September 22nd, 2009 – by: oldschoolbill
Serria Vista Dine
3500 Canyon de Flores Sierra Vista, AZ 85650
A real "Diner" is a prefabricated structure built at an assembly site and transported to a permanent location for installation to serve prepared food. What generated this blog is a chance drive by & stop at the Serria Vista Diner located at 3500 Canyon de Flores Sierra Vista, AZ 85650. There is an Old School DinerOld School Diner located at 1080 Jesse Grant Rd Townsend, GA 31331-9109 oldschooldiner.com which may not be a Classic Diner, but you just gotta like the name... I not sure Chef Jerome & I are are related I’ll let you know. Old School’s Dictionary defines a diner as "a restaurant in the shape of a railroad car." The word "Diner" comes from "Dining Car" and diner designs reflected the styling that manufacturers borrowed from railroad dining cars.
Happy Days Wall
A diner is usually outfitted with a counter, stools and a food preparation or service area along the back wall. Decommissioned railroad passenger cars and trolleys were often converted into diners by those who could not afford to purchase a new diner.
The origins of the diner are said to be traced to Walter Scott, a part-time pressman and type compositor in Providence, Rhode Island. Around 1858 when Scott was 17 years old he supplemented his income by selling sandwiches and coffee from a basket to newspaper night workers and patrons of men's club rooms. By 1872 business became so lucrative that Scott quit his printing work and began to sell food at night from a horse-drawn covered express wagon parked outside the Providence Journal newspaper office.
In doing so, Walter Scott unknowingly inspired the birth of what would become one of America's most recognized icons -- the Diner.
The success of the early converted wagons inspired a few individuals to form companies and manufacture lunch wagons for sale. These improved wagons allowed customers to stand inside, protected from inclement weather or sit on stools at counters. Night lunch wagons or "Nite Owls" began to appear in many New England towns and cities during the late 1800's. Some models were elaborate and were fitted with stained and etched glass windows, intricately painted murals and fancy woodwork. Lunch wagons became very popular because workers and pedestrians could purchase inexpensive meals during the day but especially at night when most restaurants closed by 8:00 pm(old time Fast Food).
Specials of the Day
Because of the attraction to the lucrative trade, lunch wagon vendors became so abundant on the streets that many towns and cities passed ordinances to restrict hours of operation. This prompted some owners to circumvent the law by positioning their wagons on semi-permanent locations. At the same time that lunch wagons were becoming popular, obsolete horse drawn streetcars were being replaced by electrified models. Many of the displaced cars were purchased and converted into food venues for a fraction of the cost of a new dining car. Operating on meager budgets, most owners were more concerned with making a living than maintaining their car. Dining cars took on the reputation of the "Greasy Spoon". In order to increase business, particularly from women who secured the right to vote in 1920, diner owners cleaned up their image, adding shrubs and flower boxes, offering booth service and repainting their diners.
Welcome Mat & my right foot
Many dining car owners included the word "Miss" in their names to help feminize and soften their image. The builders constructed cars with innovations such as indoor bathrooms, tables, longer length dimensions and repositioned counters to accommodate a larger food selection. Dining cars of the 1920's, although manufactured by different companies, were similar in style. The cars were an evolved version of the earlier lunch wagon
The incorporation of the railroad car look and use of the word "Diner" were efforts by manufacturers to change the image of the dilapidated dining cars and night lunches. The design of dining cars had remained relatively unchanged until the streamline modern style appeared in the 1930's. Modern materials were fabricated into streamline forms to symbolize speed and mobility.
Some of the Gang
Streamline design identified with the new and futuristic modes of transportation and the efficiency of the machine age. During the Depression most diners remained in business because they offered inexpensive places to eat. The replacement of street cars and interurbans in the late 1930's and early 1940's with internal combustion buses provided another low cost opportunity to own a converted Trolley Diner. After World War II, the demand for diners increased dramatically. Servicemen eligible for G.I. loans were returning from the War and the economy was shifting back to non-military production. Americans were eager to spend money and make up for the years that they had to do without. In 1948, a dozen diner manufacturers were competing for part of the economic pie. As the population shifted from the cities to the suburbs the look of diners began to change. All stainless steel exteriors and large windows were new stylistic features incorporated into designs as a way to attract passing motorists.
A significant number of vintage diners have been rescued from demolition and relocated to new sites in the United States and Europe.