Village Sub Shop – Baltimore, MD

This is the first of a bunch of Maryland bar and restaurant matchbooks of mine. This is the Village sub shop, with their mascot, “subby”
Locations at:
6701 Belair Road, Overlea
5216 Belair Road, Gardenville
6401 Kenwood Ave, Kenwood
8801 Satyr Hill Road, Joppa
7707 Hartford Road, Parkville
819 Taylor Ave, Loch Raven
6719 Holabird Ave, Dundalk
2313 Cleanleigh Dr., Perring Parkway
5660 the Alameda, Alameda
8521 Liberty Road, Savoy Plaza
25 E. Padonia Rd, Padonia Village

The Spot Diner – Baltimore, Maryland

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.

Matchbook from the collection of Spencer Stewart


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.


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.


Beatlemania by the bag

Beatlemania meets Little Tavern Shops

February 15, 1965
Just for Laughs- Four Countermen at a sandwich shop put on Beatle Wigs yesterday. From left they are Charles LeBron, Efford Anderson, Robert Bonsall and Ronnie Barler.


Here’s a little context for you.

February 7: The Beatles arrive at Kennedy Airport in New York
February 9: The Beatles make their first appearance on CBS television’s “Ed Sullivan Show” in New York.
February 11: The Beatles make their first live concert appearance in the US at the Coliseum in Washington, DC., drawing an audience of 20,000 fans. February 12: The band gives two concert performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
February 13: 6.00pm This was The Beatles’ only visit to Baltimore. They performed two shows at the Civic Center, to a total of 28,000 fans. The support acts were The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, and Jackie DeShannon.

Here’s John before the Show.

Tudor Cottages- Possible LT?

East. 25th Street, Baltimore, MD.
I have a much stronger feeling about it having once been part of the Little Tavern Shops chain.
If it was a Little Tavern, it has obviously been covered in stone since its construction, and that remodeling was done some time ago. For a better picture, please look HERE

Still, the design similarities are striking. The window placement throughout the structure is consistent with Little Taverns, as is the window division, into tall panes instead of simple plate glass. Windows are inset with regard to the stonework in such a way as to lead me to believe that the stone was added over top the building. I’ve seen it time and time again with diners and it yields the same basic appearance. If this is in fact a former Little Tavern, it appears the window was narrowed from four to three panes. The plan and section appear consistent with Little Tavern design as well.

The gable over the front door is consistent with the early ’30s Little Taverns in that it is larger and broader than those found on later taverns. See Baltimore No. 5 for the larger version, which extended up four rows of roof tile as opposed to the 2 rows of tile found on later Little Taverns. Granted, there is a bump out around the door not found on Little Taverns, but I believe this is simply the later stonework.

The Stone Tavern’s green enamel lights, pointing at what is currently siding, but on a Little Tavern would have been signage are consistent with what was being put on locations in the early 1930s.

Right across the street from a Little Tavern operating as “Pizza Deal”. As the stone tavern design appears consistent with the design found on the earlier Little Taverns, I would wager that this is Baltimore no.4, opened March 21, 1931, Closed 1932 due to lease problem. The “Pizza Deal” location looks like a later tavern, from the ’40s or possibly as late as the 1950s.

N. Charles St and 26th Street, Baltimore, MD.

The brick construction is consistent with Little Taverns, which were brick/cinder block until c.1935. Later enamel ones were of brick/cinder block construction with paneling added over top. In some cases, they lost their panels later in their life, exposing the underlying brick. The Laurel Location (with) and (without) and Washington no. 24 both show this.

The roof pitch seems appropriate for Little Tavern, as does the general shape of the building, with the tudor cottage section in the front and the extension off the back. The door and front plate glass windows appear to be later additions and adjusting the contrast, it appears there may have once been a window on the left side, as there would have been on an LT.

Still, the scale looks slightly off- Little Taverns were generally a bit taller in the body of the building, and as a rule did not have chimneys. Until I find evidence otherwise, I’d say this one is not in fact a Little Tavern, but it was built at the same time period in a very similar style.

Also in the area with a similar form, but never a Little Tavern as far as I can tell. Much more of a colonial thing going on rather than Tudor.

Happy Day Diner

The Happy Day Diner, is a 1959 DeRaffele, which in recent years, has been redone in recent years with a retro, back to the ’50s theme, complete with Elvis Presley on the vestibule, an a giant smiley face. Interesting that the smiley face wasn’t designed until 1963, and not really popularized until the ’70s, but then again, none of the rest is anything you would have ever seen in a diner in the ’50s, so it kind of follows.




