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.



The Elgin Diner was demolished early September, 2014. 

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Elgin Diner
Elgin Diner
Name: Elgin Diner

Demolished September, 2014.

Closed 2012. Slated for demolition. For more information, click here

Reopened April, 2010.

C ...
Type of Attraction: diner-prefab
City: Camden
State: NJ
diner builder: Kullman
Vintage: 1958
preserved: 100

Third Rail Diner
Third Rail Diner
Name: Third Rail Diner

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

Please share your experiences!

Type of Attraction: diner-prefab
City: Kingston
State: NY
diner builder: Undetermined
Credit: : Michael Engle
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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. 
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  • 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. 
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  • 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. 
    Read More
  • 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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Sports stadium subsidies kill Main Street

Public Radio station WNYC in New York recently ran this piece about the economic spinoff yet to come to the neighborhood surrounding the new Yankee Stadium. When the Yankees and the City of New York  proposed the new stadium, they argued in favor of more than $350 million in subsidies and tax breaks reasoning that the business from the fans would more than make up for the outlay. Trouble is, the new sports arenas function much like many of the new casinos we see sprouting up all over the country: Each one is designed to keep customers and their money within the building.

Now, it's no secret that I'm a Yankees hater, but I oppose spending any public money on professional sports facilities. These are private, profit-making enterprises and should be financed with private investment. Study after study show that public financing of stadiums show no positive financial return for the governments that pay for them.

As this article shows, the problem gets worse because the surrounding businesses not only do not see any additional business, the City's ill-considered actions have the opposite effect.

NEW YORK, NY — The first World Series in the new Yankee Stadium begins today. In the third part of our Main Street series, WNYC returns to the shopkeepers on 161st in the Bronx.

They’ve seen their businesses suffer in the shadow of the new stadium, and the playoffs didn’t improve matters much. Many of these shops expected to do better with the new stadium. But WNYC’s Ailsa Chang takes a look at how the new Yankee Stadium is getting Yankee fans to spend more money inside rather than outside the ballpark.

REPORTER: Eddie Morrison has been coming to Yankee Stadium for 30 years, but right now, he’s chomping on the fanciest nachos he’s ever bought at a game. He’s sitting next to Gate 6, in the brand new Hard Rock Café.

MORRISON: It should say THE BRONX Hard Rock Café, not just the Hard Rock Café. Because this is the Boogie Down Bronx, so you gotta show respect.

REPORTER: It may be the Bronx, but those nachos just set him back 13 dollars.

MORRISON: That’s just a part of the tradition. You have to uphold the tradition of buying very expensive food at the ballpark.

REPORTER: And there are more than a hundred separate spots in this stadium where you can spend lots of money to uphold that tradition. They’re mostly big chains – like Nathan’s hotdogs, Johnny Rockets and Carvel Ice Cream. Yankee fan George Figueroa says he forgets he’s at a ballpark.

FIGUEROA: You walk around and it’s like you not even in a game. You walk around and it’s like you in a mall. You have whole bunch of stuff you could do. You can buy food, you can buy merchandise – whatever. It, like, takes you away from reality. That’s a good thing. I mean, we don’t have that in the Bronx. We don’t have a big mall to walk around, so this is our mall right now.

REPORTER: But that’s the problem. Businesses just a couple blocks down 161st street didn’t think they’d be competing against a new mega-mall. Abdul Traore is managing a near-empty store called Jeans Plus. It sells Yankee souvenirs – many of them identical to the ones sold at the stadium, but about 30 percent cheaper. Traore’s been sitting on a stool by the door during the playoffs, as if waiting for customers to come in.

TRAORE: This playoff is different. Totally different. Like Saturday, I stay here until two o’clock in the morning – from the time the game start until two o’clock in the morning. I don’t even make thousand dollars.

Read the full story here.

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