Buy ‘Em By The Bag

Little Tavern’s slogan used to be “Buy ‘Em By The Bag”.
I did, and I brought them back to the studio for some product shots. Mug is ’50s vintage.

The burgers came from the Laurel Tavern, formerly the Laurel location of the Little Tavern. They tracked down the original burger recipe and are still selling them, along with some really good fresh donuts. If you miss Little Tavern, take the trip, you won’t be disappointed. The building has lost its paneling, its neon and its interior, but they still deliver in the food department.

Laurel Tavern Donuts
115 Washington Boulevard Laurel, MD 20707


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.


Outrider’s Diner – Laurel, MD

Outriders Diner was built by Kullman in 1937. It was demolished in 1999.
It was located at 9855 Washington Blvd. (Rt. 1) and Whisky Bottom Road, in North Laurel. It was attached to a bar, similar to the setup just down the road at the Tastee Diner (formerly the Laurel Diner).

The setup of the diner is interesting, with the door at the end, by the glass brick corner. The door is flanked by a glass brick “delete” panel, keeping the window grid even. The fabric awning was replaced with a metal one sometime in the 1950s, and a vestibule was added, much more in keeping with the style (lack of style?) of the addition, than the diner.


Related pages: 01, 02

Laurel Diner updates

It looks like the Laurel diner (now the Tastee) goes back quite a ways. I’ve found newspaper records of it going back to 1934, when three men an a woman tried to kidnap one of the waiters. The Laurel diner has also had a liquor license going back as far as September of 1939.

I’m fairly confident this is a drawing of the actual diner and not just period clip art. Assuming that’s the case, can anyone make an id or at least a guess as to manufacturer, if it dates from a 1934 or a bit before?



Little Tavern Locations past and present

In 1936, there were 14 locations operating in Washington DC.
By 1939, there were 21 in Washington.
By the 1940s, there were approximately 50 Little Tavern locations in Washington and Baltimore.
In 1988, 22 locations were still operating.
In 1991, the number was 20.
The last one closed last year.

This is what I’ve been able to piece together of locations which once existed.

If anyone has pictures especially from when they were still operating as Little Taverns, I’d love to see them. And if you’d just like to add a story or reminiscence, I’d love to hear it as well.

And if anyone has a location to add, please leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

1. 814 E Street NW. – built c. 1928

2. 1344 G street northwest Washington DC

Torn Down, but the outline of the building is still visible on the wall of the building next door. Built 1931.

3. 2628 Connecticut avenue northwest Washington DC
Torn Down – Now the site of the Woodley Park-Zoo / Adams Morgan metro station Built before Feb. 1937

4. 1110 H St. Northwest Washington DC (Little Tavern Shop No. 16) Closed by 1985.
Torn Down Now the site of the Capitol City Brewing Company downtown location?

5. 3701 New Hampshire Ave. NW Washington DC
Torn Down. Now the site of the Sweet Mango Cafe.

6. 5100 Georgia Ave. NW Washington DC
Torn Down. Now a used car lot.

7. 1309 New York Avenue, N.E. Washington DC (Little Tavern Shop No. 8 )
Moved to 1251 New York Ave.

8. 1251 New York Avenue, N.E. Washington DC (Relocation of Little Tavern Shop No. 8 )
Torn Down. Now a school bus parking lot.

9. 628-632 North Capitol Street, N.W. Washington DC (Little Tavern Shop No. 6) Built 1931
Restored 1983. Demolished 1988.
Torn Down.

10. 2716 Good Hope Road S.E., Washington, D.C. (Little Tavern Shop No. 26)
Torn Down. Now a strip mall.

11. 718 H Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. (Little Tavern Shop No. 12)
Converted. Now Super Nails.
Built 8/29/1935. Permit # 183945. Architect G.B. Wenner. Estimated cost $7,500.

12. 3968 Minnesota Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. (Little Tavern Shop No. 23)
Torn Down. Now strip mall featuring “Rainbow” and “Downtown Locker Room”. Next door to former Senator Theatre, built 1942.

13. 2537 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. (Little Tavern Shop No. 24)
Converted. Now Continental Construction Next door to the former Highland Theatre.

14. 6th Street and Morse Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. (Little Tavern Shop No. 27)
Converted Now Subway.

