Letterman’s Diner- Kutztown, PA

We stopped here this morning for a second breakfast, a “short” stack of pancakes and a side of bacon for me, an order of eggs, bacon, homefries for my dad. My short stack turned out to be two excellent pancakes the size of platters, which even I couldn’t finish. The bacon was tasty, the coffee fresh, and the grillmanship exciting.

Outside view of the diner. Though an angled front facade has been added, the complete barrel roof is still visible. You can see where the original front sliding door once was.

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Inside view of the diner. Lots of later changes, but the tile work on the counter, the ceiling and the vent hood are original.

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It looks from this period photo, taken after the move, that a white painted flat ceiling was added, preserving the original wood barrel roofed ceiling underneath.
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Original window at the front of the diner. The other window has been removed to make way for a larger front door.

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The ceiling of the diner has this design painted where the seam trim of the ceiling (now missing) meet.
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Dan’s Diner of Spencertown, NY- same design.
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Vent hood
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The owners of the diner say that this is the nation’s oldest Silk City, built in the very early 1930s. Can anyone confirm Silk City as the builder?

Manufacturer of the diner has been confirmed as a O’Mahony.

Compare to this interior photo of Dan’s Diner of Spencertown, NY. Same vent hood, same sliding door (though the Kutztown one’s is gone, it’s visible in the old photos, and the doublewide delete on the wall), and the same ornamentation on the ceiling
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Letterman’s Diner @ Dine Indie

Letterman’s Diner MySpace

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Stops from May 26, 2009 Diner Trip

Airport Diner – 15110 Kutztown Rd. – Kutztown, PA.
The Airport diner is a 1960 Silk City, serial number 6027, with zig-zag stainless

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Philco sign – Pauley’s Electric Shop
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222 Dutch Lanes Bowling
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Emmaus Bowling Center – 16 Lanes – AMF – Emmaus, PA
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Plaza 2331. Dig that plaid.
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Trivet Family Restaurant – Breinigsville, PA – 1970s DeRaffele
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Trucking Sign- Emmaus, PA
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5th Street Diner – Temple, PA. Kullman replacing a Silk City
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Giant Penguin
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Backside of the Prospect Diner- Columbia, PA, a 1955 Kullman, as seen from the highway
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DC / MD diner trip – May 24, 2009

This was my first real diner trip in a while. I met up today with Mike Engle, author of Diners of New York; the man behind NYdiners.com, and roadside buff and frequent Zippy the Pinhead contributor Ed Engel at the American City Diner, and headed out from there.

The first stop of the day was the American City Diner of 5532 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC. It’s a late ’80s Kullman, one of the early retro-styled diners, and one of the ones that did it right. For some photos as it appeared when new, click here. Since then, it’s been added on to, with a large side addition, and a front porch which obscures everything to the left of the vestibule.
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The Left side of the diner- 2009
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The left side of the diner – 1989
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The former Howard Theater. Great rusty marquis on this one.
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The now abandoned Wonderbread / Hostess Factory

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Ran into a little excitement along the way between these two stops, but all’s well that ends well.

Northeast Academy of Dance Neon sign. Look at the detail at the left hand corner of the sign.
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We hit up the Capital City Diner, which was moved here on the 20th. Watch the video of it being moved. This Silk City, formerly of Avoca New York, has made its way to the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast DC.
Photos at its original location and some backstory can be found at :A Real Historic Diner Coming to DC!

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This next leg of the trip had some neat neon and signage

A&R Auto Parts
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Syd’s Drive In / Liquor
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Cross Roads
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Tesst theater
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Hyattsville Hardware / Franklin’s
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Calvert House
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Silver Spring’s old Canada Dry bottling plant
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A quick stop at the Silver Spring Tastee was made.

Now
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Then
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More old photos can be found here.

Then a side trip to Forest Glen, parts of which have deteriorated greatly since my last visit.
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Dinner at the Tastee Diner in Bethesda
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Then
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And the trip’s final stop at Bethesda’s former Little Tavern. A 1990 photo of it, when it was still a Little Tavern, can be found on the Diner Hotline.

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Coventry Diner

Here’s a photo taken several years ago of Pennsylvania’s Coventry Diner, a later Silk City which has undergone remodeling.

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The four windows on the right are part of an addition. From that part left is the original diner.

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Additional West Shore Diner photos

More photos of the West Shore Diner of Lemoyne Pennsylvania from another trip.

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Inside the West Shore- Notice how the backbar has been bumped out into the kitchen area, with the front of the back counter being flush with the back wall of the actual diner. Narrow deuce booths on the right.

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The backbar setup, with drink machine and passthrough to kitchen. Old woodwork trim. Support our Troops.

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The entire length of the diner. Blue, creme and black tilework. Worn salmon formica.

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exterior, with air conditioning unit.

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It’s a very narrow diner.

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The West Shore Diner. They saved my life.

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Diner corner with air conditioner cut-out

Prairie City Diners

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Queen’s Diner, the first unit by new diner manufacturer, Prairie City Diners, opened its doors in early December, 2008. Full Story on the Red Deer Advocate

Prairie City Diners

From the Prairie City Diners Website:
Here’s the first one of an exciting new chain of diner restaurants opening in Alberta, Canada. Made by ”Prairie City Diners“, this is a Shaw International and Medallion Structures joint venture. Each restaurant will have a different name, and this first one will be called ”Queen’s Diner“, named after the business park in which it is located. According to owners Scott Shaw of Shaw International and Jim Landin, of Medallion Structures, plans for the first 10 diners are already underway! Interest in this new product is high, so the sky is the limit! Built from the ground up, the diner itself has been patterned after the 1940-1950 silk city diners with round corners and roof lines.
Not all within this new chain will be diners. Some are bar cars and some ice-cream shops, but they are all in the diner style! What is so great about this new diner is that it is easy to move, they are built solid and can be moved anywhere. This first one shown below was moved from Medallion’s Shop 50 miles from Red Deer, using nothing more than a bed truck and trailer. Scott and Jim wanted to build a good product, and the result is that the diners have turned out better than they could have imagined! If you’re in the market for a ”real Diner” restaurant that is easy to move and is also turn key, look no further! They can even be sent to other countries around the world!

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A red model.

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Interiors:

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some more pictures are found here: BarsandBooths.com, who provided furniture, laminates, banding and accessories for the new diner
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I love that these are not the over the top caricature that so many manufacturers have been building in recent years. In concept and size, theses seem much truer to golden age diners. The design is clean and modern, but follows closely the lines of the classics. A late ’30s O’Mahony or a ’40s- early ’50s silk city is bought to mind.
It’s interesting to note that these are not being manufactured out New Jersey or Massachusetts, but out of Alberta, Canada, a province with no history of “real” diners.

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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