While on a road trip with Freaktography, I had the opportunity to explore the Abandoned Rosie's Diner! Built in 1946 by the Paramount Dining Car Company, Silver Dollar Diner opened its door in Little Ferry, New Jersey. The diner was used as a filming location for many commercials most notably by the Bounty Paper Towel Company. Both Sanka & Pepsi both filmed commercials at the diner however the real fame & notoriety came from the Bounty commercials. Bounty loved the location so much that they filmed multiple commercials there all featuring a fictional waitress name Rosie.
It was during the 1970’s when the Bounty commercials were filmed & the simple storyline was around clumsy customers who would spill their drinks. Rosie the waitress would come to their aid & wipe up the mess with the paper towel stating it was the “quicker picker upper!” which is a well-known phrase to this day. This was also when the diner was renamed to Rosie’s!
For two decades Nancy starred in the bounty commercials however after the 1970’s they were filmed in a studio rather than the original diner. Other companies who had used the diner for advertisement included both Sony & Ethan Allen Furniture. After not only serving the community for 45 year, the greasy spoon as it was affectionately known, was put up for sale in 1990. Before it was put up for sale, the owner, Ralph Corrado Jr, offered the “Most Famous Diner in America” to the Smithsonian Institution however they rejected it so the diner was up for grab.
It was then that Jerry Berta, an artist who produced ceramic replicas of classic diners & had always been inspired by Rosie’s, caught wind of it being put up for sale. Jerry had previously owned a dining car quickly purchased his inspiration & moved it to its current location in Michigan. The diner was cut in half just a week after it closed & loaded on to flatbed trucks for the relocation. The diner reopened in July of 1991.
In 1994 Jerry decided to expand on the diner & purchased a 1952 Silk City Car & moved it from New York to Michigan. The he built a reproduction car onsite. The location became known as Dinerland & featured a diner art gallery & a 3.5 acre food themed mini putt course out back!
In 2006 the diner changed hands again & was now owned by Jonelle & Randy Rosette who made some major changes to Dinerland. The Silk City car was converted into a sports bar & the Mahoney into a seasonal ice cream shop however the mini putt never reopened. The diner was featured in the television series Diners Drive-ins & Dives in 2006 as well as Diners Paradise.
In 2011 Rosie’s closed down with no hopes of reopening. The property was sold at auction to the owner of a nearby Chevrolet dealership for $125,000. Although the diner never re-opened, the man who purchased in offered tours during car shows held in the large lot out front.
In 2018 the owner was working with a nonprofit organization in hopes of restoring the diner & other buildings however it seems those plans have fallen apart. Today the Abandoned Rosie’s Diner is in rough shape & only getting worse as water continues to make its way inside. Floors in some areas are so bad I was unable to safely navigate around out of fearing of falling through the floor. It’s sad to see a beautiful piece of history just rotting away like this.
**UPDATE** As of January 2024, the diner was bought by a Missouri couple who plan on moving it back to their home state where they will restore the diner! They purchased all three diner cars & will be selling on, & keeping the other to including Rosie's & the ice cream parlor.