled again, with a mid-century modern coffee shop-style vestibule put up along the entire length of the original 1948 section of the diner. Orange tile, floor to ceiling glass, modernist lettering.
Later on, the “Diner” was reintroduced into the name of the Clearview, probably coinciding with the cultural “re-discovery” of the diner in the 1990s. It changed names to the Tic-Tac diner in 2009, but that chapter in its life was short lived. By 2012, the diner had been stuccoed over, painted, and is now known as Babbo’s Italian Grill. A photo of the diner in its current state can be seen on the Diners of Pennsylvania facebook page.
As the Tic Tac Diner
Photo by Casey Kreider
Here are some shots from a 1947 publication on Bars and Restaurants I found today in my school’s library.
Forthright disclosure in this department is definitely not in keeping, even where the service is offered in connection with a self-service restaurant. Although prominent citizens may properly assert they “have nothing to hide” in occasional temperate indulgence, they still don’t really like to do it on manifest exhibition. For this reason, the exterior of Tropical Gardens, though striving for attractiveness and compulsion in line with principles for the restaurant front, has much smaller window areas, with curtains as a rule nearly drawn, to reveal very little to the street of the activities and personages inside. Still the front should express, as Tropical Gardens attempts, particularly in the doorway, the essential nature and character of the operation, projecting all possible inducements to make the customer enter.
We visited the former Pushnik’s Diner/ D’Alexander’s during a period between 2003 and 2006 when it was operating as the Horn & Horn diner. It was built in 1960 by the Fodero diner company and replaced an early model Silk City which had previously been on the site. It re-opened on Monday as Marabelle’s Restaurant. The full news story can be read HERE
Their new website is marabelles.com