If you ever happen to be in or near Gardiner, Maine, make plans to enjoy a meal at the A1 Diner. It is located at 3 Bridge St. My husband and I were lucky enough to be spending some time with good friends who have a cottage in the area and they suggested having breakfast at the diner. I was reticent because I am not a huge fan of diner style food. Well, I am glad I went along with the crowd. The whole experience was wonderful.
The place was bustling. The two men I saw working were very pleasant, even through the obvious intensity of the pace they were keeping. I think one of them was the cook/ owner. The diner itself was like stepping back in time. I did not mind the fact that we were not served right away because I just wanted time to take it all in.
The shape of the building was similar to that of an old train car. There was a combination of dark wood, stainless steal, and tile. The buzz of the conversation was steady and so were the clinks of the dishes and silverware.
Everyone seemed to know each other. The meals that I saw coming out of the square hole in the wall behind the counter, looked wonderful and smelled even better.
The food did not disappoint . My blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup, were delicious. My husband and our friends loved their food, especially the hash and the good coffee.
When I asked the owner if he had any history on the diner, he gladly presented me with a copy of a newspaper article and a book written about the diner; A1 Diner: Real Food, Recipes, and Recollections by Sarah Rolph. (//www.sarahrolph.com/a1diner.html) It was very interesting to learn that the Diner car was manufactured in Worcester, MA by the Worcester Lunch Car Company. This is very close to where I live in Massachusetts. The company manufactured over 600 diners from 1906 to 1957. Many are still in use today. This one has been at this location since 1946.
Speaking of location, the diner car was placed in front of another building on steal stilts along side a bridge. The kitchen is now in the building behind the diner car. Outside in the parking lot below, there was a pole that marked the height the water had reached in floods in the past. It was pretty impressive to see how high the water has gotten. It's a good thing the diner is on stilts well above above the highest reached water level.
A beautiful family of six girls and their mom, enjoying their breakfast.
I forgot to sign my credit card receipt, so I stopped back in. I'm glad I did, I was able to get this picture- the calm after the storm. A1 Diner, I'll be back!
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.