However, it turns out that these cute buildings are pretty much a New England phenomenon and aren't found in most of the rest of the world!
The concept of small, nearly-portable restaurants was technically first invented by Walter Scott in 1872 with a horse-pulled lunch wagon. But it was the Worcester Lunch Car Company which brought it to the masses. It was started up in 1906 by Philip H. Duprey and Grenville Stoddard in Worcester, Massachusetts. The building is still there! It's across from the Miss Worcester Diner which was their "showcase" diner for sales and experiments.
The company made 651 diners, many which are now on the National Register of Historic Places. The company stopped making the diners in 1957.
Here are some of the diners still going strong in Massachusetts - make time to visit one! It's a piece of history! I'll add photos to this page as I'm able to go out on field trips.
Built in 1936, this beautiful diner is on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. It has a neon sign out front and friendly service.
Boulevard Diner Photos
The Parkway was built in 1936 and is also on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. It's been built around, now, so the entire restaurant and bar is much larger, but the core is still that original diner.
Parkway Diner Photos