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ood luck finding Casey’s Diner. The tiny retro lunch car, oldest and smallest of its kind that’s still in operation, sits amid a stretch of auto-body shops, and it doesn’t have a sign. Then there’s the trick with the door: It doesn’t open in or out, but slides sideways to save space. “You can always tell a rookie,” quips Pat Casey, of the fourth generation in his family to own the place, when yet another newbie fumbles with the handle. You won’t be a stranger for long, though. There are always likely to be locals whiling away an afternoon on one of the 10 counter stools (“I’ve been coming here since his great-grandfather ran the place,” one pipes in), enjoying burgers from the flat-top vintage grill, flavored with 70 years of seasoning and served on slightly toasted Wonder Bread buns, or great hot dogs, with a dessert of apple, lemon custard, Boston cream, or rhubarb pie.
Diners were invented in Providence by Walter Scott, who in 1872 started selling food to workmen from a horse-drawn wagon. So popular were these mobile restaurants that lines would form outside them in the streets, so towns passed regulations prompting them to operate from permanent locations.
36 South Ave. off Main Street (Route 27) near Natick Center
Natick, MA, 01760
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Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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