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Classic Rhode Island diner rescued from wrecking ball

PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Each year some of the roughly 2,000 classic diners around the United States are demolished, but an enduring fascination with the 20th-century breakfast tradition has helped some get rescued from the wrecking ball.

After sitting vacant for 14 years in a weed-strewn lot in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the historic Silver Top Diner was sold for $30,500 to the highest bidder at a public auction Wednesday.

A constable held a bidding war outside the boarded-up restaurant that an expert says was built during the “golden age of the diner” in the 1930s. The winner owns a burger restaurant in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, and wants to expand.

Buying the diner is the easy part. Architects who’ve transformed old diners into new restaurants say it can cost half-a-million dollars to do it right.