Last Cup of Coffee at the Newton Diner

The September 11, 2010 edition of the Courier-Post reported that the Newton Diner in Oaklyn, New Jersey, was destroyed by fire.
 This tragedy is a great loss to the Hondros family and their employees, their loyal patrons, the town of Oaklyn, and diner fans near and far. Just two weeks ago I was touring the Garden State working on the up-coming Stackpole book, Diners of New Jersey, and happened to stop at the Newton Diner. The pictures I took that day may be some of the last taken of the Newton in operation.
 

Newton Diner, 1957 Fodero, Oaklyn, New Jersey.

Buried beneath the Newton’s stone façade and mansard roof was a 70-seat Fodero brought to the White Horse Pike as the Oaklyn Diner for the Medlin Brothers in 1957. At the time of the fire, the Newton projected at least two periods of renovation. The white formstone and mansard roof unified the building in the 1970s after dining rooms were added on either end of the diner. The vestibule atrium was probably added in a 1980s remodeling. The diner’s stainless steel mullions were the last vestige of original diner still visible on the outside.   

Original stainless steel mullions visible through the subsequent environmental renovation.

   Diner owners Dennis and Eleanor Hondros’s son Chris was gracious enough to show me around. Aside from newer furnishings, upholstery, ceiling and décor, the Newton’s original interior was largely intact. It had a center split counter, a row of booths along the front windows, and a two-toned, green and pink, diamond-patterned terrazzo floor that was one of the best diner floors in South Jersey.     

Newton Diner interior.

  

Newton Diner interior.

 

Newton Diner’s terrazzo floor.

  A view from the basement revealed steel I-beams that supported both the diner and the kitchen, suggesting the kitchen unit was also provided by Fodero at the time the diner was brought in. Before their recent purchase of the Newton, the Hondros family was a partner at the Palace Diner in Berlin, New Jersey.   

Newton Diner’s Fodero kitchen unit.

     

  

        

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6 Responses to Last Cup of Coffee at the Newton Diner

  1. Kevin, great photos! I saw the news in my google “diner” alerts about the fire. I am glad you visited when you did. Always sad to hear of a destructive fire like this.

    • Kevin Patrick says:

      Yes, very sad news, and surprising because I had just been there. Even with all the renovations, the inside was a gem.

  2. Jimmy Hee says:

    I just now saw this for the first time while surfing the net. I logged in because I saw some video footage of the fire that destroyed my favorite place to eat. I frequented the “Oaklyn Diner” in the 80’s, while a Member of the Oaklyn Ambulance Squad 18. I remember parking old 1857 in the lot and going in at 0300 and getting a burger and a shake, my partner would get some breakfast food, and yet another member would join in with a full blown turkey dinner in July, including the pumpkin pie. I now serve the City and County of Denver as a career Firefighter, but I have not been able to find a Diner in Colorado that has the type of atmosphere and endless menu 24/7 like the good old Oaklyn Diner. I am saddened to hear that such a wonderful town icon has been destroyed! All I can say, is that I hope it gets rebuilt, and the past memories of squad calls, and girlfriends out to eat, flood back into the new construction. God bless all the employees of the diner, and I hope they are all able to recover from a job loss in this horrible economic fix that we have found ourselves in nationwide. If any current or past “Squad” members see this posting, give a holler on e-mail @ mucker24s@hotmail.com.

  3. Wow, great diner pictures, man. Both articles are pretty cool, so far. Keep it up. You should check out my site, where I’m trying to spread the word about the good burger places and diners left in New Jersey.

  4. KPatrick says:

    Thanks Nick. NEW JERSEY NICK’S website is awesome. I’ll be checking back to it as a reference while writing Diners of New Jersey.

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