Diner News and History

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

At Al Mac's Diner

Al Mac's Diner, December 2008
Looking at our diner map we were reminded of those diners we haven't visited recently. While it's important to support your local diner, we like to experience diners in our reader's area too. If you have a favorite diner, please let us know about it.

Remembering our last visit to the diner, it was about 74 degrees outside and a bright sunshine filled sky. Today's picture shows things were quite different. It had been snowing for a few hours and temperature was about 23 degrees.

Al Mac's is your typical late 1950s DeRaffele Manufacturing Company, Inc. manufactured diner. Its signature channel neon roof sign beckons travelers from nearby Route 79. The exterior color is nearly the same as another DeRaffele--the currently closed Star Diner in Rumford, Rhode Island. At the corners notice the vertical fluted panels. Those remind us of a similar style used in some Kullman built diners around that time. Take a look at Agilitynut's picture as an example.

Once inside the diner, you may notice griddles behind the counter--a counter which runs about the length of the diner itself. Or maybe its ceiling with boomerang Formica panels. Or even its green terrazzo floor. If you are a regular, you would already know the Seeburg's in the booths were removed about eight months ago. A newfangled jukebox was placed just inside the door.

After our waitress took the order, it wasn't long before the grill-woman had it on a plate ready for pickup. We were only a couple feet away and weren't sure why she didn't deliver it herself. When we visited the Blue Moon Diner, in Gardner, Massachusetts back in September 2008, the opposite happened. The waitress took the order and the grill-woman delivered the food. While we were eating, we have to mention another unique feature of Al Mac's. If the diner's quiet enough, you may hear a ding every so often. The sound is accompanied by a number illuminating on a box in the corner of the diner. This lets the waitress know her order is ready in the kitchen. From our hundreds of diner visits, we aren't aware of any other diner with this feature. While the diner doesn't have the phone book sized menu, both sides are packed with sturdy choices. The specials board even incorporates local favorites.

Al Mac's diner is one of many that Al McDermott operated in the region at one time. Another was Worcester Lunch Car Company diner #786. While that diner is no longer there, its replacement a 1950s DeRaffele remains on-site in the Flint section. Even though the Nite Owl diner's been closed for a number of years, with the right owner it would do well. We can't forget to mention another McDermott diner. This 1941 O'Mahony built diner left Fall River, operated in Middletown, Rhode Island, and after a complete restoration is open in Oakley, Utah as the Road Island Diner.

Once nicknamed as "Spindle City" in recognition of its many spinning mills, Fall River, Massachusetts has been the home of Al Mac's Diner for as long as we can remember. However, it wasn't until almost a decade ago that the importance of this landmark was officially recognized. The diner celebrates an anniversary of sort this month, as it was added to National Register of Historic Places on December 20, 1999.

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Al Mac's Diner
135 President Ave.
Fall River, MA
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