But, his true
success was Valentine Lunch System. These eight-to-ten-seat diners
could be operated by just one or two people. The little square-sided
structures were designed to be easily moved on flatbed railroad car. Inside, stools were placed around a counter. Some designs had
pick-up windows. The catalogs reinforced the idea that an individual
purchasing one of these diners could make a substantial living and that
they could add additional units if they desired. Ordering the diner
through a catalog, the struggling entrepreneur could buy the boxy little
diner for just $5,000 with monthly installment payments of $40.00. Arriving complete with grill, counter and stools, the operation could be
unloaded, set upon a concrete slab, and be operational within hours.
an industry where nearly all major diner manufacturers were on the East
Coast, Valentine soon became very successful as the diners were shipped
all across the country, particularly to small towns, where they were
sometimes the only restaurant available.
Sadly, Arthur's health
began to fail as in 1951 just as
were becoming extremely successful. His involvement in the company
thereafter diminished until his death in 1954. The business was sold
to the Radcliff family in 1957 and continued to operate until August 1968.
the American diner has seen resurgence in popularity in the last several
years. For those of us who would prefer a pleasant smile and a great
grilled burger, to the manufacturing-like mentality of many of the fast
food places, this is a great relief.
Many of these small diners continue to exist today all over
the country. Here is a list of those we’ve found on
Arizona on I-40 is the old Twin
Arrows Trading Post and Cafe. Located at exit 219, this was a
icon. Sadly, its closed today.
- This old
Valentine Diner , in 300
block of East Second Street, has been called the Highway Diner,
Monday's Cafe and Irene's in the past. The 9-stool diner probably
opened about 1950.
- Now called the Pit at 114 East Third Street, the 9-stool diner
opened around 1950. Originally owned by Cecil McCormick, it was
first called the Birthplace Diner. Over the years, it has also
been nam ed
the One Spot Grill and the
- Located at Seventh and Manvel Streets this diner was originally
located in Leedy,
Oklahoma . Patina Properties purchased in in 2003 and moved it to
Chandler . The 1958 "Little Chef" model 10-stool diner is currently in the
process of restoration.
Oklahoma - The
Diner is part of the
Museum complex located at 2229 West Gary Boulevard. Originally
opened in 1956 in
the owners M.L. and Alta Porter ran the cafe until 1964. The museum acquired it in 2002, restored it, and
placed it on the museum grounds at
Mexico - This old
Valentine Diner once stood in Magdelena, New
Mexico before it was purchased by Jerry Ueckert and moved to
Edgewood. The diner had
extensive damage and Jerry is currently in the process of restoring
it. It is located on
Mexico - This old Valentine Diner, now
located at Girard and Central (US66),
is now used by the
Police Department. It once served
customers at 8th and Central as the "Albuquerque
Diner." Later it was donated to the
Museum, who allows the
Police Department to utilize it as a sub station.
of America, updated