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Nashua;33.0;/csp/cms/sites/Telegraph/assets/images/icons/noaa.jpg;2014-12-19 11:27:46
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Missing the Miss Nashua Diner on Main Street

Don Himsel

Editor’s Note: Imagine Nashua: Then & Now is a weekly photo column by Don Himsel. Each week, he will feature an old photo within a more recent photo and an explanation of how he got the shot.

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Editor’s Note: Imagine Nashua: Then & Now is a weekly photo column by Don Himsel. Each week, he will feature an old photo within a more recent photo and an explanation of how he got the shot.

There isn’t much out there on the Miss Nashua Diner.

If you go out looking for it today, you won’t find it; Collins Flowers is there now. Collins moved from the Whiting Block to 9 Main St. in 1980, but had been in business many years in Nashua. I was able to find a great description of some of the diner’s food in a 1941 Telegraph, right above a story on a postal service employee rescuing a cat from a tree:

“The hamburgers at the Miss Nashua Diner are famous all over town made of good beef, properly seasoned and cooked just as rare or well done as you like them, and are equally tempting for a light meal or for a satisfying snack after the show. And the coffee that accompanies them is declared by many to be the best in town.”

You had “tasty sandwiches, home-cooked pies” and “Italian spaghetti with a rich, highly-flavored sauce in the genuine Italian style.”

Beyond that, I don’t have much, but Maddie (Mercier) White, speaking to me from out of town, gave me this.

“Jim and I bought the Miss Nashua Diner in 1975 and changed the name to Mike and Jim’s. We also ran Kelly’s of Nashua Catering from that location in the beginning of the catering business.”

Maddie said Jim was looking for a place in Nashua because they lived in town (Mike owned another place in Merrimack).

“The Miss Nashua was still open, I believe, but were doing poorly.”

They sold it to them cheap, she told me.

“We got in on the ground floor,” she said.

“When we bought it, it looked like a diner, like the Yankee Flyer,” she said. “We put shakes on the front, which was popular at the time.

“We did a huge breakfast business. Lunchtime was good, too, because the school administration offices were across the street. All those people used to come over. The chamber of commerce, too. That’s how we started catering.”

“People running for office would always stop in,” Maddie said. “Jimmy Carter, local candidates.”

Turkey was cooked every other Sunday.

“Mike’s wife Jeanne, the next day, would divide it among the two diners and serve it in chicken pot pie and chicken lasagna,” Maddie said.

Picture this: They’d cook food at the diner and travel to their customers in an orange-and-white Volkswagen bus.

“Eventually we leased trucks,” Maddie said.

When they outgrew their ability at the diner, Maddie said the old Montgomery Ward building used to let them use their kitchen. Their eventual divorce brought an end to the business, she said.

Maddie’s been back in town and said she feels a little twinge when driving by Collins.

“If it was a restaurant, I don’t think I could go in,” she said. “But I might. Just for the heck of it. It’s not the same. It’s a previous life.”

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or dhimsel@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).