Donut Dinette

Here’s a small southern chain, a few of the buildings are still around and recognizable, though most have by this point been torn down. I haven’t thought about these in two years, but was generously reminded this evening so I thought I’d put up these archival photos, taken by Michael G. Stewart , mostly in the 1970s and 1980s.

For more info on their history and for other locations, check out the Roadsidenut website, the incredible work of Debra Jane Seltzer.

The Falls Church, Virginia Location, operating as George’s Diner / George’s Deli
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And more recently as Victor’s Grill
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The Front Royal, VA location as the Do-Nut Diner
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The Front Royal location c. 2003 as the Fox Diner (since torn down). I submitted photos of this one to Zippy the Pinhead the first time I was there. A few years later I returned and there was a local news story hanging on the wall with a very angry tone to the effect of “what is this strange comic strip and how did they find us- why won’t they leave us alone!” It was all very funny. The owners when it was the fox made it one of the best diners in the region (even if it isn’t a true diner). The owners from before it was torn down gave it all the atmosphere and charm of a McDonalds. They didn’t get what they had and didn’t seem to get the area or their customers.
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And though I don’t have super old photos of this one, here is a shot of the Winchester, VA location, which, when the photo was taken, had the signage from the Donut Castle up, though it had been bought and was operating at the Seoul Garden Cafe. It is now the North Loudoun Diner.
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Patent Art

Archival postcard of a Donut Dinette.
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Fox Diner- Front Royal, Virginia

Photos from the archives of the Fox Diner of Front Royal, Virginia, taken in 2003 or so. It was originally part of the Donut Dinette chain. The original donut shaped sign was behind the fox diner sign. It had changed names the second time we visited, in 2006, but retained the signage. Last I heard, it had been torn down.

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old exterior photo, showing the original sign.
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Interior. Notice at the bottom the fox lawn ornament
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Signage
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short stool
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Formica patterns
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Laurel Little Tavern

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

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January 2006

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March 2007

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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.