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.
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.
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.