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Frazer Diner, Malvern PA – Unaltered 1930s Diner Malvern, PA

Posted on: July 11, 2010


Frazer Diner, Malvern PA – Unaltered 1930s Diner

189 Lancaster Ave Malvern, PA 19355

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Friends, your pal Mod Betty totally has a permanent case of wanderlust. Knowing that if we left the house today to have breakfast at the Frazer diner down the street in Malvern PA, I may not want to come back to the garage cleaning, laundering, floor washing waiting for us back home, I’m determined to stay put for at least a good portion of this beautiful Sunday. But I do recommend that you visit the Frazer diner  when you’re driving down Route 30  looking for an authentic diner breakfast, surrounded by a well preserved vintage diner interior.

Frazer Diner

According to that handy reference “Diners of Pennsylvania” (written by Lincoln Highway Scholar Brian Butko and Kevin Patrick) The Frazer Diner was established in 1929 and built by the Jerry O’Mahony Co, and is currently the only remaining example of an unaltered 1930s O’Mahoney diner. And wow, is the interior nice. The clock even works!

Frazer Diner Clock

I have a personal fondness for the Frazer Diner as Retro Roadsis and I ate here on a Boston to Lancaster road trip back in 1999. In Lancaster I was re-introduced to the musician who would later be known to you folks as Retro Roadhusband, and he and I now happily live within 15 minutes of this classic diner. I’ve got a picture of me in front of the diner from back then – I promise to post – and just so funny to think that when I was eating breakfast at the counter there all those years ago, I had no idea that my life would be so changed by that roadtrip and that I’d be living so close to  that diner, married to that guitar player. Cool stuff, in my book!

Frazer Diner Counter

Retro Roadhusband and I ate there late last November, when I snapped these photos. As you folks will know, I take pains to ensure that people don’t appear in most of my photos, but was still a bit shaken when I was reprimanded by the waitress for taking photos. Determined to work through that, I approached her after we had eaten and since we were one of the last couples in the diner, asked if I could snap a few shots, making sure that no people were in them, and she gave that the OK, explaining that some folks don’t like to get their pictures taken. (Like she has to tell me- I don’t like getting my picture taken at all!)

Frazer Diner FridgeOh, and don’t feel too bad for us slaving away at the Hacienda all day, the carrot in front of our nose is a trip to Shankweiler’s Drive In tonight, and they are America’s oldest drive in movie theatre.  What did I tell you? Glad my wanderlust is good for Retro Roadmap!

Update: I found the photo of me in front of the Frazer Diner 10 years ago en route to see RetroRoadhusband:

Frazer Diner 1999

(I’ve tried to move the offical Google Map Marker for the diner, as its placement was wrong, but you can’t go wrong following the official Pennsylvania Retro Roadmap directions!)

Frazer Diner on Urbanspoon

  • http://eccentricroadside.blogspot.com Gunnar

    Whenever I ask if can take pictures somewhere, the answer is invariably no, so I’ve stopped asking. I just try to be really, really quick about it with my point-n-shoot. (I did get pretty badly reprimanded for taking pics of a flight attendant giving emergency directions as a flight was taxiing on the tarmac. I didn’t mean any harm and wanted to document every second of the trip, but it really freaked out the attendant and she even told the pilot!)

    • http://www.RetroRoadmap.com Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap

      Gunnar- If it weren’t for discreet point and shoot photographing you would not see ANY interior shots on Retro Roadmap, I follow the same process as you do a lot of the time. I’ve actually found that it helps to get better shots to use a point and shoot than to “scare” people with a big 35mm camera. I also on purpose will put my camera on the table or whatnot when I’m in a diner, so folks know I have it. So far so good!

  • http://burgatory.com Marc Sanders

    I remember eating here as a kid with my aunt when it was Lin’s(?), a Thai restaurant. Eventually they moved down the street, not sure if they are still there. I think I have a soft spot for Asian food served in a diner, Chung Sing in Ardmore is a frequent lunch spot.

    • http://www.RetroRoadmap.com Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap

      I never knew it was a Thai resto, but have noticed in my diner travels a number of vintage diners that have been modified to Asian cuisine- Chung Sing for sure, and there’s one I remember driving by in Springfield MA that had the unfortunate luck of having its stainless steel being painted red and yellow stripes for the Chinese restaurant. yikes!

  • beth

    LOVE the Frazer Diner. Jonah and I lived in Malvern for a year and we ate there all the time.

    • http://www.RetroRoadmap.com Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap

      And I didn’t even know that area was officially called Malvern ’til I did this writeup! No wonder it was hard to find Frazer on the map :-)

  • neil perone

    this frazer diner is unbelievable, just beautiful . i only wish it was 15 minutes from my house.

    • http://www.RetroRoadmap.com Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com

      We definitely are lucky that it’s near us!

  • http://www.Normanssigngarden.mysite.com Norm James

    I was in Frazer Pa last Tues-Wed, Oct 12th and 13th for a seminar. I ditched the free breakfast at the Holiday Inn I was at up the street. I saw the diner when I arrived Tuesday. I allowed myself a good 45-minute, pre-dawn visit. I’m not sure what I learned at the seminars, but I certainly learned of a great pre-50′s diner to visit again!

    • http://www.RetroRoadmap.com Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com

      Norm- always a thrill to hear someone has checked out a Retro Roadmap place when they’re traveling, as that’s one of the main reasons for the map. And from the looks of your site it appears you have quite the sign collection – that too is right up Retro Roadmap Alley. Thanks for swinging by, and welcome to the neighborhood!

  • Rich and Bert Livingston

    My wife and I did live 15 minutes from the Frazer Diner (Exton, PA) – but, we retired and moved to Florida last January.

    We were regulars at the diner one or more times a week – and always on Saturday or Sunday.

    The food was tasty and inexpensive. The owners and waitresses were regulars and we got to know them all.

    We haven’t found quite the same atmosphere where we now live (Southwest Florida) but, we’re still looking.

    History, good food, friendly people. It doesn’t get better than that.

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  • Don Coggins

    Great place to eat and meet old friends.Sit at the counter and meet new people everyday and see the evry day regulars.I try to have breakfast at least three days a week.
    Don Coggins
    Berwyn,Pa

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