Locations >> Buildings by Neighborhood >> Federal Hill : El Faro's Diner


The 1947 Kullman Challenger Model dining car accommodates approximately 58 customers, with 36 booth seats and 22 counter stools. The style of the dining car is typically Moderne, with a streamlined design. The exterior of the diner, with an emphasis on industrial materials, is supported by a wood and steel frame and combines porcelain enamel panels, rounded glass block corners, stainless steel trim, and stell framed windows. The diner is topped with a monitor roof. The interior features similar industrial materials, with porcelain enamel panels, stainless stell panels, ceramic tile, mirrored glass, stainless steel stools, and Formica countertops.

Today, the El Faro's Diner contains the original tile floors, walls, and counter apron, as well as the original light blue and cream, porcelain clad sheet metal ceiling panels. Many of the original stools remain as well as sections of the back bar, grill hood, and the stainless steel refrigerator. The original booth seating is in tact, but the tabletops and legs are missing.


The prefabricated dining car was put together at the Kullman Dining Car Company of New Jersey in 1947. That same year the dining car was shipped to 579-581 Atwells Avenue in Providence. From 1947 to 1955 the diner was owned and operated by Joseph Poirier Jr., who served meals to city workers at hours that matched those of the factory time clock. Beginning in 1955, the diner came under a rapid sucession of owners, and with that many changes in name. In 1961 Poirier's became Squire's Diner, and over the following decades Squire's gave way to Arnold's Diner, Top Hat, Krystal's, and ultimately El Faro's. This list of owners during the history of the diner is said to ahve reflected the changing ethinic makeup of the city.

The diner was going to be made into scrap by Feldco, as the company was clearing the property to make room for the Eagle Square shopping plaza and Shaw's supermarket. Before the diner could be destroyed, members of the American Diner Museum volunteered to remove the diner from Atwells Avenue intact. El Faro's was posted on the American Diner Museum website where it was purchases by the current owner, Crescent Partners of Providence, Rhode Island.

In 2002 the diner was moved intact from Atwells Avenue to its current location at 1467 Westminster Street, in Providence.

In August of 2003, El Faro's Diner was named to the National Register of Historic Places.


"A Serving of History." Providence Journal [Providence, RI]. 16 September 2003. http://www.projo.com/cgi-bin/bi/gold_print.cgi

Artinruins. 2003. http://www.artinruins.com/arch/saved/poirierdiner/

"56 years and countless cups of coffee." American Diner Museum. 2003. http://www.dinermuseum.org/articles/article19php