The JFK Bar – Anaconda, MT

The JFK is a ’60s corner bar located at 823 E Park Ave, Anaconda, MT 59711

Great patriotic red white and blue neon. A lot of complexity to the sign’s shape.
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Glass brick, cinderblock and stone veneer. I love the slant windowed door, typical of so many suburban houses of that era, reinforced with metal on the outside. photo IMG_0430.jpg

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The College Park Little Tavern

The Little Tavern at 7413 Baltimore Ave College Park, MD, was built around 1940 (some sources say 1938, others 1941. Little Tavern Shops started their expansion into Maryland suburbs in the late 1930s), and is slated to come down very soon.

The College Park LT in the late 1940s, on the far left.
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In the 1970s. Little Tavern fed hungry Terps for more than half a century.
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After Little Tavern went out of business in the early 1990s (read about the life and death of the Little Tavern chain on some of the other posts on this blog), the building operated as a Toddle House, the Philadelphia Cheesecake Factory, Curry Express and JD’s Roadhouse Barbecue. It has been vacant nearly a decade.

As of 2011, the awning still showed signs of its stint in the early 1990s as a Toddle House. The Little Tavern’s architecture suited Toddle House, whose early buildings were a similar cottage style. Their buildings later grew- the current College Park Diner, down Rt. 1, was originally a 1960s Toddle House.
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The interior of the building suffered through the tenant changes of 1990s and 2000s, with the original tilework, custom built Monel backbar, stools and counters being replaced with whatever was cheapest from the hardware store.
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Now, with rapid development of the historic district of College Park, and ownership of the land by the University of Maryland, the historic structure will be demolished to make way for a “pocket park” with parking for food trucks.
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The Medport Diner – Medford, NJ

We had dinner at the Medport Diner. It’s a L-shaped DeRaffele- built diner, with a stainless steel A-frame style vestibule.
122 New Jersey 70 Medford, NJ. While it’s a big diner, its floor plan, with the L shape, and a row of booths between the counter and the row of booths at the window, keep it cozy. I feel that from the ’60s onward, as diners grew ever larger, they lost the intimacy of earlier ones which harbors interaction. Despite its capacity, this DeRaffele design manages to keep the local vibe of earlier models. The interior got a facelift early last year (photos), but it’s fairly complementary, and I much prefer it to the “retro” look so many are revamping their diners with.
The food was good and plentiful, and while the menu was extensive, enough of the options were variations on basic ingredients. Those typically NJ diner menus with 15 pages of everything-under-the-sun always overwhelm me and make me a bit nervous. I settled on the Texas burger, a cheeseburger with barbecue sauce, and a side of Disco Fries. From my years living in Canada, I became a bit of a poutine junkie, and having moved back to the US, I’ve been jonesing for my next fix. Disco fries are mozza and gravy on fries. They’re not curds, but the idea and flavor’s there. The cheese on the burger was particularly melty and the burger was juicy and flavorful. A great diner and a great way to round out the day.

The Medport Diner is located at:
122 New Jersey 70 Medford, NJ

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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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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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Trolley Conversions- Maryland and Virginia

Some recent additions to my collection. These photos were taken in 1965. There used to be quite a few trolley conversions in the mid atlantic (and elsewhere), but they just didn’t hold up as well as factory built diners. By the time they came into service as diners, most had served a full lifetime of service on the roads, so the condition was obviously not as good as a factory built diner. It took work, money and some jerry-rigging to change them over from transportation to food service. But they could be picked up and converted on the cheap, so they were a good way to get into the business. It seems most owners traded up to a proper factory built diner, or to a on-site construction once they had earned enough money to do so, so the trolleys didn’t survive very well.

Maryland
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Maryland
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Virginia
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Virginia
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