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Posted on: March 1, 2014

Just this time last year Mod B heard that one of her fave diners from when she lived in Mass was closing. The Rosebud Diner in Somerville MA. Well now a year later, she’s closed, she’s gutted and Mod B is sad that yet another classic diner has been taken from us.

Rosebud Diner Davis Square Somerville MA - Exterior


I remember my very first glimpse of the Rosebud – it was in the early 90s and had yet to be preserved, a place for day drinks and dodgy folks. By the time I moved to the area a few years later the diner had been cleaned  and retro-d up a bit with pink neon matching the glowing logo hovering over the shiny black diner like a halo.

I remember eating at the counter before or after work (their steak tips special was my fave) or the occasional hangover meal in a booth with late night / early morning pals. I brought my mother here to have lunch one day in a sunny booth, and possibly in that very same booth introduced the boy who is now Retro Roadhusband to the kind of place and cuisine that was near and dear to my heart.

When I heard about the imminent closing of this place that held so many memories, I knew we had to make one last trip. Even though the news reports promised that nothing bad was going to happen to the diner, I’ve learned that what is said up-front isn’t always how things play out.

Rosebud Diner Davis Square Somerville MA - Interior

Perhaps the Rosebud was no longer on the list of hip places to eat in Somerville, because we pretty much had the place to ourselves one chilly March evening. Our waitress was sassy and charming, and for old times sake I got the steak tips. Granted they weren’t as good as I had remembered them, but as we often learn, what is? We tipped heavily, snapped a few photos and said our farewells, knowing that this may be the last time we’d spin the stools at the counter or bask in the glow of that pink neon.
Rosebud Diner Davis Square Somerville MA - Cash Register
Just a few short months later we were back in town for a Retro Roadhusband gig, and while he set up, I meandered around Davis Square. I knew full well I was dragging my feet down the street, as I walked reluctantly to the diner, afraid of what I might see. Almost like how we sometimes make excuses to not visit sick or ailing old folks, as it can be tough to see what has become of someone once so vital (and let’s face it – being reminded face-to-face that the same thing is going to happen to us.)

Peering into the door window, I was saddened to see the diner stripped of the evidence of day-to-day usage, but pleased that the basics remained unaltered. While it was still a tragic scene I knew it could’ve been worse.

“Maybe” I thought, “Maybe the new folks ‘get it’ about the diner – maybe that’s why they bought the diner instead of just any old concrete block building- and maybe they’ll preserve it.”
The Rosebud Diner Interior - Davis Square Somerville MA

Once again, Mod B over-estimated.

Fast forward to February 2014, where diner resource RoadsideOnline reports that they’ve been sent pictures of a completely gutted Rosebud diner. (You can click here to see for yourself, but it’s a sad sad sight compared to the above.) Local food sites report that the restaurant will be a roadhouse type place. That obviously needed to be in a diner, she says snarkily. Like they couldn’t have invented a roadhouse in a boring cinderblock building.
The Rosebud Diner Interior - Davis Square Somerville MA
I’d say thank goodness that the historical designation of the diner will force them to keep the diner exterior, but really, at that point isn’t it LITERALLY a shell of it’s former self? And not even a diner.

  • I don’t get why people buy diners, only to want them to be/look anything other than a diner.
  • I don’t get why people don’t see how these buildings – made to last, with craftsmanship and quality materials – are built to last, and should last.
  • I don’t get why people are so relucatant to realize that the 20th century is part of our country’s history, and buildings from this era will be the future’s historic architecture.
  • Do we want to leave future generations with nothing but a bunch of homogonized big box stores, chain restaurants from coast to coast, and nothing to differentiate one place from another, all in the name of convenience and price?

Now while I go and try to figure out how this one gal – me – can help stop this senseless destruction, I realize that we’ve all got to appreciate the great places like this we have left, but not look at them through Rosebud Colored Glasses. In a moment, historic places like this can be swept forever off of the map.



Rosebud Diner Davis Square Somerville MA - Exterior