July 2012 Pennsylvania Diner Trip

The Prospect Diner has become our go to breakfast stop ever since it was taken over by Mike Conroy. It has become everything a diner should be. It’s a classic mid 1950s Kullman, a model transitioning into the space age. I think my first stop there was when I was about five years old, so you could say it’s been a tradition for a while. Every time we’ve been in, the diner is full of locals- always a good sign. The food is good, plentiful and inexpensive. I had chicken and biscuits, topped with sausage gravy. Side of (perfectly done) home fries, and coffee which, thanks to expert waitressing, never dipped beyond half empty.
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We traveled on from Columbia to Lancaster, passing the Columbia Diner, at 1725 Columbia Ave Lancaster, PA. It’s a remodeled ’50s Kullman, known as the Wheatland Diner from 1955 to 1973.
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Directly next door to the Columbia diner is this old McDonalds golden arch.
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A Frame. Bright’s Restaurant.
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Highlights of Ephrata, PA
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The main event, a meet up with Michael Engle and Glenn Wells at the Cloister Diner. The Cloister is a 1952 Silk City. It was remodeled in the 1960s. The end wall was removed to open the diner up to a dining room addition. The tile in the addition flows very nicely from the diner itself. Panels from the end wall were moved to replace the front door, which was also removed in the remodel. The original neon was kept on the roof during the remodeling, really the only hint from the exterior of what lies inside.

We were lucky enough to chat with the truly inspiring Elva Stauffer, the owner of the diner since 1972.
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Fresh homemade peach pie. It’s as good as it looks, believe me.
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With Glenn and Michael.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Paterson, New Jersey

Here are some of the diners which I took pictures of in Paterson, New Jersey, once home of the Paterson Vehicle Company, builder of Silk City Diners.

Erfed Remodel.  If you have a copy of Dick Gutman’s The American Diner then and now, you will have seen pictures of this diner from when it was an on site, from when it was diner-ized, and from when the addition was put on .  This is how it looks now, a bit faded.

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Only a few doors down, to the left of the Nicholas diner is a 1950s Silk City, once Chappy’s, but I can’t seem to find my pictures of it.

The Egg Platter Diner, a Master
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