At Murphy’s Diner, we’ve established ourselves as one of the best breakfast restaurants in Manchester. One of the main reasons for that is our respect for tradition, particularly the American tradition of diners. Diners have been around for a while. In fact, it’s thought that the first diner was established in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1872. Local entrepreneur Walter Scott decided to sell food out of a horse-pulled wagon to the employees of the Providence Journal. Walk-up windows were installed on both sides of the wagon for speedy orders.
However, the diner as we know it didn’t come around until 1939. Roland Stickney was inspired by art deco in general and trains in particular. Thus, he designed a diner in the shape of a streamlined train. It had a long counter, a casual atmosphere, and fast but filling American food. Stickney’s design was known as the Sterling Streamliner, and two examples of his work still exist today: The Salem Diner in Salem, Massachusetts, and the Modern Diner in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
While the manufacture of diners suffered during the Great Depression, the business model exploded after World War II. They were an attractive and affordable way of getting into the restaurant business. The car culture of the 1950’s meshed perfectly with diners, as people traveling for work and play needed a quick and cheap place to get a bite to eat. In the 1970’s, many diners were run out of business by the rise of fast food joints. However, in the Northeast and in certain spots within the Midwest, these iconic eateries still exist to provide a hearty meal and a solid cup of coffee.