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Bridgeville Delaware Diner – Then and Now

Posted on: December 30, 2012


It’s a chilly weekend here in Delaware, making Mod Betty want to stay inside where it’s not so blustery, instead of heading out doing some Retro Roadmap discoverin’. Luckily I’ve got some vintage Delaware places and spaces tucked away in my archives, just ready for sharing, like this “Before and After” shot of the Bridgeville Diner.

As soon as my roadpal Spencer Stewart posted this photo on his Diner Hunter Facebook Page I  recognized it immediately as the Bridgeville Diner in Bridgeville DE,  located at the crossroads of Route 13 and 404. For those who keep score, this is a 1940s era O’Mahony built diner.

1980 Bridgeville Delaware Diner Vintage Photo DinerHunter

1980 Bridgeville Delaware Diner Photo by Rita Cacas, courtesy of  DinerHunter.com

This great shot, replete with vintage Studebaker car, gas station and even a billboard touting the wonders of Rapa Scrapple (a local “delicacy) looks like a collage of vintage wonderfulness to me! Since I need little more than that as an excuse to scout a vintage diner, I made a point to stop and snap a photo the next time we were in Sussex County to see how the befores and afters compared. Alas to me there was no comparison, and the older shot wins out.

Old Bridgeville Diner Sign

The Bridgeville Diner has been closed for as long as I can remember, but I do recall eating there once en route to a gig in DC from Rehoboth Beach, with the memories of a satisfying bowl of bean and bacon soup still lingering. The last time we swung by long enough to snap a photo was in July of 2007, and my recent trip there showed it, alas, still boarded up and looking for a buyer.

Matching up!

While the diner was still there, many things have been changed about that intersection where the Amoco station once sat. The road has been rerouted around the diner, leading people to either Jimmy’s or Sonic, or some other chain restaurant option. There was no evidence of the scrapple sign, though we did later locate the Rapa Scrapple factory down the road in Bridgeville proper. And while the Retro Roadmobile gets points for fuel efficiency, I don’t think it will ever look as iconic as that fab mint green car in the older photo.

Bridgeville Diner & Retro Roadmobile

The interior definitely needs some loving, especially when compared to the livelier photos captured here on the Diner Hunter site.
Interior of Closed Diner

I don’t know the story behind why this vintage diner hasn’t been plucked up, as it is such an eye catching sight as you’re flying down the highway en route to Maryland. But we all know how these things go, nothing as as simple as it appears on the surface. For now I’ll just be glad that the diner is there and not demolished, like the now-gone fab neon sign that once boldly announced the diner’s presence on the north south highway.

Bridgeville Delaware Diner Neon Sign

Bridgeville Delaware Diner Neon Sign 1980 photo by Susan Hormouth, courtesy of DinerHunter.com

Not wanting to leave us all bummed out however, I did discover an actual working vintage diner down the road – stay tuned for happier Retro Roadmap news from the Diamond State!

  • matt smallwood

    The fab mint green car is a Studebaker, I think, Beth …..:-) Which brings me to something for your camping/Scotty towing needs. At least, I thought. Post a pic of my idea on the FB page shortly….

    • http://retroroadmap.com Mod Betty

      Just saw the picture you posted on the Retro Roadmap FB page – so tempting!

  • George

    I want first dibs on the Camaro in the last pic. If not, I’ll take the Chevy pickup!

    • http://retroroadmap.com Mod Betty

      I’ve got my eye on the Studebaker for sure – that mint green is a Mod Betty vintage car favorite!

  • http://ancramdaleny.blogspot.com/ road_maven

    You are right, Matt. That is a Studebaker Lark, the first American compact car built from 1959 to 66 or so. Happy New Year to all…

    RM

    • http://retroroadmap.com Mod Betty

      And Happy New Year right back at you PC! How nice it was to have met you and Candi this year!