Posts Tagged ‘Formica’

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

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I wasn’t about to let the fact that it was awful lighting for taking pictures stop me from doing my best to publicize the grand re-opening of the Elgin Diner in Camden NJ. This diner is too pretty to not share, backlighting or not!

The Elgin Diner Open For Business 2010We were in the neighborhood getting one of the Retro Roadcars prepped for our trip to Lake George, and this was a perfect excuse to check out the newly re-opened Elgin Diner. This wonderfully preserved 1958 Kullman diner, named after a watch, had been closed since 2007 but just within the past few weeks has reopened under new ownership.
The New Elgin Diner 2010

I loved the vintage terrazzo floor, marble, woodgrain and sparkle formica and wavy glass table separators. But what I would love best is to see this diner filled up with customers – c’mon gang!

Elgin Diner Dining Room

We almost had the place to ourselves at this odd afternoon hour, and I delighted in taking a few snapshots of the wonderfully clean vintage interior. Our waitresses were pleased and amused that us “out of towners” were so excited about the diner re-opening and kept our drinks and breadbasket full.

Keepin It Bland

(study in beige!)

Our meals were large, plentiful and affordable – WAY more food than I could eat, even though I got what I termed the “old person special” portion of chicken croquettes. This came with mashed potatoes, a vegetable, soup or salad, dessert AND tea if I wanted it. I love the fact that I was asked if I wanted a bag to take home our rolls, since I knew they were just going to throw them away anyways. Nice touch!

Elgin Diner Terazzo Floor

Open 7 days a week from 6am -10pm, we’ll be swinging by the Elgin more! Since the Retro Roadmobile has hit 250,000 miles I think we might be visiting our mechanic more than usual. Here’s a photo of the beautiful red running through the stainless steel, this place must look gorgeous at breakfast time- why don’t you visit and snap a photo for me :-)

Elgin Diner Side

Elgin Diner
2621 Mount Ephraim Avenue
Camden, NJ 08104-3288
(856) 962-0202‎


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Eons ago I took a photo of the incredibly cool sign of this place, and gave it to someone named Kane. But I never had a donut from Kane’s donut shop in Saugus until just last week, and WOW what I was missing!

Kane's Donuts Saugus MA

They’ve been making their delectable donuts and plate sized coffee rolls since 1955. Voted one of Americas Top 10 donut shops, the place gets visited by locals and foodies alike.

Kane's Donut Selection Saugus MA

It’s a small neighborhood shop and was bustling with activity when we arrived with the Retro Roadkids. There are aqua topped counter stools for swirling on (as you can see!) and great wrought iron chairs and Formica tables to sit at whilst you devour your goodies.


Not sure what to get, I saw a sign touting the bismarks, so I decided to be adventurous and get one of those. Retro Roadmom and RRkids got a jelly donut and 2 chocolate cake donuts, respectively.

The donuts were larger than the standard chain store donut and delicious by all accounts. We kept on reminded the RRkids that the donuts were really big, and they didn’t have to finish them if they got full, but somehow they managed to polish them off!


My bismark was covered with whipped cream and filled with jelly, a perfect breakfast treat to begin a week of vacation eating ;-). Sis loved her jelly donut, and when I mentioned Kane’s to local Diner Hotline guru Larry Cultrera, he said he uses their honey dipped donut as a benchmark for all others.

There was construction going on the day we were there, and I later found out that the shop is expanding to become HP accessible. If we all keep eating Kane’s donuts they’ll need to expand again, to fit our growing waistlines though the door!

Kane’s Donuts
120 Lincoln Ave
Saugus, MA 01906
(781) 233-8499


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When we first moved to our town we were smitten by the flashy exterior of a vintage diner only to be disappointed on more than one occasion by the food– reminding us that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Taking those words to heart, one day we thought we’d try an intriguing but somewhat plainer looking restaurant up the road, The Fisherman. And BOY were we in for a treat!

The Fisherman Restaurant

Now, I will say up front that not everyone who has visited it  “gets”  The Fisherman, but since you’re here reading Retro Roadmap, I think you will appreciate the charm of the place.

Opened 1960, The Fisherman was built by the father of the folks who run it now. He was the original Fisherman, according to his daughter Laurie, who says her dad would go to the Chesapeake and fish, bring his catch home to PA, clean it and serve it at the restaurant.

The Fisherman Restaurant

While fish and seafood still feature prominently on the menu, it also includes many standard diner food staples- my ultimate fave being the chicken croquettes (with a side of pickled beets, please). While not fancy we’ve always been pleased with what we ordered, and it is definitely much better than the food we had at the shiny diner. They are also famous for their pies, especially the strawberry, though I am usually too stuffed to get dessert.

Besides the comfort food, the best thing ever about The Fisherman is the décor. For the most part untouched since the place opened, it is a beautiful study in preserved materials, patterns and textures. This combination is kept tastefully in check by an overarching neutral palette, allowing everything to serenely co-exist and not clash.

Booth Service

A visual feast from the linoleum floor to the recessed ceiling with its leafy light fixtures, the place is well kept and well cared for.

Allow me to gush for a bit:

The Booths! Each one hand made by the original Fisherman, including the round one in the corner (my fave!) We are all lucky that they are custom sized and cannot be easily replaced by cheaper modern versions. The mocha colored vinyl is patterned with a jazzy intersection of swerving lines and abstract geometrics, busy without being overwhelming.

study in beige

The Counter! Vintage Formica with a sandy stone motif on a white background. Swively stools overlook a soda fountain setup, where your drinks are still made by mixing syrup and soda water.

Fisherman Counter

The Walls! Warm grey wooden paneling reminiscent of the weatherbeaten exterior of a beach house.  Hanging on the walls are various stuffed fish, most of which were caught by the original owner (ask to see the giant sailfish in the banquet room, that was a catch too!)

The cash register is solid silver chrome, as is the pie case. Trust me and don’t miss the signs on the restrooms. Oh and did I mention the cigarette machine that advertises brands that don’t even exist anymore?

king chesterfield

Can you see why we love it so?

You know you want to check out the place now, right? Here are a couple of insider tips for your visit:

First of all, it is a very quiet place, with soft music playing in the background, and frequented by older folks. Please don’t be boisterous or loud, it just ruins the whole vibe.

Second- splurge and get yourself a large soda. They come in oversized mugs and are mixed to order behind the counter.

Large Diet Coke

Lastly and most importantly- Please let Laurie know how much you love the decor and appreciate the fact that she and her brothers have not made any changes to it. It definitely takes the place from beige to beautiful.

Please also let them know what a treasure they have on their hands, and that it is one of the reasons you came to visit. I’ve said it each time I’ve visited, but they could think I’m just an odd broad. So add your voice to the chorus of support for how cool the place looks, so they don’t think of “modernizing” the place. Horrors!

The Fisherman
440 Schuylkill Rd
Phoenixville, PA 19460-5201
(610) 933-7340


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