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 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.








Eulla Mae’s Cafe

Read the tragic tale of this diner’s move to Washington DC and subsequent demolition. HERE

I just ran across additional photos of it from when it was still operating in Pennsylvania in the courtyard of Adam’s Antique mall.



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.

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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

Little Tavern Washington No. 22

While doing research at the Madison building of the Library of Congress, I happened across this picture, taken c.1940 of a Little Tavern located at 33-1/2 Independence Ave (more or less), which is the same location as the building in which I was doing my research. Construction started on the James Madison Memorial building in 1971.
Great picture of a Little Tavern. I find it interesting that it appears there is no signage. I would guess this was taken before it opened?
I also love the building next door and the dark colored vitrolite (or maybe its enamel) that wraps the entire lot and the building next door.

News from the Silver Diner

This just posted from the folks at the Silver Diner:

Hi everyone! Thanks for weighing in on the new location. We are sorry the news was so disappointing and believe us after putting our blood sweat and tears into the Rockville location, we are sad to be leaving, however our lease has expired. And, unfortunately, it is not feasible to cut up the 8 different modular sections that make up the diner & reassemble them as an operating restaurant. So after 20 great years, we are headed down the road to create the Next Generation Diner incorporating all the best features we’ve built into Silver Diner for the last 20 years. But, don’t be so quick to say goodbye, if you miss the old diner you can visit it around the country. The old diner will be available at different museums to help preserve the Silver Diner history!

I’m curious what they mean about visiting it around the country at different museums? Are they talking Dan’s Diner Salvage? Is it feasible to chop it up and ship it hundreds of miles but not the couple of blocks down the pike? Are they just taking select bits from it and bulldozing the rest?