Diner News and History

A blog about diners and other things encountered along the way.
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Friday, July 31, 2009

In the News - Liberty Elm Diner

We received an email from the crew at the diner. It's existence as a neighborhood diner, and woman owned small business in Rhode Island is in a precarious position. The diner was one of 1,200 businesses told to close. Taxes, more specifically, past due state sales tax is at the center of the issue. Read the Providence Journal article for more information. We thought we'd include an article from the CNBC website. It ranks Rhode Island 48th, almost dead last in terms of being business friendly.

Liberty Elm Counter
Liberty Elm Counter,
© 2009 DinerHistory.com
Today, about noon we visited the diner. Upon our arrival, there was a sign at the front steps of the diner. It advised us of taping for the Food Network's show, "Diner's, Drive-Ins & Dives." Judy, the diner's baker, pictured at left told us they were also there this past Tuesday.

For this scene, the crew setup at the end of the counter. Kip, an owner of the diner, took the order from two customers: chowder and turkey sandwiches. We weren't sure what they ordered for a beverage -- maybe coffee milk, the official state drink. Shortly thereafter things moved to the kitchen for shots of Kip preparing their sandwiches. With the sandwiches assembled and plated, the crew shifted back to the end of the counter.

It was time to bring the cups of chowder out. While the crew talked with the customers about the chowder, Kip was at the diner's pass through window. We glanced over at the sandwiches as she awaited the cue to deliver them. First thing we noticed was it looked like watercress underneath the thick sliced toasted Tuscan bread. In the middle was hand carved turkey from the whole bird they roasted at the diner. As an aside, during one of our past visits, Kip told us she picks up the bread from a bakery in Cranston, RI, a short drive from the diner. The Liberty Elm places an emphasis on locally and regionally sourced ingredients. About the watercress? She corrected us, those were pea greens from a local farmer.

While we were there we talked with Kip, and she said the state has accepted partial payment, allowing them to remain open. There is a payment schedule setup, so the diner needs your continued support. Several things are in the works, so it's best to contact them directly.

Mid August marks the second anniversary for the diner under the ownership of Kip and Tink. The diner itself was built in 1947 by the Worcester Lunch Car Company, of Worcester, MA. Though the original diner tag is one of the original items missing, it would display serial #806.

The Food Network segment is expected to air near the end of the year. Stay tuned for details.

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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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