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The Trolley's History

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The Trolley's History

"Classic American Diners" are often characterized by an exterior layer of glimmering stainless steel - a feature unique to diner architecture. The first recorded diner was a horse-drawn wagon equipped to serve hot food to employees of the Providence Journal, in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1872.

The "Classic American Diner"

"Classic American Diners" are often characterized by an exterior layer of glimmering stainless steel - a feature unique to diner architecture. The first recorded diner was a horse-drawn wagon equipped to serve hot food to employees of the Providence Journal, in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1872.

A Bayonne, New Jersey, man by the name of Jerry O'Mahony is credited by some to have made the first "diner." The Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, produced 2,000 diners from 1917 to 1954. Only approximately twenty O'Mahony diners are still in existence throughout the United States and in certain parts of the world.

After World War II, as the economy returned to civilian production and the suburbs boomed, diners spread beyond their original urban and small town market to highway strips in the suburbs, even reaching the Midwest, with manufacturers such as Valentine. In the 1970s, in many areas, diners were superseded by fast food restaurants.

 
The "Classic American Diner"

"Classic American Diners" are often characterized by an exterior layer of glimmering stainless steel - a feature unique to diner architecture. The first recorded diner was a horse-drawn wagon equipped to serve hot food to employees of the Providence Journal, in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1872.

A Bayonne, New Jersey, man by the name of Jerry O'Mahony is credited by some to have made the first "diner." The Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, produced 2,000 diners from 1917 to 1954. Only approximately twenty O'Mahony diners are still in existence throughout the United States and in certain parts of the world.

After World War II, as the economy returned to civilian production and the suburbs boomed, diners spread beyond their original urban and small town market to highway strips in the suburbs, even reaching the Midwest, with manufacturers such as Valentine. In the 1970s, in many areas, diners were superseded by fast food restaurants.

 

 
Cultural Significance Of Diners

Diners attract a wide spectrum of the local populations, and are generally small businesses. They are often seen as quintessentially American, reflecting the perceived cultural diversity and egalitarian nature of the country at large. Nighthawks (1942) is a well known American painting depicting a diner and its occupants.

In television and cinema (e.g. The Blob, Happy Days, and Diner), diners and soda fountains symbolize the period of prosperity and optimism in White America in the 1950s. They are shown as the place where teenagers meet after school and as an essential part of a date. The television show Alice used a "diner" as the setting for the program. The diner's cultural influence continues today. Many non-prefab restaurants (including franchises like Denny's) have copied the look of 1950s diners for nostalgic appeal, while Waffle House uses an interior layout derived from the diner.

The food is usually quite inexpensive, with a decent meal (sandwich, side dish, drink) available for one to one-and-a-half hours of minimum-wage income...
 

The Steel Trolley Diner

Situated in the heart of historic Lisbon, Ohio the Steel Trolley Diner has a long, rich history. In their heyday there were over 6,000 original diners dotting the landscape of the United States, unique in that they served hot meals to hungry customers from all sections of the community,rich and poor. Diners quickly became a favorite dining spot from coast to coast. Sadly, over time, many of these beloved diners gave way to chain restaurants and were destroyed. Today, far fewer than 2,000 original diners remain in operation.

In 1954 The Steel Trolley Diner was one of the last diners built in Elizabeth, New Jersey by the Jerry O'Mahoney Company, known then as one of the largest diner manufacturers in the US. In 1955 it was transported by rail to Salem,Ohio where it operated for 24 years as Aldom's Diner.

In May 1979 the diner found a new home in Lisbon,Ohio where it has been open continuously ever since as the Steel Trolley Diner. As more and more original diners are lost to time, the Steel Trolley Diner is proud to be one of the last surviving original diners and a piece of American history for more than 50 years

Weekly Specials

Meatloaf Monday!
Each week we select the finest and most uniquely delicious housemade meatloaf recipes, they are a BIG hit. Don't miss next weeks Meatloaf Monday. You will be back each week.

And TGIF.... All-U-Can-Eat Fish Friday

Request our daily FAXED Specials!

Latest Events


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Ryan & Jacki

We Like Festivals

With the Spring and Summer season just ahead... we look forward to our Festival Season. Besides traveling for seminars, tradeshows, FUN, and more, we... Read More

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