AIR Decay :: Poirier Diner
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Photos 1-5 by Greg Anderson. The Sandwich Factory, 1981 courtesy Larry Cultrera.
Poirier’s Diner formerly El Faro / Krystal’s Diner

Recent Links

GCPVDs coverage of the diner


The diner was originally going to be made into scrap by Feldco as they redeveloped Eagle Square, but members of the American Diner Museum volunteered to help take it off their hands intact. After being posted on their website, they found a buyer. It was moved intact from its original site in on Atwells Avenue to a site on Westminister street behind the Lois Fuller restaurant.

It’s been several years since it was first moved (2002) and it still lays under wraps in the parking lot. Perhaps eventually it will become another Mike Sears restaurant? We’d love to see this diner moved from the Urban Decay section and into the Redeveloped section.


From Larry Cultrera and the Diner Hotline

...Originally known as Poirier’s Diner and later operating under names such as El Faro, Arnold’s Diner, the Top Hat Diner and when I first photographed it sometime between November 29, 1980 and the start of my Diner log July 28, 1981 it was called The Sandwich Factory. This diner according to reports is a 1946 Kullman Diner and was located at 581 Atwells Avenue in Providence (it’s only operating location) prior to being moved into storage a number of years ago and restored. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

From Gregg Anderson and the Diner Museum

Poirier’s Diner (original owner) is a classic example of the 1947 Kullman “Challenger Model” diner unit with glass brick flanking the front doors and corners and exterior blue fluted porcelain enamel panels.

Original seating accommodated approximately 58 customers with 36 booth seats and 22 counter stools. The diner contains original tile floors, walls, and counter apron, porcelain clad sheet metal ceiling panels (light blue and cream). The interior and exterior porcelain enamel has been painted with white latex house paint. Many of the original stools remain as well as sections of the back bar, grill hood and stainless steel refrigerator. All booth seating is included but the original table tops and legs are missing.

Poirier’s Diner is a prefabricated dining car, manufactured in 1947 by the Kullman Dining Car Company of New Jersey, still in operation today as Kullman Industries. Poirier’s is one of only two intact Kullmans in Rhode Island; the other is the Silver Top Diner, now (decaying) in Pawtucket.

Poirier’s is a Challenger model built with a wood and steel frame. It has a Moderne design, with characteristic streamlined design and industrial materials. The exterior features porcelain enamel panels, rounded glass-block corners, stainless steel trim, and steel-framed windows, topped by a monitor roof. Inside, similar materials reappear – porcelain enamel panels and stainless steel panels and furniture – complemented with ceramic tile, mirrored glass, stainless steel stools, and Formica countertops.

In 1947, Kullman shipped the diner from New Jersey to 579-581 Atwells Avenue, near the corner of Eagle Street in Providence. Joseph A. Poirier Jr. operated the diner from 1947 to 1955, when it came under a rapid succession of owners. A new chapter began in 1961, when new owners renamed the facility “Squire’s Diner.” More changes in name and ownership took place over the following decades as “Squire’s” gave way to “Arnold’s Diner,” the “Top Hat,” “Krystal’s,” and ultimately “El Faro,” and the list of owners reflected the changing ethnic makeup of the city. In 2002, the diner was moved to its present location on Westminster Street, where its owner intends to restore it and return it to use as a restaurant.

Jon Sep 26 2013 At long last, as of this morning, the diner is open for business… Stop in and take a look…

Mark Sawtelle Apr 16 2013 My wife’s family lived up the hill since the 1940s, so she sometimes went here. We lived there in the early 1980s, when I took this shot:

Ann Paniccia Dec 5 2012 I grew up on Valley St. and even when I was young, I was always interested in Diners. Now as an adult and with the help of FB I couldn’t remember the name of the diner I went by many times, Squire’s. It turned into a trivia question with so many people I came in contact with. Looking forward to the diner re-opening on Westminster St. A big part of Providence’s history! Best of luck!

Jon Oct 8 2012 Okay, it’s taking a little longer than expected, but come on by to take a look, we’re probably only a few weeks away from completion. Hoping to be open by Christmas / New Years...

Jon Jan 1 2012 We’re making good progress, hope to see it open by Summer, 2012.

Len Dec 13 2011 Great update to this story

Krystal Oct 16 2010 My name is Krystal and I ran the diner when it was Krystal’s Diner. I had alot of fun running that diner, met alot of people and enjoyed cooking for them. I hope to see it restored and put back into operation. I would love to visit that place again I have alot of memories of being their.

JoalAnn Poirier Budday Jul 1 2010 My father owned and operated the Poirier Diner, He was also the Chef. People came to enjoy his food and especially his pies. My oldest brother Kenneth S. Poirier worked along side my father in the diner. I have family photos of my family in the diner. My Mother is 97 and is still living and can recall so many people and things that occurred in the diner. I would love to see the diner restored to its original condition to keep alive that part of history in Rhode Island.

Jon I hope to have the Diner moved to a new location nearby on Westminster Street and restored over the Fall and Winter of 2010-11. If all goes well, you can move it to the "Redeveloped" category next Spring.

The information about each building grows as visitors let us know about their experiences. Did you or a member of your family work here? Did you grow up near it as a child? Let us know. All entries will be moderated and may be posted in an edited form. We will use your name unless you tell us otherwise. We will not make your email public.

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