Somers Point Diner, Somers Point, NJ

We ended up finally eating lunch at the Somers Point Diner. At some point in the past couple of years, the Somers Point traffic circle was replaced by a intersection. The Circle Liquor Store across the road has lost its namesake. The Point diner was built by Fodero. Since the original postcard, it has lost the top of its pylon sign, gained a large addition, and an extra tier to the roof. I love the floor to ceiling glass of the vestibule and the dining room addition, where the bottom infill panels, instead of being stainless or stone are glass. It takes the space age diner design of more and more glass in the facade to its logical conclusion. Inside, the diner has been significantly re-done, though I really enjoyed the paintings of the Jersey shore in the 1960s which hang in the L of the diner.
The special of the day was a hot open faced roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. That used to be my default diner order, but I haven’t had one in a while. If it’s on special, I’m always game, so in went the order. My dad had his usual hamburger, plain (nothing on that), medium rare, with fries and a diet coke. Mine came out garnished with parsley and, as I discovered after biting in, a sliver of aluminum can. The mashed potatoes were over-watered and of the powdered variety. The meat was tough. I didn’t finish. My dad’s burger was alright, but was pre-formed and frozen. It all had Sysco written all over it.
Back in the car, and on to Margate to visit Lucy the Elephant. I think there will be a blog post about that leg of the trip over at Neon Dreamscapes shortly.

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The Rio Grande Diner – Middle Township, NJ

This was lunch stop candidate no. 2. It’s an early 1950s Mountain View Diner which has received the New Jersey treatment of stone and mansard. The distinctive lines of the cowcatcher corners are still visible, but have been covered, like the rest of the diner, in a stone veneer. We pulled in, I jumped out to take a quickie photo from the sidewalk before heading in, and within seconds someone had come out of the diner to hassle me for it. From previous experience, it’s always best to move along when that kind of thing happens. So we passed on lunch, I jumped back in the car, and off we went down the road.

The Rio Grande Diner is located at:
1305 New Jersey 47 Middle Township, NJ

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Surfside West Diner – Wildwood, NJ

I had intended lunch yesterday to be at the Surfside West Diner in Wildwood, NJ, a rare one by the Superior Dining Car Company. Unfortunately, they were closed for the season, and will not reopen until May 11th. The diner is currently painted turquoise, and the old neon which graces the roof in other pictures of it online has been covered (replaced?) by a plastic one with a picture of a diner on it.
For shots of the interior, see HERE

The Surfside West diner is located at:
5308 New Jersey Ave, Wildwood, NJ 08260

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Elmer Diner – Elmer, NJ

Breakfast ended up being at the Elmer Diner, which I last visited about seven years ago. A diner on the site goes back to the 1920s. The ’50s incarnation has been turned perpendicular to the road, gutted and has been used for the past forty odd years as a dining room. The main diner is a 1970s model with bay windows. Since I was there last, an argyle pattern has been painted on the vestibule, and stainless has been added to the exterior of the dining room. I had the 2+2+2 special, 2 pancakes with cream chipped beef, bacon and sausage. Dad had scrambled eggs, bacon, homefries and toast. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the bacon memes and bacon craze of the past couple of years, but it seems that diners now include much more bacon than they did just a couple of years ago.

The Elmer Diner is located at:
41 Front St Elmer, NJ 08318

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July 2012 Pennsylvania Diner Trip

The Prospect Diner has become our go to breakfast stop ever since it was taken over by Mike Conroy. It has become everything a diner should be. It’s a classic mid 1950s Kullman, a model transitioning into the space age. I think my first stop there was when I was about five years old, so you could say it’s been a tradition for a while. Every time we’ve been in, the diner is full of locals- always a good sign. The food is good, plentiful and inexpensive. I had chicken and biscuits, topped with sausage gravy. Side of (perfectly done) home fries, and coffee which, thanks to expert waitressing, never dipped beyond half empty.
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We traveled on from Columbia to Lancaster, passing the Columbia Diner, at 1725 Columbia Ave Lancaster, PA. It’s a remodeled ’50s Kullman, known as the Wheatland Diner from 1955 to 1973.
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Directly next door to the Columbia diner is this old McDonalds golden arch.
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A Frame. Bright’s Restaurant.
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Highlights of Ephrata, PA
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The main event, a meet up with Michael Engle and Glenn Wells at the Cloister Diner. The Cloister is a 1952 Silk City. It was remodeled in the 1960s. The end wall was removed to open the diner up to a dining room addition. The tile in the addition flows very nicely from the diner itself. Panels from the end wall were moved to replace the front door, which was also removed in the remodel. The original neon was kept on the roof during the remodeling, really the only hint from the exterior of what lies inside.

We were lucky enough to chat with the truly inspiring Elva Stauffer, the owner of the diner since 1972.
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Fresh homemade peach pie. It’s as good as it looks, believe me.
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With Glenn and Michael.
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The Penn Diner – New York City

I just got this (probably) 1950s slide of New York City’s Penn Diner. It replaced an older barrel roof model, but the neon transferred. The caption on the slide is in Japanese.

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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.

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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.

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Haussner’s Baltimore

Haussner’s opened in 1926 and served its last meal in 1999. My matchbook from it advertises its Bavarian Rathskeller and Haussner’s Bavarian Orchestra. The restaurant was famous for its art collection, which sold at auction after the restaurant closed for ten million dollars. As luck would have it, I spent the day a block down from Haussner’s at the Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival, so I took some pictures of the building.

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Some info about a recreation of Haussner’s which appeared in Mad Men