Abandoned Rosie’s Diner

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.

12 thoughts on “Abandoned Rosie’s Diner”

  1. We drive by that all the time it seems if owners really cared about it and wanted people to see it they would keep it up not let it get as bad as it is

  2. Probably pretty expensive to keep it up! Sounds like various people and firms have tried to make it pay over the years.

  3. If this is the place I know, I’ve eaten there in the 90’s and it was fabulous. Great people too. I’m sure it’s demise was being located out of the way.

  4. Well Dan don’t you think that if they had the money to keep it up then they would have kept it up???

  5. I just want to cry. What a beautiful place to just let it go back to the good Earth it came from. If I lived closer I would definitely have tried to relocate the diner to a better and more profitable location. I love good diner fare, a rare find in Florida, but would be 300 lbs if I owned or lived near one!

  6. Aaron Koen, the current owner, knows that he’s a poor steward of it, but won’t sell it unless he gets mega-bucks. It’s gotten so bad I’m afraid it’ll be too far gone by the time he finally lets it go for what someone could actually afford to buy it for. He already sold the naming rights to some chain out of Colorado and reportedly won’t even sell the iconic neon sign with the building were he actually get someone to bite on it. We sit across the street at cars shows each Thursday all summer long and wonder about how It’s a downright shame to see such an iconic place rot away all for the sake of greed.

  7. It’s a shame that holding out for the “big bucks” will be the ultimate demise of this lovely piece of history. There’s a point of no return in hanging on to a deteriorating investment, and just selling it for the best offer I would think would be the smart thing to do. I don’t understand the logic behind this kind of thinking other than he must be getting tax breaks that make it worth it to hang on and let it go to ruins.

  8. Seeing this article brings me so much heartache. My mom, who is no longer with us, loved to take my sister and I here all of the time…We literally grew up here. I can remember the long drive there from Grand Rapids, along tree lined roads dotted with this little town or that, nestled beside her or my grandparents. We’d pull in the parking lot, hot summer day or dead of winter it didn’t matter, and be filled with excitement to the point we couldn’t even wait for the car to stop.

    The neon lights around the trim of the diner would call to us, and the best smells flooded out to the wild outdoors and away into the surrounding pine trees. The tall, heavy, glass and metal doors opened into a bustling room full of stainless steel and a hot-pink neon clock staring you dead in the eye. The wretched red, half moon booths were terrible to slide your bare legs across, yet we did it gladly knowing patty melts and the chocolate-est chocolate milkshakes awaited us with their long spoons, whip cream and cherry…and that frosted metal cup with nearly a whole other shake in it. Mmmm

    Rosie’s smelled old, from a time long ago when my mom’s childhood would have held wonder and joy of exciting new places. It was the place families gathered and friends made memories, and where the mini golf course had challenges made out of a giant fried egg, or hilly strips of bacon, or a towering stack of pancakes loaded with melting butter. I never saw anyone actually playing mini-golf on that course…What a tragedy?!

    As years passed, and we grew older, you could physically see the pain Rosie was in with paint chipping off the mini course, the booths looking slightly tired, and the addition of the building to the left of Rosie’s after the artist took it over. My sister and I met the artist once…strange man and stranger art, dirty and moth-eaten, but kind and loved to talk about his art. He loved Rosie’s too. He talked about it as he might have talked about his first born child.

    I’d say I was sorry for reminiscing so openly, but I’m 42 and this was and is more than just a special place in my heart. It was visit after visit, over my whole life, spent with sososo many of my loved ones who are now gone…to see her like this feels like I’m losing one more. Ridiculous I know, but the pictures really cut me to my soul.

    Oh Rosie, I so wish I had the money to bring all of my past memories of you to the current generation. They need your nostalgia, and a reminder of a simpler and more innocent time. I cannot believe this is what you’ve become…a place time forgot and people stopped taking care of. So extremely saddening. Till we meet again, dear old friend. ❤️XOXO❤️

  9. This is a tragedy. Heartbreaking. Shocking. A Paramount diner is the Cadillac of diners.
    My dream was to open a diner. I spent two weeks visiting diners in NJ and PA in the early 1990’s. I found a old Paramount in a field. It was to far gone.
    I also made the drive to Rosie’s. This is when it was not operational as a diner.
    My dream never came true for lack of funds.
    If the owner of this diner reads this, I implore you to sell this beautiful piece of history to someone that has the funds to restore it to its former glory. This is a part of our American history rotting away. Allow the new owner to use the Rosie sign. The sign is as much a part of this beautiful diner as all of its beautiful stainless steel.
    Many times doing the right thing means making sacrifices. Living with the knowledge that you allowed this to happen, is it worth carrying that weight for the remainder of your life.
    Here’s hoping you have a good heart to heart talk with yourself and come to the conclusion it is not.
    Best, Victoria

  10. I personally believe it needs to be restored as the historic landmark that it is. Turn it into a museum of sorts and let people see the beauty the roadside diner was back in the day. To let it rot into the ground is a travesty. Why doesn’t the Cedar Rock people restore it or the owner . Honor the History!

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