Diner News and History

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In the News - Diner Exhibit

We last visited the museum about a month ago. It was the opening of Becky Haletky's exhibit entitled, "Time to Eat." Today Gwenn Friss wrote an article about the permanent exhibit, "Diners: Still Cookin' in the 21st Century" on display at the Johnson & Wales Culinary Archives & Museum. We thought our readers would like to know more about the exhibit.

As you step through this Kullman Industries, Inc. designed and manufactured entrance, you embark upon your journey through diner history.

Richard J. S. Gutman drew upon the past forty years (and more) of researching, photographing, restoring, and authoring numerous books about diners. As you walk through the exhibit, you will see items from his extensive collection on display. It wouldn't be considered a static display, as the exhibit is refreshed throughout the year. The exhibit is "interactive" as there are photographs, video, an actual diner restoration in process, and guides available to answer your questions.

Ever Ready Diner,
© 2008 DinerHistory.com file photo
Speaking of the restoration, let's take a look at the diner on display. It was built in 1926 by the Worcester Lunch Car Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. Over the years the diner evolved and was renovated. It last operated a short distance from the museum, as the Ever Ready Diner in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. During our June 2008 visit, the museum staff graciously talked with us in detail about the restoration. Not too long before we took this picture, the stained glass was installed above the windows.

One of the first things you might notice when looking inside the diner is the hood over the cooking area. It's a stainless steel hood similar to those seen in some late 1940's/early 1950's Worcesters. On the ceiling steel strips frame the sand and red Formica sheets. That Formica pattern is similar to the style used in the Peterboro.

Perhaps what caught your eye first was the diner's floor? In some 1920's diners, we've seen a foot rail installed. With the Ever Ready, a tiled foot rest was constructed and covers the floor's mosaic tile border. If you've ever visited the Deluxe Diner in Rumford, Maine, you'll instantly recognize the same floor tile pattern. We noticed some of the missing ceramic hexagon floor tiles had been replaced. Atop the foot rest the tile is arranged in a pattern similar to that of the Fish Tale.

We encourage you to visit the museum and view the exhibits. More work remains to be done on the Ever Ready to bring the it back to the way it was. If you would like to be part of this restoration, we encourage you contact the museum.

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Diners: Still Cookin' in the 21st Century
Johnson & Wales Culinary Culinary Archives & Museum
315 Harborside Blvd.
Providence, RI
View Map / Send to GPS*
(401) 598-2805
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10AM-5PM

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Diner Exhibit Diner Exhibit Diners: Still Cookin' in the 21st Century Culinary Archives & Museum at Johnson & Wales University
315 Harborside Blvd. Providence, RI View Map / Send to GPS*
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Whether you appreciate diner history, the architecture, or its contribution to American culture and the food service industry, this site will be a unique resource for you. This blog is part history, current news, road trips, and our staff's insightful commentary. We thank you for visiting and encourage you to join in, sharing your own diner adventures.

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-Diner News and History staff
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