What to Know
- The former Mountain View Diner traveled nearly 250 miles from Willimantic, Connecticut, to Philadelphia.
- The diner will reopen as the Wayne Junction Diner — an homage to a former restaurant and train station that was nearby.
- This is the sixth time the diner has moved since it was built by a New Jersey company in the 1950s.
Philadelphia's newest diner was greeted by eager guests and antique collectors as it literally rolled into town Friday.
The 1950s Mountain View diner traveled 244 miles south from Willimantic, Connecticut, to Berkley Street in Philadelphia. There, it will reopen as the Wayne Junction Diner. It'll be named after a restaurant formerly located across from Wayne Junction Station, which closed in the 1990s.
“The nostalgia of the Wayne Junction Diner will be a major draw to lower Germantown and a key ingredient to its revitalization,” said Ken Weinstein, President of Philly Office Retail, the company that owns the diner.
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"Anyone can build a building and call it a diner, but it’s much more difficult and people appreciate it more if you do something like this.”
Moving the diner required a lot of coordination. Police in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania had to work together to make sure the building traveled safely and, once in Philly, the driver had to navigate the city’s narrow streets.
Area residents and visitors from other Philadelphia neighborhoods greeted the diner with enthusiasm as it drove up to its location.
Carolyn Sutton traveled from East Falls because of the diner’s long history.
“I collect antiques and things like that so I love everything that’s from the past,” Sutton said.
This isn't the first move for the diner. It has quite a travel history:
Originally manufactured by the Mountain View Diners Company in New Jersey, the diner’s first move was to Waterbury, Connecticut, where it originally opened as Egan’s Diner. The diner then moved to Willimantic and became the Windham Diner until 1971 when it made the move to Southington, Connecticut, as G. Otto’s Hiway Diner.
In 1986, it moved back to Waterbury and operated under the name Valley Diner until 1993. The diner found new life back in Willimantic in 2005 when it became Mickey’s and was later connected to the college-oriented nightclub Jonathan’s Café. They detached in 2016, and the diner was put up for sale.
In May 2018, Philly Office Retail purchased the diner as part of the Wayne Junction Revitalization Project. The project began in Oct. 2017.
While the diner won’t open as the new Wayne’s Junction until next year, children attending the opening already knew what they wanted to eat.
One of the kids told NBC10 she wanted “fries, a burger and some milkshakes—two milkshakes.”
The diner, which currently seats 65, will be expanded before the opening to include a larger seating area, a new kitchen and bathrooms. Weinstein believes the diner’s memorable move in will make it worth the wait.
“It is not every day that a 1950’s diner arrives in our city,” Weinstein said. “People will remember where they were on this day for years to come.”
The new Wayne Junction Diner will be the second diner Weinstein has delivered to Philadelphia. The first diner, a 1952 Mountain View, arrived in 1999 and opened in 2000 as Trolley Car Diner in Mount Airy.