Posts Tagged ‘Diner’

The Day and Night Diner on Route 20 in downtown Palmer MA is Worcester Lunch Car Diner #781. Built in 1944 it is currently open for breakfast and lunch.


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We were in Ardmore, PA the other night so RetroRoadhusband and I  decided to see what the Chung Sing restauarant AKA “diner that is actually a Chinese restaurant” was all about. Since we needed to grab a bite to eat it seemed like a perfect excuse for a little RetroRoadmap investigation. Let’s check it out shall we?

Exterior - Diner Chinese Restaurant Ardmore PAIt was raining so I just snapped this quick view before we headed into the vestibule. As you can see there’s no mistaking that this restaurant definitely a diner by design. It’s actually a vintage Fodero diner, once called Dean’s Diner and built in 1952 (thanks Larry at Diner Hotline for the info.)

And here’s what the inside looks like today.


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Recently a RetroRoadmap Flickr follower asked me for some road trip suggestions in my area, and I shared that Route 422 going west from Reading PA is fast becoming one of my favorite retro routes, in part because of places like Risser’s Restaurant / Diner in Womelsdorf PA. A classic diner on one side, homey dining room on the other, it’s two great Pennsylvania Dutch treats in one!Risser's Family Restaurant Welcomes You
While the dining room was darling with it’s vintage knotty pine paneling and painted mural depicting the plain people of the area, we opted to check out the restaurant  via the diner side on a chilly Saturday afternoon. The original diner  – called the Blue Star Diner when it opened in 1954 was partially bricked over (blurgh) but still retains it’s clean and classic roadside charm once you enter through the “diner car” entrance (Thanks to the Diners of Pennsylvania book for that info- and click this link to see the great sign it used to have!)

Risser's Diner Exterior Diner Car Entrance
If you weren’t completely convinced that you were in an actual vintage diner, this tag, indicating that the diner was manufactured by the Fodero Dining Car Co of Bloomfield NJ would set you straight. If you happened to be looking directly above the entrance that is!
Fodero Diner Tag

However, all you have to do is look around and see that, with the exception of some newer looking chairs, the diner is pretty much untouched, with it’s classic spinning counter stools, fluted steel backsplash, terrazzo floor and nice clean curved ceiling. We were handed menus from our waitress, but also needed a few minutes to absorb the posted specials. The one above the coffee urn caught my eye for sure!
Diner Counter

As you can see Risser’s serves traditional diner fare but also some more unusual items – Pig Stomach, Beef Heart, Oysters, veal, beltbusters – oh my! One of the tables near us ordered duck, and that isn’t something you usually see in a diner either, but it looked good.
Stuffed Pig Stomach & Beef Heart...Specials!

I had a good long look at the pie case before determining that I’d eat small and splurge on dessert. After consulting the extensive menu I fell back on the standard BLT for me and club sandwich for RetroRoadhusband. He decided to get the upcharge to visit the “salad” bar in the dining room for soup, “salad” and ice cream. I use the term salad in little quotey things because Pennsylvania Dutch definition of salad can include everything from greens to macaroni to cottage cheese, to mini marshmallows enrobed in hot pink fluff (ambrosia?).

Pie Case
My BLT was good and I was proud of myself for not eating more of RetroRoadhusband’s fries, because as soon as I saw the enormous cream puffs and eclairs (homemade) in the case, I knew exactly what I was going to order after my sandwich.

When I told the waitress that I’d probably take most of it home, she wisely suggested that she’d serve it in the to-go box. She was spot on, as this became a delicious gooey mess within moments of us diving into it. Diet be damned!

Save Room For An Eclair!I don’t think this photo truly shows the massive size of this pastry, as it was easily as big as a small sub or hoagie. I should’ve put a fork in there for scale. Guess I’ll have to order one again next time we go there to retake the photo :-)

So if you’re looking for standard – and unusual – diner fare while checking out scenic Route 422, check out Risser’s. We’ll be back for sure!

Ernie Risser’s Family Restaurant

4055 Conrad Weiser Parkway
Womelsdorf, PA 19567-1640
(610) 589-4570
Closed Mondays
I actually posted the “Satellite” view of this area so you could see the patterns and swirls made from the farming. Beautiful!

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We joke in my family that you could do anything with my dad, as long as it was something he wanted to do :-) So we girls went to many a field trial, old book store and decoy shop.