From the Happy Day Diner website:

Back to the 50’s
back on time at the happy day diner, one of the maryland’s unique diner that trully represents de 50’s, bring you back to the old happy days. while you and your family enjoys the food, you also have a chance to take a look at the classic road riders, that hang around at every saturdays nights.

elvis look foward to see you soon .

One of the first diners in Maryland, funded in 1951 and still capted at the original 50’s atmosphere.Those are just a feel of the things that makes the happy day diner, a long time neighborhood favority, pleasent dining, and great cusine. The staff at happy day diner, prides themselves in serve you and your family, and they will ensure that our visit to the restaurant is a pleasent and memorable experince. unlike another restaurant, our menu is disigned to please everyone, at any time of the day. that means you can enjoy your dinner, while our partner eat breakfast, or enjoy some of our italian dishes, that will make you forget that you are not in little italy for while, with a big difference on the price. and your partner enjoing a delicious home made chicken pot pie, that not even mama could do better.

You can find the Happy Day Diner at:
8302 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21237

Snow White Grill – Winchester, Virginia

The Snow White Grill in Winchester was built c. 1948. Snow White Grill was another burger chain, along the lines of Little Tavern, White Tower, or White Castle. They were in the West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland Area. Interestingly, the Snow White Grills were designed by the same architect, Luther Reason Ray, of the Structural Porcelain Enamel company, who also designed the classic Little Taverns, as well as Hot Shoppes in the same area. This explains the obvious similarities in design and materials.



The Library of Congress has records regarding Snow White Grills from:

1941 – Snow White Grill for Hansel Hurst, Queen Street and Burke Street, Martinsburg, West Virginia
1948 – Snow White Grill for Hansel Hurst, 159 Loudoun Street, Winchester, Virginia – Luther R. Ray Architect
1948 – Snow White Grill – 9 Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland
1950 – Snow White Grill for Hansel Hurst, 239 N. Market Street, Frederick, Maryland
1952 – Snow White Grill for Hansel Hurst, South Potomac Street, Hagerstown, Maryland (Detail Shots)
1954-1955 – Snow White Grill Inc., Baltimore Street and Guilford Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland
1955-1956 -Snow White Grill, Inc., West Baltimore Street and Howard Street, Baltimore, Maryland
1959 – remodel front of building for Snow White Grills, 1513 E. Joppa Road, Towson, Maryland
1960 -Snow White Grill, 1808 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland

It’s possible that there were more.

State Diner – Baltimore, Maryland

It’s not much to look at on the outside.

But sure enough, inside is a classic diner, a barrel roof model. Any guesses as to the manufacturer? Unfortunately, this is the best picture I could get when we were there. My initial gut reaction would be that it’s a silk city, because of the curve at the ends, but I can’t remember seeing silk cities with that kind of vent hood or tile pattern.

Laurel Little Tavern

Here’s the current status of the Laurel Little Tavern, Now the Laurel Tavern, post remodel.

January 2006

March 2007

August 2008

To see some older photos of this one, look at the Diner Hotline, a wonderful blog, and a wonderful resource.

According to wikipedia,

Little Tavern(Laurel Md.)was closed by Little Tavern Shops LLC.(Parent Co.)All Use of Licensing Agreement and Trade Marks canceled for said Property at said time. Little Tavern Shops has nothing to do with present on site operation and the (new on site operation)is not licensed to operate as Little Tavern Shops or use any of Little Tavern Shops Logo’s, Sayings, or Trade Marks. As of April 30.2008, the last little Tavern Shop was closed, with all othes being closed over the past two years as leases expired, under a long term plan for a New Little Tavern Store Operation, to fit within Fast Food Market Resturant Operation of today. Little Tavern Shops is now moving ahead with It’s New Operation’s and the planned Licensing of, Free Satnding and Shoppiong Center Stotr Loction in, Md-Del-Pa-Va-Area’s. But Still Maintaining It’s old time Qualtiy of “Style and Food Service” For Futher Information please contact Little Tavern Shops LLC. C/O (Marketing) Jecco Co. Inc. 410-661-4394 Fax 410-661-4394 The Hereof statement has been prepared, approved and authorized by James E. Cumbest Jr. T/A Little Tavern Shops LLC. Carroillton Bank Building 1740 E. Joppa Rd. Balto. 21234

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The original is gone. The beautiful original neon signage, the last remaining is gone. The backbar with the green mirrored panels, built as per Harry F. Duncan’s original 1933 Patent, D89950, is gone. The stools, the tile, everything that made it the original is gone. The rest, closed, their buildings converted or torn down. We lost the Silver Spring Little Tavern, the one with the yellow roof, just a few months ago.

I am saddened by the passing of the original, the real Little Tavern. May she rest in peace.