Indianapolis Then now Meadowbr k Diner, 5151 E. 38th Street

Indianapolis Then now Meadowbr k Diner, 5151 E. 38th Street

Undated linen postcard of this Meadowbr k Diner (The Indiana Album Loaned by Joan Hostetler)

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With three running old-fashioned diners and the current explosion of meals trucks zipping around town, Indianapolis is enjoying a diner revival having a cult that is nostalgic among roadside architecture fans. Purists determine a diner being a building that is prefabricated specifically being a restaurant. Others broaden this is to add old trolley and railroad cars later changed into restaurants ( including the Barge Fish ‘n Chips). The mobile restaurants have r ts dating towards the 1870s, whenever horse-drawn lunch wagons provided dishes near factories. The later prefabricated diners usually stayed stationary and had been added to fundamentals, but it wasn’t unheard of to move them up to a better location.

The Meadowbr k Diner at 5151 East 38th Street is certainly one of a few authentic diners that once fed the hungry masses in Indianapolis. Located just east of N. Emerson Avenue, this diner has served clients for sixty years. In the early 1950s, experienced diner owners James and Ted Bellas of longer Island dreamed of starting a diner in Ohio or Indiana, but figured it would be t expensive and complicated to deliver the diner through the manufacturer, Mountain View Diners in Signac, nj-new Jersey, to your Midwest. However a company salesman made the method effortless and also located four sites that are possible a diner in Indianapolis. The Bellas brothers liked the 38th Street location and, although stressed about the cost, approved drawing up blueprints. They desired a diner large enough for b ths as well as countertop service, so that the company provided all of them with plans for the x that is 65′ deluxe diner. Hill View built it in three, eleven-f t sections, along with a big vestibule–all of that have been shipped in February of 1954 by railroad flat cars to an Indianapolis cargo yard and trucked to your 38th Street web site, where neighborh d contractors hired by the manufacturer had been ready to piece it together in the brand new foundation.

The diner arrived by train from New Jersey and ended up being then hauled by several vehicles to 5151 E. 38th Street. (The Indiana Album Loaned by Jimmy Bellas, picture by Bass Photo Company)

An indication regarding the part associated with the diner reads “Another Modern Diner for the Crossroads of America, Indianapolis, Indiana, Mfdg. By Mountain View Diners, Signac, N. J.”

Indianapolis Information, 23 February 1954

Although this Indianapolis News article states that the diner are priced at $90,000, an article published by the master in belated 1954 states that in total it cost nearly $200,000.

A Magazine of Counter and Car Service, November 1954, p. 14 from Diner, Drive-In and Restaurant

Diners had been believed to come with everything nevertheless the customers, therefore the Meadowbr k arrived with tile fl rs, stainless steel backsplashes, a vaulted ceiling, a soda water fountain, stands, st ls at a lengthy counter, kitchen gear and devices, as well as dishes and c kware.

A Magazine of Counter and Car Service, November 1954, p. 14 from Diner, Drive-In and Restaurant

Based on the indication, the diner had water fountain services, air conditioning, twenty-four hour solution, as well as an menu that is extensive included short sales, steaks, and seaf d dinners. Jimmy Bellas, son of original owner James Bellas, recalled that the sign was very expensive. It showcased multi-fluorescent colors with timed “chasing” lights by having a rush of color emitting from the center.

This classic movie of this Meadowbr k Diner, posted on YouTube by MyF tage, begins having a automobile pulling as much as the diner from 38th Street into the belated 1950s. [It seems that the last part of the movie, showing a carhop f d that is delivering a few in an automobile, depicts another restaurant since the Meadowbr k didn’t have a r f overhang or glass walls.]

Owner James Bellas with actor and comedian Joe E. Brown (The Indiana Album Loaned by Jimmy Bellas)

James Bellas enjoyed his time operating the diner in Indianapolis and recalled serving famous Indy 500 motorists and a-listers, including star and comedian Joe E. Brown (see above), but he offered it after just a couple years. Their son Jimmy recalled “Dad loved the excitement of starting locations that are new finally for this reason he just had the Diner for a few years. The story is that he attempted a partnership to go into the boy business that is big. To improve the capital for this Big that is new Boy he offered the Diner. The top Boy deal dropped through, and relocated back in to Long Island to start (yet another) diner! It absolutely was extremely disappointing as they enjoyed their amount of time in Indianapolis. for them,”

Circa 1970 matchb k address for Dick’s Diner

In about 1960, the restaurant became Bill’s Diner, known as after owner William J. Wurtz, and by the 1960s that are late was renamed Dick’s Diner for owner Richard Supple.

Undated picture by Jim Rees

With a changing community demographic, from 1983 through 2001, the diner went from serving typical diner fare to home c king that is southern. The name “Connie’s Soul F d Diner” utilized in 1990 reflects the alteration.

In 2002, owner Jay Pandey, who also owns the adjacent motel, restored the restaurant as a Subway string escort in Bridgeport and luckily the diner’s stainless steel still gleams, although only a little overpowered by the bright yellowish signage.

Two other restored diners can be seen in or near Indianapolis. This season, Angie’s List moved a 1937 diner produced by the Jerry O’Mahony business in New Jersey from Cleveland to 1002 E. Market Street. Now called the Sanitary Diner, it acts staff only (the lack of restr ms stops them from opening to the public as planned). The Oasis Diner, another Mountain View diner stated in 1954, endured for decades on the National path western of Indianapolis nearby the Ronald Reagan Parkway. Whenever health department ordered the restaurant shut in ’09, because of structural issues, some thought it absolutely was the finish for the hang-out that is popular. Indiana Landmarks put the diner that is threatened its “10 Many Endangered” list additionally the ensuing promotion snagged interested purchasers. a developer that is generous the structure as he bought the land, while the diner had been trucked to its brand new location on principal Street in downtown Plainfield ( ch se a late October opening date).

Sources -“Historic Eastside Diner Gets Facelift,” Indianapolis Recorder, 29 March 2002 -“Enclosed – One Diner,” Diner, Drive-In and Restaurant, A Magazine of Counter and vehicle provider, November 1954, by James Bellas, p. 12-14 -Polk Indianapolis City Directories -Email from James W. Bellas, Jr. to Joan Hostetler, February 2012

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