Transported diner finds a home in Jessup

Patrons: The husband-and-wife owners appreciate their customers and the chance to "yak about our families."

Restaurant profile

November 22, 2001|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Old-time diner enthusiasts will note the plate over the door to the kitchen that proclaims that Frank's Diner was manufactured in 1959 by Kullman. But most people will probably just note the authentic late '50s decor, from the stainless steel exterior and large glass windows to the original clay red terrazzo floors.

The 98-seat dining car, which originally was part of the Olympia Diner in Carney's Point, N.H., was moved to Maryland in January 1995 by Frank and Linda Davis, owners of Frank's Diner.

"Our Realtor found the old dining car near Atlantic City, where he goes up frequently," Linda Davis said. "It was standing empty for 15 years, but they really took good care of it, and it was in great shape."

The dining car was lifted off its original foundation and trucked down to its current location, off U.S. 1 in Jessup. "It really went quite smoothly - like clockwork," Davis said. "But it took over a year before moving the diner car down to Maryland just to get through the permit stage and all the paperwork."

While the Davises welcome diner enthusiasts, they especially appreciate their local customers. "We like getting to meet so many nice people, especially our regular customers, who feel at home here," Linda Davis said. "They want us to come over to their table and yak about our families - it's really nice to see their kids grow up over the years."

Frank's breakfast menu offers everything from three-egg omelets (plain, cheese, western, ham and cheese, bacon and cheese, mushroom, Spanish and turkey) to sweet breakfast standards, such as buttermilk pancakes, French toast and waffles. And if you're looking for old-time favorites, you can choose from items such as an egg and scrapple sandwich, chipped beef on a biscuit and grits.

For lunch and dinner, customers can choose from tradition diner sandwich offerings such as turkey, tuna, chicken, ham and cheese, and hamburger melt, Rueben, grilled cheese, chicken salad and tuna. Club sandwiches, such as BLT, ham, and turkey and ham, are on the menu, too.

Spaghetti and meatballs is served with a slice of garlic bread.

Like other kid-friendly restaurants, a children's menu offers grilled hamburgers or franks, chicken strips and grilled cheese sandwich, all served with a soda and french fries.

"We're open Thanksgiving Day," Frank Davis said. "And we're serving up some specials, such as our roast turkey dinner, baked smoked ham dinner or fresh pork roast dinner."

These Thanksgiving specials come with a shrimp appetizer, choice of soups, choice of vegetables and potatoes, and bread.

While they chose the U.S. 1 location based on their own economics - "there's only so many places we could afford to buy land in Howard County" - Linda Davis said she and her husband are looking forward to the revitalization of the U.S. 1 corridor.

"It'll be really nice to be part of the upcoming changes," she said. "Frank's Diner really fits into Route 1's future while recalling its past as a traditional diner."

Frank's Diner

Where: 7395 Cedar Ave., Jessup; 410-799-9925.

Prices: Breakfast, $2.99 to $13.99; lunch/dinner, $2.99 to $17.

Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.

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