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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.

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Diner Finder Updates

Lee's Diner
Lee's Diner
Name: Lee's Diner
Description:

Good looking, well-preserved structure. Side wall made into front wall extension in the 1980s. Located on the Lincoln Highway.

New ownership early 2010.  Now serving Chinese food.


State: PA
Elmwood Diner
Elmwood Diner
Name: Elmwood Diner
Description:

Reopened, April 2014, with new ownership that removed the original booths in a doltish attempt to make a 1940s diner look doo-wop. 

Former Liberty Elm Diner. Closed in January, 2013, foreclosed and sold at auction for $90,000 in May, 2013. ...
State: RI

Route 9 Diner
Route 9 Diner
Name: Route 9 Diner
Description:

Installed as flagship diner of planned chain of Sit Down Diners, and second in the operation after purchase of existing diner in Danbury, Connecticut. Stunning retro design and generally popular, but it closed in early 2003. Reopened as Route 9 Diner i ...
State: MA

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Latest News

  • An open letter to Phil and Celeste Paleologos

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-03-30 20:17:14
    Dear Phil and Celeste: I read the sad news of your impending retirement from the diner business, and I'm sorry to see the end of an illustrious era. As one of the earliest and most ardent supporters of Roadside, I will always be grateful to you and Celeste and proud
    Read More
  • Rosebud Diner Gutted

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-02-17 14:45:34
    That disturbance in The Force we all felt last week had nothing to do with the recent weather. It came from the impact of sledgehammers upon the interior of the Rosebud Diner in Somerville, Massachusetts.  Reader Beck Prigot sent us photos she took peeking through the windows of the exceedingly
    Read More
  • Lights out at our Facebook page

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-02-15 17:24:42
    Facebook's latest change to its news feeds have rendered any effort to spread our message there rather pointless. According to this Business Insider article, Facebook made a major change to its feeds that all-but-require that we pay to promote our posts or else fewer than 5% of our "likes" will
    Read More
  • Ten Oldest Diners?

    By Randy Garbin / 2014-02-04 18:29:18
    Journalist Nancy Ayala recently asked me for my list of the ten oldest operating diners. Over the years, I've received many requests like this, and usually if it has anything to do with exact dates, I hedge as much as I can. Many times the actual records of a diner's
    Read More
  • Another Jersey diner gets date for demo

    By Randy Garbin / 2013-12-20 13:53:59
    When was the last time we saw a vintage diner restored and reopened in New Jersey? After thinking about this for a few minutes, the best answer I have is the Bay Way Diner in Linden in 2006, a tiny, 8-stool affair that gave "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" its start.
    Read More
  • The Kickstarted Diner

    By Randy Garbin / 2013-11-26 14:26:20
    A curious development has unfolded in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the past week. The owners of the proposed Roger's Red Liner Diner led by Roger Elkus has initiated a Kickstarter campaign for their diner, currently under construction and restoration. Mr. Elkus also owns a small regional chain of coffee shop/deli, "fast casual"
    Read More
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Kullman emerges from bankruptcy

image The world's oldest builder of diners has announced it has emerged from bankruptcy, albeit with new owners. Now called Kullman Buildings Corp, company president Avi Telyas announced via press release that the reformed company "has laid out a strong business plan" to move forward, backed by a "million-dollar marketing plan" to "support the management team's meeting schedule." Expect to see the company begin advertising online, via direct mail, through trade shows, and in other media, according to the release. The release continues "Kullman is moving forward with a determination that would have made founder Samuel Kullman proud. Long known for the finest of craftsmanship and fast turnaround, Kullman will build on its position as the industry leader of permanent modular construction." While this release contains not a single use of the word "diner," Telyas was recently quoted in the Branchburg [i]Courier-News[/i] as saying "We love diners" and not much else, except that he plans to take the company into prefab condo market. If Kullman does finally leave the diner business, it will close the book on almost 80 years of history building some of the finest examples of the architectural form. Usually a leader in the industry, both in terms of quality and diner styling, Kullman built the first colonial diner, the first million dollar diner, and the first 1950s retro style diner. Unfortunately, though always known for its quality, it also became known for its cost. The typical Kullman diner in the past fifteen years usually cost more than $1 million, pricing out all but the better heeled operators. Because of its inability (or unwillingness) to cater to the entry-level market, Kullman lost out to upstart diner companies such as Startlite and Diner-Mite, especially in the growing Southern and Mid-Western markets, and to on-site contractors in the Northeast. Unlike its direct competitors Paramount (P.M.C.) and DeRaffele, Kullman's corporate overhead maintained several divisions. In the late 1960s, the company embarked on a diversification strategy that took them into other markets. The company would go on to build banks, schools, prisons, airports, and even a temple. In the mid-1990s, Kullman built its first embassy, a relatively small structure that it could dismantle in New Jersey and reassemble with their own crew in the foreign nation. The success of that project led to two more, but the fourth embassy, a massive building slated for Dushanbe, Tajikistan proved disasterous. Mired in delays and overruns, the government would eventually cancel the $60 million contract, leaving Kullman under a crushing debt load. Throughout the diversification, Kullman continued to build a steady trickle of diners, but it treated the division as a corporate black sheep. In 1991, we received our first info packet from the company packed with propaganda about the non-diner buildings with only a single sheet describing their "prefabricated restaurants." Despite an effort to offer the standardized "Blue Comet Diner" in 1996, it became clear to this author and much of the diner market that the company sought to shed itself of this heritage. Except that every time anyone did a story about the company, they focused on the company's diner history and gave only passing mention of its other building lines. After all, what looks better splashed on the front page of the business section: A shiny, neon-trimmed diner or a drab, windowless communications shelter? Diner aficionados everywhere, I'm sure, all hope to see Kullman continue building our favorite roadside icons. Count me among them, but the prospects look depressingly dim. The construction and restaurant industries today look little like they did in Sam Kullman's day. I believe we can safely assume that the diner as a restaurant concept will remain with us for years to come, even if the industry that builds true prefabricated diners fades into history. Learn more at [url=http://www.kullman.com]www.kullman.com[/url] .

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