Whenever a vintage diner changes ownership, diner fans hold their breath. And when one owner acquires several diners, we tend to expect the worst. This happened in Philadelphia, where the landmark Mayfair and Melrose Diners were remodeled by a new owner, damaging their vintage charm in the process.
So it’s with this in mind that I had been observing the diner scene in Burlington, Vermont, where William Maglaris had been acquiring diners and rebranding them with Greek-sounding appellations. Libby’s Blue Line Diner (Worcester # 838) became the Athens Diner, and the Parkway Diner (Worcester # 839) became the Arcadia, an oval with the new name added over the top of “Parkway” on the original diner sign.
But on my recent visit, the original Parkway lettering was back in view, spurring me to ask the cashier some questions. The Arcadia sign ran afoul of sign regulations and the “historic” Parkway sign needed to remain, although the cashier said they were still trying to change it.
“Oh, so you’re still trying to call it the Arcadia Diner?” I said.
“We’re not trying to call it the Arcadia Diner. It is the Arcadia Diner!”
But here’s the good news: None of this makes a bit of difference. The diner’s interior gleams as though it had just left the Worcester Lunch Car factory, with beautiful tile and varnished wood trim. Cooking is still done behind the counter here, with a unique plate pass-through at a spot where it looks like one counter stool is missing. The food itself is a delight as well. My bacon was thick, crisp, and flavorful, accompanied by home fries made from large chunks of fresh potatoes. Constant Companion gave thumbs up to her spinach omelet, made with cheddar cheese.
So, the Parkway Diner sign might remain the way it is, or perhaps be replaced someday by one which reads Arcadia. Either way, it’s just a name. A diner, by any other name, is just as tasty.
1696 Williston Road South Burlington, VT 05403