No. 20353 Englewood Diner, photograph from the 1970s.
The Englewood Diner stood in Peabody Square from the 1940s until the 1970s, when it was replaced by the Englewood Apartment building in the point between Dorchester Avenue and Talbot Avenue. Its colors at that time were yellow (or creamy yellow) with red lettering.
Later the Englewood operated in the parking lot of the shopping center on Morrissey Boulevard in front of the former Dorchester Pottery building, before moving to Maine about 1979. It is now completely restored with the name Red Line diner and is located in Brighton in an up-scale office park.
From the March 2001 Ashmont Outlook:
“Englewood Diner Goes to Hollywood (sort of)
“Long a Peabody Square landmark, the 1941 Englewood Diner was relocated when the elderly housing was built in the square, and it has been moved from place to place as it has changed ownership over the years. Its current owner purchased it intending to add it onto his home in Holden. But the diner was destined for greatness: After long negotiations with Dreamworks SKG, the diner is being hauled to Chicago, where it will be used for one day of filming in a Tom Hanks movie (still untitled). The diner will then go back to Holden. Cost to Dreamworks: $40,000 to the owner and $16,000 to the hauling company. (as reported in the Boston Globe, February 4, 2001).”
A September 2002 online article from the American Diner Museum (http://www.dinermuseum.org/articles/article6.php) says, among many other things about the diner’s travels to movie fame:
“The Englewood has been called the “most moved non-lunch wagon type diner in history.” It originally operated in Dorchester, a suburb of Boston, and closed in the late 1970s. It operated once again in Dorchester for about five years in the late ’80s, but in the interim, traveled in Massachusetts to storage spots in Cambridge, Boston, Fitchburg, Framingham, Natick and Ashburnham. Since diners were originally made to be moved, the Englewood’s most recent journey to Chicago and back to New England gives it the proud honor of the title.”
The movie, which starred Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, was ultimately titled “The Road to Perdition.” The diner was an anachronism in the movie: while it was built in 1941, the movie, which was about gangsters in Chicago, was placed in 1931.
The diner stood in Peabody Square about where the firemen park their cars adjacent to the elderly housing (which is appropriately called the Englewood Apartments). Many people remember the diner with fondness and would like to bring it back home to Peabody Square…one way or another.
For photos of the restored diner check out
Comment from Bill Walczak July, 2020
h, the good old days. Charlie [O’Hara], Seater [O’Hara], Craig and I (was Linda part of it?) were the original Friends of Peabody Square. (Were there others?) We met in the diner on Friday nights, and had one of those lard-cooked dinners for $1.60. Remember that we asked Peter Meade, who lived around the corner and was Parks Commissioner at the time, to take down the run over chain link fence around the clock, and nothing happened, so we did it ourselves one Friday night. Nobody questioned us as we removed the fence on a Friday night. We also filled the horse trough with dirt and planted flowers. All without permission. Next time Peter saw us, he said, “you see, I took down that fence!”
I remember Miss Peabody who collected your money at the door, and threw your change at you, and Jack the counter cook, who always had a nip on the shelf near the grill. I forget the owner, who seemed sane, and the goofy guy (Harry? Charlie?). They cooked with lard! And it was open 24 hours a day.
One Saturday morning, Linda and I went there for breakfast. We sat at the counter near the door. A couple in the corner booth farthest away from the door started having an argument, which resulted in the woman tossing her dish, coffee and food at the man, covering him with it all. Then she ran for the door, getting half way through before the man caught her and started squeezing it on her. Linda turned to me and said, “HELP HER!”. I got up and did the man thing – I lowered my voice an octave – and said “Leave her alone!”. The man said, “You stay out of this!” to which I replied, “I said LEAVE HER ALONE!” And he did, much to my surprise. I went back to my counter seat and my hands shook as I tried to pick up my coffee. The man stood behind me and I could feel his breath on my neck. I was terrified, but acted as cool as a person who was shaking could. Then he left! I escaped another potentially ignominious incident. Over 40 years ago!