Classic roadside diner finds new home at Angie's List

February 3, 2011
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Angies List classic dinerThere's a new landmark at the Angie's List campus just east of downtown: A restored 1937 diner that served up greasy delights at a prominent corner in Cleveland in the 1940s and 1950s. Angie's List co-founder Bill Oesterle bought the classic diner to provide his staff with more lunch-time options and to help satisfy his need to restore old things, said Angie's List spokeswoman Cheryl Reed. He bought it from an Ohio company called Diversified Diners, which restored the exterior over several years. Angie's List has been working on the interior in a project that began when the diner arrived in November. The 33-seat diner, now dubbed The Sanitary Diner, was built by the Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company of New Jersey in 1937, and carries serial number 1121. It measures 48-feet long by 10-feet wide. It was once part of the American Diners chain, sitting at the corner of Euclid Avenue and 71st Street in Cleveland from 1941 to 1958, before a new owner moved it by train to Pennsylvania. For more on the American Diner's history and to check out before-and-after photos of the renovation, visit the Diversified Diners website. Angie's List plans to open the diner to the public if it can secure the necessary permits. (Staff photo / Perry Reichanadter)

  • Would it have made sense to have restored the diner on us 40 or is it still endangered?
  • It's all in the name
    "The Sanitary Diner"? That's a temporary moniker I hope. I would expect any eatery to be "free of filth and pathogens", so advertising it as such is not very effective advertising.
  • Use Local Resources First?
    I agree with the first post. My first thought when I saw the title was that Angie's List stepped up and took on the diner on US 40. How disappointed I was to see they instead purchased one from Cleveland. I wonder why they wouldn't snag the local diner with local history first? Seems to be a better corporate decision to support this community; but, perhaps there are other reasons?
  • More on the name
    Here's an update from Cheryl Reed of Angie's List, explaining the story behind the diner's name:

    The name is actually an homage to time when this and other diners like it were open across the country. In the early part of the 1900s, most states had established health departments and they were focused on trying to obliterate infectious diseases. That work led to a public awareness and call for better hygiene in all kinds of areas, so the word “sanitary” became sort of a positive marketing term. While we expect sanitary conditions today, and the law demands it, that kind of focus was just beginning back then. There were a lot of restaurants, diners and other types of eateries with the word “sanitary” or “clean” in their names. For anyone interested in diner lore, here's a good site:
    • Conotations today
      Thanks for the explanation, Cory. I am aware of the early 20th century eateries and the need to dispel perceptions of unsanitary conditions or the questionable origins of meat (hence, the name "White" Castle), but I don't think the intended homage will succeed in this case. For me the word "sanitary" as a descriptor is most immediately associated with "landfill" and "napkin"... Neither conotation appeals to my appetite.
    • maybe...
      Maybe the diner on US 40 isn't available and first and foremost the intent of this diner is for the employees of Angies list. I think Bill's Diner would have been great.
    • another one ...
      You'll find the sign for another "Sanitary Diner" on a historic storefront on Ind. 26 in downtown Rossville, Indiana. Always good for a chuckle as we pass on the drive from Kokomo to Lafayete.
    • US 40 Diner
      It would not make sense to go after the US 40 Diner because it is way overpriced. The owner is selling it high based on the projected land value being in the path of Airport related and Reagan Parkway development. The Diner is an afterthought not the main reason for the sale.
    • Property lines or food lines?
      Is it just me or is property lines now only about restaurant roundups? Cory needs to get his mind back on development
    • Congratulations to Bill O.
      This announcement brought a smile to my face. Many thanks to Bill Oesterle for all his contributions to the community! Randy Shepard

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