Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company

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The Summit Diner in Summit, New Jersey, is a prototypical "rail car" style diner. Built by the O'Mahony Company in 1938, it is the oldest operating diner in the state.[1]
Collin's Diner, North Canaan, Connecticut, USA
Mill Pond Diner, Wareham, Massachusetts
Seaplane Diner, Providence, Rhode Island

The Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was a manufacturer of roadside diners from 1917 to 1952. The company produced some 2,000 of the long, narrow, primarily metal buildings, perhaps more than any other firm.[2] Prefabricated in a factory and trucked to their locations, the diners resemble and are often confused with actual railroad rolling stock. The company's motto was "In our line, we lead the world".


Jerry O'Mahony (1890–1969) of Bayonne, New Jersey, is credited by some to have made the first "diner".[3] In 1912, the first lunch wagon built by Jerry and Daniel O'Mahoney and John Hanf was bought for $800 by restaurant entrepreneur Michael Griffin and operated at Transfer Station in Hudson County, New Jersey. The wagon helped spark New Jersey's golden age of diner manufacturing, which in turn made the state the diner capital of the world.[4]

The Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, produced some 2,000 diners from 1917 to 1952.

Existing examples[edit]

United States[edit]

Outside the United States[edit]

Overseas examples include:

  • the former Murphy's Diner from Cambridge, Massachusetts, now the '50s American Diner in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, in the United Kingdom.
  • A 1947 model operated as The Excellent Diner in Westfield, New Jersey, until it closed in 1995; shipped to Germany, it now operates at Disneyland Paris as Café des Cascadeurs (Café of the Stuntmen).

Pre-war Streamline Moderne-style diners[edit]

At least 26 pre-war Streamline Moderne-style O'Mahony diners (built between 1932 and 1941) still exist.[13] These include the smaller 50' × 10' Mickey's Diner serial number 1067 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, which is one of several listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the 40' × 16' Collin's Diner[14] serial number 1103 in North Canaan, Connecticut; and the 1938 Summit Diner in Summit, N.J. The Road Island Diner (O'Mahony Dining Car #1107) was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service on August 21, 2009.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "N.J's best diner: What to eat at the oldest diner in the state". December 2015. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  2. ^ Offitzer, Karen (2002). Diners. New York, NY: New Line Books. p. 46. ISBN 1-57717-052-0.
  3. ^ p.16 Westergaard, Barbara A Guide to New Jersey Rutgers University Press
  4. ^ Gabriele, Michael C. (May 2018). "Jersey Gems". New Jersey Monthly. p. 43.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Security Check Required". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  7. ^ "Miss America Diner". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "Shawmut Diner donated to Bristol County House of Corrections for job training". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  9. ^ Butko, B., Patrick, K., Weaver, K.R., Breuil, J., Diners of Pennsylvania, Stackpole – Mechanicsburg (2nd. Ed. 2011), p.187
  10. ^ "In the News: Mill Pond Diner". Diner News and History. 11 February 2009. Archived from the original on 22 November 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "The Best Diners in New England". Visiting New England. Archived from the original on 21 April 2020. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  12. ^ Wikipedia
  13. ^ "A classic Jersey diner comes to an end - Di Ionno". March 2015. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  14. ^ "Welcome to the Collin's Diner". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Garbin, Randy. "RoadsideOnline Diner Finder". Coffee Cup Media. Retrieved March 28, 2011.