Diners of Massachusetts

Photo by Michael Kleen

If Rhode Island can claim to be the birthplace of American diners, Massachusetts is a close second. Thomas Buckley began to sell lunch wagons in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1887. Charles Palmer, who patented a “Night-Lunch Wagon” in 1893, also operated in Worcester. The Worcester Lunch Car Company, of course, was an iconic diner manufacturer from 1906 to 1957.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Ralph’s Rock Diner, at 148 Grove Street in Worcester, Massachusetts, is a 1930 Worcester model, #660. The Worcester Lunch Car Company operated in this city from 1906 to 1957 and manufactured hundreds of lunch carts and classic diners. Robert and Mamie Gilhooly originally opened this diner on Grove Street in Worchester’s Chadwick Square (hence the name, Chadwick Square Diner). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Route 66 Diner, at 950 Bay Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is a 1957 Mountain View, one of the last manufactured by that Signac, New Jersey company. Originally called the Bay Diner, owner Donald A. Roy bought it in 1975 and the restaurant is managed by his brother-in-law, Charlie Allen. It is cash only.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Al Mac’s Diner-Restaurant, at 135 President Avenue in Fall River, Massachusetts, is a 1953 DeRaffele model. The diner’s namesake, Al McDermott, began selling food in 1910 to mill workers from a horse cart. He opened this location, alongside a host of other restaurants, in the 1950s. Al Mac’s in Fall River was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. It is currently owned by the Dunse family, who acquired it in 2013.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Al’s Diner, at 14 Yelle Street in Chicopee, Massachusetts, is one of only two diners in Massachusetts manufactured by Master Diners. It opened as The White Diner in 1959, but in 1962 Al Rubin purchased it and changed its name to Al’s Restaurant. The Mathews family have owned it since 1975. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Whately Diner, at 372 State Road (just off I-91) in Whately, Massachusetts, is a 1958 Kullman model “princess style” diner, also known as the Fillin’ Station. It originally opened in Chicopee, MA as the Princess Diner, but moved by the F.L. Roberts Company in the early 1970s to its current location and called The Maverick. A scene from In Dreams (1999), starring Annette Benning and Robert Downey, Jr., was filmed there.

Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

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