Paterson Museum to Host Program on NJ Diner History

The Paterson Museum, 2 Market Street, will host New Jersey author and Jersey Bites blogger Michael Gabriele, on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 1 p.m.

The program, A Roadmap to the Diner Capital of the World, examines how diners have played an important role in New Jersey’s history, spirit, culture and mythology.

The Paterson Museum

Diner Experts

Gabriele has written two books on Garden State diner history: Stories from New Jersey Diners and the History of Diners in New Jersey. Both are published by The History Press. Golden-age diners, with their streamlined architecture, terrazzo floors, and neon lights, are iconic symbols of American culture, nostalgia, and manufacturing ingenuity.

Here in New Jersey, diners are the hubs of their respective communities — the beloved gathering places where generations of memories are formed and renewed. As the saying goes, “A diner is more than just a place to eat, and food is only half the meal.”

Curzon's Diner

Dana Schaeffer, a New York-based journalist and a graduate of William Paterson University, will be a guest speaker during the program. Schaeffer will discuss her efforts to rebuild and preserve the long-shuttered Little Falls Diner, and provide insights on the real-world challenges of saving a vintage modular, prefabricated, 20th-century, factory-built diner.

Silk City Diner

NJ Diners, Paterson, and More

The upcoming program is part of the museum’s current exhibition, Order’s Up! Paterson and the Rise of the New Jersey Diner, which runs through September 23. The exhibit and focuses on Paterson’s contributions to New Jersey’s diner legacy, including Silk City Diners and the Hot Texas Weiner, and features landmark diners throughout the Garden State.

Admission to the the exhibit, including the August 5 program, is free, and the public is cordially invited to attend. Following the presentation, copies of both of Gabriele’s diner books will be available for purchase and signing.

Author Michael Gabriele
Author Michael Gabriele

New Jersey is the diner capital of the world for two reasons: First, it has more diners (around 500) than any other state. And second, during the 20th century it was the diner manufacturing capital of the world, serving as the home base for diner builders such as O’Mahony, Kullman, Silk City, Fodero, Paramount, Mountain View, Master, Manno, Swingle, and others.

The History of NJ Diners

Gabriele, who co-curated the museum’s exhibit, is a lifelong Garden State resident. A 1975 graduate of Montclair State University, he has worked as an author, journalist, and freelance writer for more than 40 years.

Event and Exhibit Details

The Paterson Museum
2 Market Street (corner of Market and Spruce)
Paterson, NJ

A Roadmap to the Diner Capital of the World
Saturday, August 5, 1 p.m

Order’s Up! Paterson and the Rise of the New Jersey Diner
Runs through September 23

For more information about this event, call Heather Garside, the museum’s curator of history, at (973) 321-1260 or visit the museum’s website.