American diner tour to be offered in Queens

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The Queens Historical Society, the American Diner Museum and the Queens Borough Public Library’s Flushing branch present a lecture and tour on the history of the American Diner by American Diner Museum director Daniel Zilka and diner historian Mario Monti.

The lecture will be held at the Flushing Public Library, 41-17 Main Street, starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. Following the lecture, at 11:30 a.m., Monti and Zilka will conduct a bus tour of more than 20 Queens diners including stops for lunch, dessert and photo opportunities.

Diners, the classic prefabricated roadside structures built in factories and hauled to a location to serve good food at reasonable prices, are an American institution. It all started in Providence, R.I. in 1872 when Waiter Scott took a converted freight wagon and parked it in front of the Providence Journal to serve meals to late-night workers.

The diner industry eventually moved to cities like Worcester, Mass.; Elizabeth, N.J. ; Glens Falls, N.Y. and New Rochelle, N.Y.

There are more than 80 diners in Queens, offering a sampling of what diners are like throughout the country. From the T-Bone Diner in Forest Hills built in 1934; to the Maspeth Diner, circa 1952; to the Seville Diner in Douglaston, manufactured by the Kullman Company in 1971 and renovated in 1990 — we can follow the evolution of the diner as part of the American tapestry,” said Monti.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are required for the motor coach tour. The cost of the tour is $70, including lunch, dessert and a one-year membership in the American Diner Museum. Members of the Queens Historical Society or the American Diner Museum can enjoy the tour for $35 per person.

For more information contact the American Diner Museum at (401) 434-4342. or the Queens Historical Society at (718) 939-0647, or online at

Updated 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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