This shot comes from my friend Luke Ryalls, who is down south on a trip with Dalhousie University architecture.
The 11th St. Diner is a 1948 Paramount, moved from Wilkes Barre, PA in 1992.
Read the tragic tale of this diner’s move to Washington DC and subsequent demolition. HERE
The Clearview started out life as a small, five bay 1948 Paramount. It was pretty standard for a Paramount built diner of the late 1940s, which is to say it was extraordinary- with a sensuously curved roofline and strong vertical elements. From the postcard, it’s hard to say what the exterior finish is, but I would guess probably vertically ribbed stainless. It had a great rooftop neon, which, in true 1940s form read “steaks, chops, hamburgers”. You don’t see nearly enough Steaks and Chops being advertised these days. For other ’40s Paramount built diners along similar lines, allow me to direct you to: “Rajun Cajun” of Hartford, CT, a six-bay model from 1950, to the Vale-Rio Diner, another 1948 model.
In 1954, the diner was remodeled and drastically enlarged, adding three bays to the left side and bumping a dining room back quite a ways. Business must have been good! In keeping with this modernization, curved glass supplanted glass brick on the corners. A new, clock topped vestibule was added, and a parapet was added to the curvy monitor roof to give the entire place a continuous, 1954 modern roof line. The emphasis of the design was changed to the horizontal. The diner was topped off with metal awnings and a new freestanding neon, though the steaks-chops rooftop piece remained for at least a little while longer.
Later on, the “Diner” name was dropped, replaced with “The Clearview Dining Room and Coffee Shop”. See Richard J.S. Gutman’s chapter on the move away from the “diner” name in the 1960s in his book “The American Diner Then and Now”. Despite the name and neon changes, the exterior looks to have remained in-tact, with the addition of Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs.
In what I’m guessing was the 1960s, the diner was enlarged and remodeled again, with a mid-century modern coffee shop-style vestibule put up along the entire length of the original 1948 section of the diner. Orange tile, floor to ceiling glass, modernist lettering.
Later on, the “Diner” was reintroduced into the name of the Clearview, probably coinciding with the cultural “re-discovery” of the diner in the 1990s. It changed names to the Tic-Tac diner in 2009, but that chapter in its life was short lived. By 2012, the diner had been stuccoed over, painted, and is now known as Babbo’s Italian Grill. A photo of the diner in its current state can be seen on the Diners of Pennsylvania facebook page.
As the Tic Tac Diner
Photo by Casey Kreider
Though the neon is now gone, the Prospect Diner is better than ever. Great food, low low prices and a great diner atmosphere. This is one of my favorite ’50s diner designs. It’s transitional, not quite space age- not yet, but man does it ever look cool.
I’m not sure what this was, but it struck me as peculiar so I took some pictures of it. It’s now being used as a picnic shelter, but appears to have had a previous life. My first thought was salvaged roof from an old barrel roof diner, but I’m not sure. The roof itself looks quite a bit older than the poles its on or the footers, and I can’t imagine the amount of custom fabrication it seems went into this being originally done for a picnic pavilion which could have just as easily been wood and shingles.
I just checked google street view and sure enough it’s still there. Remodeled, yes, but still (barely) recognizable. It doesn’t seem to be in any of the diner finding guides or books, so I suppose this is a new find. I would love to see the interior. Anyone in the Chester area want to go check this one out?
We visited the former Pushnik’s Diner/ D’Alexander’s during a period between 2003 and 2006 when it was operating as the Horn & Horn diner. It was built in 1960 by the Fodero diner company and replaced an early model Silk City which had previously been on the site. It re-opened on Monday as Marabelle’s Restaurant. The full news story can be read HERE
Their new website is marabelles.com