Skip to content
Nov 16 / admin

Moveable Feast

Not exactly the Empire Diner in NYC, but last weekend I pass this vintage stainless steel diner on the drive down US 23 into Columbus, Ohio (above middle–formerly Famous Jack’s Diner from Columbus itself, before being dropped outside the city in Delaware, wandering as these pre-fab classics often do). And the next night in the city, I come upon the White Castle Systems Inc./Porcelain Steel Building Co. headquarters building (top), evoking the same old diners with its retro tiled steel facade. Turns out the Castle is credited with being among the pioneers of using pre-fab tile-over-steel construction (outside of diners) in its restaurant concept, the most notable example being Building 8 in Minneapolis (bottom right), which was also moved once. White Castle may not be a name that jumps to mind when ruminating on design or architecture, orĀ  really style of any kind…but I give it credit for re-introducing me to one of my first vintage loves this weekend. My vintage tastes may have changed a lot, but what kid doesn’t love the high color, shine, and shapeliness of a diner, and without knowing a lick of its deco design influence or 50s cultural heritage. That leads me to an homage to our own humble local specimen of the steel pre-fab below, the Fleetwood Diner of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Leave a comment