Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Historic Newark Diner Shuffling Off to Buffalo

It’s been on television, appearing in the soap opera series “General Hospital” in 1993, and now Newark Diner on East Union Street is moving on to a new location and a new life. It began its 75+ year stint in Newark as Scofield’s Diner, first owned by the Scofield family in conjunction with their Buick automobile dealership.

Second owner, John Reynolds, sold it to Jim McBride in 1985, who owned it until recently. McBride and wife Betty ran the diner as a family-owned business, employing their children and grandchildren. McBride also expanded the menu to include 23 varieties of omelets and unusual entrees such as Chipped Beef, Dutch Lettuce and their version of Trash Plate. McBride, formerly of Rochester, had worked in the food industry as Operations Manager of Loblaw’s in Syracuse and then owned and operated Bell’s in Newark until his retirement.

McBride said the best part of having the diner was the clientele. “I made many friends in the diner, had a lot of loyal customers and met people from all over the country, many of whom came on the Erie Canal. The worst part was the time we had to spend here – seven 16-hour days a week including holidays. People expected us to be open.”

Preparations began on Monday, May 6 and by Wednesday, May 8, the landmark 1937 Sterling Diner was prepped and loaded onto a tractor-trailer owned by M & M Leasing & Rigging of Lancaster, PA. By 8:00 a m Thursday, May 9, Newark Diner was on its way to Cleveland, OH to be refurbished at Diversified Diners, a small company specializing in diner restoration. More information about the company is online at www.oh-diners.com

Graf Excavating of Newark, which removed the rear addition will backfill and grade the site. According to McBride, who served 4 years as Newark Village Trustee and has been on the Planning Board for 6 years, Rochester Properties purchased the land with the likelihood that Dunkin Donuts will expand their parking area there.

The diner was built by J. B. Judkins Co. of Merrimac, MA, a company known for building custom car bodies during the 20’s and 30’s for Lincoln and Rolls-Royce of America. Like all Sterling diners, this one was made in 4-foot sections and bolted together on location, and at 50 feet was one of the longer diners built by the company before it closed in 1942.

Steve Savidge of Cityview Construction Mgt, representing the buyer, Larkin Development Group, said the diner will be in Cleveland 8 – 12 months and then moved to its new location at Larkin Square in Buffalo. Larkin Square is a multi-purpose public square featuring casual indoor and outdoor dining options such as a sandwich facility in a renovated 1964 Airstream trailer and a restaurant in a vintage filling station. More information about Larkin Square can be found at www.larkinsquare.com

After visiting Larkin Square McBride is convinced it will be a win-win; good for Buffalo and good for the diner. “It’s sad to see it leave, but maybe this way they’ll get another 75 years out of it,” he said. by Beth Hoad