The Elmwood Diner originally was car number 806 built in the factory of the Worcester Lunch Car Company in Massachusetts. In 1947, Ralph “Truck” Narducci of Providence ordered the custom-built diner—completely furnished and stocked—and opened Central Diner for business at the corner of West Exchange and Gaspee streets in Downtown Providence. This spot (where the Westin Hotel stands today).
Ralph Narducci relocated the Central Diner from Providence’s central business district 2.75 miles south to 777 Elmwood Avenue in 1953-54 and built a new concrete block kitchen structure in anticipation of bigger business. The relocated diner was known as Central Diner through 1972.
It has changed hands, changed names, and received a number of facelifts since then. Some may remember eating at Elmwood Diner, Jenn’s Elmwood Diner, Ole Elmwood Diner, Louie’s Diner, La Criolla Restaurant, or The Liberty Elm Diner. In 2009, the National Park Service added Central Diner to the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2014, it was opened again as the Elmwood Diner by Zoë Neves and Paul Smith, along with their children — Courtney, Jacob, Lily, and Xander.
(Historical information taken from a RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission press release from Februray 2010)
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