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One such manufacturer that had an appealing look was the Worcester Lunch Car Company, which constructed over 600 diner cars between 1906 and 1957, including Lamy’s Diner at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, the Liberty Elm Diner in Providence (featured in this issue), the South Street Diner down the block from South Station in Boston, the Rosebud Diner on Summer Street in Somerville, and, of course, the Miss Worcester Diner located right across the street from the original manufacturing plant in Worcester, MA. The Worcester Lunch Car Company went out of business in 1957, and its assets were auctioned in 1961. Known for their porcelain enamel panels with the name along the side, barrel and monitor roofs, and ornate tile and woodwork inside, Worcester Lunch Car diners were very well-made and a popular choice of diner merchants. But it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th Century, about 1948, that the diner started to take on a modern, space-age appearance. After World War II, diner manufacturers began to use materials that were, up to that point, created mostly for the defense industry. After the war, however, these materials were no longer prioritized for governmental use, so manufacturers were able to use them in their production of the diner car. With the onset of commercial jet aircraft and America’s space program, diners were built using materials such as Formica and stainless steel to reflect the nation’s latest and greatest accomplishments and attract patrons with shiny exteriors, neon signs, and brightly-colored interiors. Then, the unthinkable happened: McDonald’s emerged on the scene and paved the road for others like it. T h e American diner was in trouble. Now, patrons would have their cake and eat it, too; they could drive up to a window, place their order, and take it with them to eat on the run or somewhere more comfortable. Moreover, these fast-food restaurants even looked more like what Americans were used to – their homes. They were clad with mansard shingled roofs, had brick exteriors, and were modeled after popular English Tudor and Mediterranean architecture. And if that wasn’t enough, there was tasty food at a price patrons could not ignore. But now, like most fashion trends, diners have come back into vogue. The WWII generation has been immortalized on the silver screen by actors like Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and James Dean, and they are still looked up to by present day Americans. Now, more than ever, one of the most nostalgic, affordable, and convenient places for foodies to gather and reminisce, is the Great American Diner. -Editor. Foodies of New England

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Foodies of New England Fall 2012  

Diners. Gluten-free Fall Classics.Farm to Table.

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