The End of an Era for New Bedford’s Great Diners
Once the go-to hangout for teens, the American diner is one of the most beloved remnants of mid-century America. The question is: will those prefab O'Mahony's, Worcester Lunch Car and Tierney's ever have a renaissance like they did back in the 1950s?
The New Bedford area had its fair share of great diners, and still does. One, though, that's vanished into the diner hereafter is the classic Green Diner that was on Rockdale Avenue in the South End.
Today, we said goodbye to Paul Tsonis, Green Diner's longest owner. He and his hard-working family built a great reputation by staying on top of everything, and that onto itself is a herculean task in the restaurant industry.
Families used to hand down businesses, generation to generation, but a lot of the kids who were brought up helping mom and dad in the kitchen realized the backbreaking pace and stress that's married to owning a diner, and decided this isn't the path they'd like to be on for their career.
Times have changed. With a plethora of new restaurant genres popping up, I don't see a significant cultural change happening to bring back the diner. Jake's Diner and Mattapoisett Diner are going great, but there's not a demand for more diners on the SouthCoast.
Diners have been part of American life for over 140 years. They've played an important role in feeding families for cheap, as well as a significant role in art, from Normal Rockwell to Edward Hopper. Barry Levinson's classic motion picture Diner had the blue-plate magic to start a revival across the country that helped bring back the popularity of diners – but I don't see modern day culture repeating that trend.