15. 504 13th Street N.W., Washington, D.C.
Torn Down

16. 828 North Washington Street, Alexandria, Virginia
Built of brick in 1940 (Building Permit #2542, 5/22/1940)
Resurfaced with porcelain enamel panels 1959 (Building Permit #15009, 5/27/1959).
1993- Friendly Tavern (BAR Case #93-8, 1/6/1993)
1994- Hogs on the Hill (BAR Case #94-104, 10/5/1994).
1995 – Jerry’s Subs (BAR Case #95-189, 12/20/95)
2005- Merry’s Subs Pizza (BAR Case #2005-00226, 10/19/2005)
2008- Asian Wok Cafe
Converted Now Chinese Restaurant. Photo taken during Little Tavern days.

17. Wisconsin Avenue and Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland (Built c.1939)
Converted. Now Golden House Chinese Food.

18. 135 Main Street, Annapolis, Maryland
Closed/Torn Down Nothing left at the site.

19. 11143 Viers Mill Road and Grandview Avenue, Wheaton, Maryland
Torn Down , Though sign-frame is still there, advertising Chuck Levin’s. Site Plan. Painting.

20. 6414 Holabird Ave Baltimore, MD 21224 Opened 1983. Closed 2008.
Closed. Picture.

21. 3515 Eastern Ave Baltimore, MD 21224
Closed. Picture.

22. Greenmount Ave, 32nd St. Baltimore, MD
Converted. As it appeared originally. Now Sea Blue. Formerly Kennedy Fried Chicken.

23. S. Conkling Street, Baltimore, MD – South of Eastern Ave
Torn Down. Picture.

24. 519 East 25th Street Baltimore MD
Converted. Now Pizza Deal.

25. Belvedere Ave. Baltimore, MD- East of Park Heights

26. 10 Park Ave Baltimore, MD
Converted – now Lighthouse Pub

27. 7413 Baltimore Ave College Park, MD 20740
Converted Photo – Until 2009- JD’s Roadhouse. 2010- closed

28. 8230 Georgia Ave Silver Spring, MD
Torn Down Read full story here and here.

29. Corner of Fenton St. and Wayne Ave. Silver Spring, MD
Torn Down Picture as Chinese Restaurant . Pictures as an operating Little Tavern.

30. 3333 M. Street NW Washington DC –
Converted Now Sweetgreen

31. 1303 Wisconsin Ave NW. Washington DC –
Converted Now Paolo’s

32. 655 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E. Washington, DC 20003
Converted Now Little Pub
Built 11/26/193(5 or 6) , architect Frank B. Proctor, Estimated Cost $5000, Permit no. 208645

33. 3125 Wilson Blvd Arlington, VA
Converted Now Goody’s

34. Rt. 1 Laurel, MD –
Converted Now Laurel Tavern Donuts Blog Post.

35. 7801 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, Maryland
Gone/Converted (Seasonal)

36. 1221 U Street, NW – The Hamburger Grill
Gone. Storefront? Run by Little Tavern Shops. Referenced in 1933 “The Afro American” And

37.The Shops at National Place (Club LT- opened 1987)
529 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

38. Former Little Tavern? Now Tarbouch
3110 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA

Laurel Diner

I found another matchbook view of the Laurel Diner, which I believe shows an older diner which the current Comac replaced. If you have any wild guesses as to builder or date of the diner from the matchbook, please throw them out there.

Frustratingly, it’s just a drawing on the matchbook, but it seems too specific to be stock art, and I haven’t seen the design on any other matchbooks, so I’m going to assume it’s at least fairly representative of what was there.

Note the doors at both ends. The rooftop sign advertises it as both a diner and a bar.

Matchbook design is mostly the same, but diner is different and it’s billed as the “New” Laurel diner

Postcards showing the early 1950s Comac which later became part of the Tastee Diner Chain. I wish I could find an actual photograph to confirm the earlier diner.



Diner Slides- 1976-1988

Some more from the archives, in no particular order.

Short Stop Diner, now Irene’s pupusas. Wheaton, MD
It’s a 1956 Kullman. The neon was nearly as big as the diner itself, but has since disappeared.




Diner- Front Royal, VA
It’s a 1956 Mountain View. Front Royal used to be a hotbed of diners. It had this one, Nick’s Good Food diner, the Do-nut dinette, and another ’50s stainless model. The other three have been knocked down, and this one’s now a used car dealer.







Frost Diner- Warrenton, VA
The Frost is a 1955 O’Mahony.




A sign of the times- Disco Fashion T-shirts

Pork Chop- $1.25, Fried Chicken $1.75


Tastee Diner- Silver Spring, MD



Tastee Diner- Laurel, MD
a rare Comac brand diner


Bud’s Broiler – New Orleans, LA
Bud’s Broiler

Allen Theater
Current Photos

Flower Theater
Current Photos

Summit Diner– Somerset, PA
Summit Diner

Moody’s Diner- Waldoboro, ME
Moody’s Diner

Diner- MA