the staff of the Ridgewood
Roxbury NJ, New Jersey is called the diner capital, mostly because of the sheer number of diners in the state. New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the diner capital of the world. The state didn’t invent the diner, but New Jersey did popularize it. New Jersey had all the right ingredients for diners to flourish and proliferate.
Not only is New Jersey considered the Diner Capital of the World, it was also the Diner Manufacturing Capital of the World. Descended from the horse-drawn lunch wagons in Providence, Rhode Island, New Jersey’s diner history began July 3, 1912, when Jerry O’Mahony started making lunch wagons and established the Jerry O’Mahony Diner Company in Elizabeth, which produced 2,000 diners rom 1917 to 1941, and became the largest manufacturer of its period.The roadside diners were long, narrow, primarily metal buildings, prefabricated in a factory, and trucked to the location. They resembled and were often confused with actual railroad rolling stock removed from their wheels, but these buildings were never railroad cars.
Tom’s Diner, circa 1937, built in Paterson, NJ is one of the oldest existing vintage Silk City Diners in the world & was featured in Cyndi Lauper’s video, “Time After Time”. 3rd generation owner, Tom Seretis, seeks to save, restore & revive this beloved local eatery that earned Runner Up for Best Diner in NJ (AOL-Cityguide) & a town Preservation Award. It is eligible for inclusion on the National & State Register Of Historic Places & even has a mural of it painted on the high school wall. Once the eggs start flipping again this destination eatery will be an economic development magnet for the entire community.
It is threatened by a Vacant Property Ordinance which the diner cannot currently comply with. Roxbury’s Mayor & Town Council have so far balked at exempting this historic landmark from it’s threatened demolition while inflicting excessive fines on the property, including a $2,000 fine for a couch illegally dumped behind the diner. Seretis was even jailed for 5 days for being $250 short on the couch fine!
DEAR MAYOR BOB DeFELIPPO & COUNCIL, EXEMPT TOM’S DINER FROM VACANT PROPERTY ORDINANCE 14-16 FOR 1 YEAR & RETROACTIVELY CAP FINES TO $3,500. THIS WILL GIVE OUR PROJECT THE NEEDED TIME.
Seretis has been consulting with renown vintage diner restoration expert, Steve Harwin of Diversified Diners in Cleveland, who stated “Silk City Diners are the easiest to restore”. Seretis says his new TOM’S DINER 2020 campaign launching in April is the historic landmark’s “last chance to stay in Roxbury where it belongs”. He plans to convert the restoration project to a non-profit venture to pay it forward with food pantry, veterans & children with special needs initiatives. It will have multidimensional uses serving as not only a popular eatery, but also a cooking school, cultural event space for artists & charity fundraising, as well as a set for production including TV, motion picture & radio. The project also has the support of NJ Historic Trust, NJ Historic Preservation Office & Preservation NJ. For more info visit www.tomsdiner2020.com. To volunteer or media inquiries contact: email@example.com
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS!
Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time (Official Video) features Tom’s Diner