Our recent weekend road trip to Wolfeboro, NH, took us past a diner we had bypassed earlier when there wasn't time to stop. This time we made it the destination and stopped for breakfast on our way back to Nashua, NH.
The 104 Diner is in New Hampton, NH, and actually located on Route 104. It's vintage looking with silver chrome, Coke signs and large working clock.
The 104 diner car dates to 1957 as WLC#850 and was the last one built by the Worcester Lunch Car Company. The company was started in 1906 by Thomas Buckley in Worcester, MA. Buckley found that designing and manufacturing lunch cars was more profitable than running one.
When completed, WLC #850 was delivered to Lloyd Hopkins on Hartford Ave in Johnston, RI, and operated it as Lloyd's Diner for 31 years. Like many diners, it was family-owned during that time. Lloyd and Lorraine Hopkins operated it until 1980, then their daughter, Jean Arcand, took over and ran it until its closing in 1988.
After it closed, the diner was moved to South Weymouth, MA, and in 1989 became part of Sh-Boom Dance Club. Its time there was short-lived when Sh-Booms closed and in 1990 the diner again was moved to a storage yard in Natick. MA where it awaited a possible sale to the Fat Boy's diner chain in England.
When that deal fell through, the diner was sold to Alexis Stewart (Martha's daughter) who had the diner transported to Bridgehampton, NY on Long Island. She planned to set it up as the Delish Diner. The town fathers hemmed and hawed and dragged their feet before finally nixing the project.
Once again, the diner sat unused, this time in a field for 2 years. In 1994, Robert and Gloria Merrill purchased it from Ms. Stewart and relocated it to its present site in New Hampton, NH. The new owners were not diner "newbies" and had operated Glory Jean’s Diner in Rumney, NH, later selling it to operate another business. The doors to Bobby's Girl Diner opened in 1994. In 2003, the Merrills sold the diner to Ron and Mary Elliard.
After 7 years in business, the Elliards cited zoning changes as the reason they could no longer afford to operate the business and Bobby's Girl Diner was put up for auction. The 3,100 square-foot restaurant and 12-acre property sold for $310,000 and were purchased by Alex Ray and a partner who opened it as the 104 Diner in 2009. It's now part of The Common Man family of restaurants based entirely in NH.
We're glad we (finally) stopped at the 104 Diner and plan to return again when in the area. Our home state of NJ is known as the diner capital of the world and was once home to the biggest diner manufacturer in the world. The Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company of Elizabeth, NJ, was estimated to have produced 2,000 diners from 1917 to 1941.