Tastee Diner, Laurel, Maryland

As far as diners within a reasonable drive go, the Tastee in Laurel is my favorite. Great food, served fast in a nicely designed diner by a rare maker, Comac. The Tastee sits on an island of land between US 1 North and US 1 South, with entrances to the parking lot from both sides. It sits with the old train station to its right, and the old Little Tavern to its left. The kitchen, a small dining room, and the T.D. Lounge are all housed in the original brick addition.

This Tastee Diner was built by Comac in 1951, and replaced an earlier monitor roof diner at the location. The manufacturer is rare as they were only in business for four years or so. Their tag is found above the door. It opened as the Laurel Diner, but was bought by the local diner chain, Tastee Diner, which once had locations in Fairfax, Va, Rockville, MD, Bethesda, MD and Silver Spring, MD, as well as sponsoring an award winning duckpin bowling team after WWII. The Fairfax location is now known by its original name, the 29 diner, the Rockville location is long gone, but the Silver Spring and Bethesda ones are still going strong.

The two original neon signs still stand on either end of the diner, a silhouetted chef perpetually beckoning hungry travelers. The sign’s original neon reading “Laurel” is long since replaced with “Tastee”. The sign also originally read “Air Conditioned / Steaks-Chops / Cocktails / Patron Parking”. By the 1980s, “chops” had been replaced by “pizza”, and a sign for the adjacent motel had been added. Those have been gone for years, though.

The outside of the diner has changed very little in all the years since it was installed, with the exception of the usual wear and tear. Inside is also in good condition, with some changes made over the years, but nothing, with the exception of televisions, which detracts terribly. They are now smoke-free, which is nice.

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The “New” Laurel Diner- Restaurant and Liquor Store – “Before and after the races, as always your best bet.. is the Laurel Diner

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The Laurel Diner showing the neon

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Later postcard from the Laurel Diner

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Copyright Michael G. Stewart
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Old slide of the diner. Copyright Michael G. Stewart

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an early ’80s view of the . Copyright Michael G. Stewart

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The sign c 2007

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The Tastee Diner c 2006

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Comac Inc. Builders of Better Diners – Irvington, NJ
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Inside the diner. Note the newer stools and tile floor over the original terrazzo. Booths are presumably original old-syle dark wood.

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2007
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Me in the diner yesterday. The double cheeseburger was gooey and delicious on a perfectly toasted bun, with a side of homemade mashed potatoes. The refills on the crushed ice filled cokes came before I could finish even half of the previous one. The name of the diner says it all.

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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.