The Garden State is universally recognized as the “Diner Capital of the World.” How and why did we earn that distinction? In Michael Gabriele’s new book, The History of Diners in New Jersey, the author explains how location, transportation and dense population created the perfect environment for a thriving diner industry.
Gabriele’s book takes us back to the early days of lunch wagons and diners, providing detailed information, first-hand interviews, context and perspective. The book gathers important pieces of the historical puzzle (people, events, places, dates, facts and figures) and assembles them into a cohesive narrative that traces New Jersey’s diner history. The tome is lavishly illustrated with over 75 photos (many taken by the author), along with scans of vintage postcards, rare photo prints, technical illustrations and a special eight-page color insert.
Along with profiles of memorable, vintage diners and the people who owned them, the book pays tribute to the independent diner manufacturing companies that were based here in New Jersey. New Jersey was the hub for diner production during the 20th century. Today the Garden State’s diner manufacturing sector is virtually extinct—a forgotten chapter of New Jersey’s history.
A lifelong New Jersey resident, Gabriele has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is a 1975 graduate of Montclair State University; a member of the executive board of the Nutley Historical Society; and serves on the advisory board of the Clifton Arts Center.
Meet the Author this Sunday at Bookends bookstore, 211 E. Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood, during the annual Ridgewood Fall Arts and Craft Street Fair to unveil his new book, The History of Diners in New Jersey. The street fair runs from noon to 5 p.m. Call Bookends at (201) 445-0726 for more information.