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Roadside explores the back road and Main Streets of America. Our recipe for an American renaissance: Eat in diners, ride trains, shop on Main Street, put a porch on your house, live in a walkable community.

Demolished!

ElginDiner008

The Elgin Diner was demolished early September, 2014. 

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That Little Place on Main
That Little Place on Main
Name: That Little Place on Main
Description:

Former Kristen's Cafe, former Little Falls Diner.


Type of Attraction: diner-prefab
City: Little Falls
State: NY
diner builder: O'Mahony
Vintage: c1926
preserved: 40
West Shore Diner
West Shore Diner
Name: West Shore Diner
Description:

Possibly the oldest Silk City extant. Serves breakfast and lunch. Mostly standard, rather tired menu of diner staples. Very run down.


Type of Attraction: diner-prefab
City: Lemoyne
State: PA
diner builder: Silk City
Vintage: c1935
preserved: 70
Tom's Diner
Tom's Diner
Name: Tom's Diner
Description:

Currently under restoration despite the fact that the Town of Ledgewood wants to condemn the property to clear the way for another convenience store. For more information, visit the Facebook page of the people rallying to save it. 

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Type of Attraction:
diner-prefab
City: Ledgewood
State: NJ
diner builder: Silk City
Vintage: c1937
preserved: 80

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The Diners of DelMar

  • Nautilus Diner towers above

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-09-10 12:53:50
    Steve Efstathiou looks like a dead ringer for a young Telly Savalas, minus the lollipop. He even shares the late actor’s trademark intensity and sense of humor. Setting aside the Greek stereotyping is a hard thing to do in the diner business, though, because Greeks run so many large diners, and their stories all follow a similar path. 
    Read More
  • The Tastee Diners: Islands in a sea of development

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-09-10 12:52:31
    The Tastee Diner chain stands as one of the holdouts from the diner’s golden age that saw not only some of the greatest designs produced by the industry, but a fairly common practice of expansion before the dominance of the franchise. The current owner of the chain, Gene Wilkes, did not start it, but he did rescue it. 
    Read More
  • Frank’s bakes the cakes to take

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-09-10 12:47:45
    Nearly twenty years have passed since Frank and Linda Davis finally opened the doors of their diner. Talking to them, it seems that they have forty years of experience in it. Projects such as these all start out with the highest of hopes, but the even the best laid plans can never account for the twists and turns in a business with so many variables. 
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  • Doyle's Diner gets ready for the future

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-09-10 12:42:07
    Mike Doyle is all business, but he's not averse to a tugging your chain as he gets to know you. Trouble is, his expression doesn't change much when he does it. For those meeting him for the first time, this can knock you a little off balance.  "How much are you going to pay me for all this information?" The man barely cracks a smile as he asks, belying the suggestion of a jollier presence thanks to his full head of white hair and portly demeanor. If he grew a beard, he could make a great Santa. 
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Gardening Moves Up Front

Garden in front of my houseThe Philadelphia Inquirer ran a feature last Friday about people who want to bring back the "victory garden," and put them in their front yards. The idea of replacing lawns with vegetables could be considered downright subversive in some communities, but it makes complete sense to us. In fact, we do it. This year, I turned over a small patch of turf between my driveway and my property line and planted four tomato vines. It had more to do with the amount of sun it gets there than any statement I wanted to make, but in my thinking, anything that shrinks the amount of grass I have to mow (with my vintage push-reel mower), the better. The subject of the Inquirer's story, Roger Doiron, told the reporter, "People are starting to rethink what a healthy landscape looks like. It's not the TruGreen chemical lawn anymore. It's a landscape that's more multipurpose, that combines beauty and utility." Right on, brother. I don't water my lawn. I don't fertilize it. It's loaded with crabgrass and the occasional dandelion, but it's green and it doesn't otherwise cost me anything to maintain. I can spend that money on other things, like my daughter's future. My garden, on the other hand, just provided me with enough tomatoes for a huge batch of chili, dozens of sandwiches, and other meals with plenty left over to share with my neighbors -- and with the other critters in residence.

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