There were some times however where our interests intersected, and this picture of a diner is one of those examples:
Hayes Bickford's Diner Warren Spahn Boston BravesAnother thing my dad was known for was being very loyal and set in his ways. So when The Boston Braves left Boston in 1953, my dad remained a Braves fan for the rest of his life -even though the Red Sox were now the hometown team.

But what does that have to do with this photo of a Hayes Bickford’s Diner on Commonwealth Ave in Boston?

Knowing I was interested in diners, my dad got this photo ( a reprint from BU Photo Services) to share with me. I remember him telling me that at one point this diner was owned by Warren Spahn of The Boston Braves.

Diners and The Boston Braves – finally we had something we could talk about!

Hayes Bickford's Diner Warren Spahn Boston Braves Close up

My research at Boston-Braves.com confirms what dad said:

“With the slogan, “The Best In Baseball — The Best In Food,” the restaurantʼs debut was set for Opening Day 1953 to welcome hungry Braves Field patrons. Unfortunately, both
Spahn and potential pre- and post game hungry customers were in Milwaukee that April. The restaurant, on the opposite side of Commonwealth Avenue near Babcock Street, is long gone. It transitioned into a Hayes Bickford diner and, ultimately, to a muffler shop.”

Now I will leave it up to the diner folks (Larry, I’m looking your way ;-)) to fill in the blanks about this diner’s make and model and history. To me the history is with the photo, and the subject, and my dad.

This photo made it’s way from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania sandwiched between two of dad’s records – the Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots. Here’s to you, dad – and thanks for caring for us, all the time, even when we didn’t have a lot to talk about:

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I’m in the process of uploading quite a few photos that I took YEARS AGO to the Retro Roadmap Photo Archive on Flickr and am kicking myself for not taking better notes back in the late 1980’s early 90’s when I did take them. Can you help out?

Mister Donut Sign Near Gardner Fitchburg MA 1987-90

Like this way cool vintage Mobil gas station – I can picture where it was on the road in my head, but for the life of me I can’t remember if it was near Weirs Beach NH or Old Orchard Beach ME!

Mobil Gas Station 198? Maine or New Hampshire 1

If any of the photos in the RetroRoadmap Photo Archives collection ring a bell with you and you have any info or memories associated with them, please leave the info in the comments below, or if you’re a Flickr user, at the actual page. Hope everyone enjoys this walk down memory lane!

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Though the chain stores try to obscure this roadside gem from sight, Zip’s Diner raises their hand and flags down passersby with one simple request – EAT! And that’s exactly what you should do should you be in this corner of Connecticut -Eat At Zip’s Diner in Dayville, CT.

Eat At Zip's Diner

Even a gloomy grey day could not diminish the charm of this stainless steel diner, one of the most photogenic ones I’ve come across in my travels.

Both Sides Now at Zip's Diner

I entered the diner and was pleased to find a corner booth, my favorite location in a diner. Ordered a cup of tea and was delighted with the mini teapot that it was served in. While there were many booths and counter seats filled this mid-afternoon, you know how I wait for people to leave the scene so I can snap a photo, so here’s a shot of the formica table and rounded ceiling of this 1950’s era O’Mahony diner.

My Neigbors At Zip's Diner

Here are some more great photos of the interior of Zip’s Diner, courtesy of our pal Gunnar at Eccentric Roadside.

And here’s what I had for lunch!

Chicken Sandwich at Zip's Diner

A chicken cutlet sandwich was always my default dinner at the Bel Aire Diner in Peabody, and this one from Zip’s hit the spot just right. I also had the luxury of viewing this lovely vintage mural while I was dining:

Lake Alexander, Dayville CT Mural at Zip's Diner

While the weather was cold and gloomy, I left Zip’s diner mosty toasty. A swell lunch at a vintage diner like Zip’s will do the trick!

Open 6am-9pm every day. Don’t zip by, pull off the exit and check out the neon when its all lit up, or sunny out!

eat eat

Zip’s Diner / Dining Car
Connecticut 101
Killingly, CT 06241
(860) 774-6335

6:00 am – 9:00 pm

Zip's Dining Car on Urbanspoon

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Mod Betty will be busy being the Hostess with The Mostess this weekend, but here’s something for the diner sleuths in the audience to chew on while I am unable to post.

Is this diner real, or just a figment of the artist’s imagination?


All I can tell you is that this was painted in the 1930’s – 1940’s and the artist was from the Boston area. What details can you folks fill in? Put on your Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew/Sherlock Holmes hats, it sure would be cool to know if this was a real diner!

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