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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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Third Rail Diner
Third Rail Diner
Name: Third Rail Diner
Description:

Former Trolley Stop; Sub Express, Actual Food Diner.

See story here.


Type of Attraction: diner-prefab
City: Kingston
State: NY
diner builder: O'Mahony
Vintage: 1930s
preserved: 20
Olympic Diner
Olympic Diner
Name: Olympic Diner
Description:

Please share your experiences!


Type of Attraction: diner-prefab
City: Kingston
State: NY
diner builder: Undetermined
Credit: : Michael Engle
Olympic Diner
Olympic Diner
Name: Olympic Diner
Description:

Please share your experiences. 


Type of Attraction: diner-prefab
City: Mahopac
State: NY
diner builder: DeRaffele
Vintage: 1999
preserved: 100
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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. 
    Read More

Pittsburgh Revisited

No, I can't seem to get the 'Burgh off my mind. This year I took the train from Philadelphia, a glorious seven-hour ride through the Pennsylvania wilderness to the city that at one time declared February 26, 2001 as "Roadside Day" for Pittsburgh. Unlike past visits, I also took the opportunity to return to the Priory Inn on the city's North Side. In Issue 31, I waxed ebuliently about how Graff family restored and — pardon the pun — resurrected this precious little slice of the city.

In January of this year, the Priory nearly doubled its size by restoring the adjascent apartment building after it had suffered a fire. The end result makes the Priory twice as nice. Now at 42 rooms, it also can offer a bar, a complimentary breakfast, and a fitness center. My single room with a twin bed overlooking the courtyard cost $99, a reasonable sum in comparison to other lodgings in the immediate vicinity.

Other general impressions:

The weekend I chose saw a perfect storm of events. The city hosted the Three Rivers Arts Festival at the Point, a downtown Jazz festival, the Cirque du Soleil, and the Philadelphia Phillies came to town to take on the Pirates. As a result, I've never seen the city so active.

The Strip District, which is essentially a year-round arts festival, continues to thive. The sidewalks are so busy, you often get forced into the street. Wholey's Market remains a premier attraction on the Strip, and it singlehandedly rivals anything you might see at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia or Quincy Market in Boston.

With the demise of the ill-fated Fifth and Forbes retail project, downtown remains a hodge-podge of retail and dining. Market Square and anything along the Allegheny seem to do well. But the blocks that the Fifth and Forbes project would have obliterated don't show much life at the moment.

Be careful if you take a cab from the Amtrak station. The cabbies there didn't seem to know much about the city. The Priory is a 1.2 mile walk from the station, but one cabbie wanted to charge me $20 for the ride. I took a hike.

This slide show will update over the next few days as I add more images.

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