One of Cape Cod's best known diners, the old Tinman -- a 1941 Sterling Steamliner -- was burnt down by a waitress's estranged husband in November, 2000. The diner's owner, Barbara Lind, had no insurance.
The Tinman had been a landmark of sorts, set back from Rte 28, one of the two highways that brings thousands of people onto Cape Cod. Its "Wizard of Oz" collection, which was everywhere the eye could see, made it a great place to bring children. With a diner comfort food menu that included classics like meat loaf, macaroni and cheese, liver and onions, Lind's diner was also a gathering place for military personnel.
The Tinman sat charred and desolate for awhile before it disappeared. Then, three years ago, a second diner, Wendell's Corner Snack Shop just two miles away, also shut down. You can guess the rest of the story: The 1927 Tierney diner reopens this weekend, renovated and repainted in pastels, as the new Tinman. How it happened is what makes the story.
After the original diner burned down, Lind fell on hard times that included depression and homelessness. She worked but her heart was broken. She held onto her dream that she would once again be a business owner. But without assets, her credit poor, it seemed unlikely.
Friends and former customers donated $54,000.and a former U.S. Marine and current member of the Army National Guard, contractor Dean Meehan, did the work on credit and for less than half of other quotes.
"They're the nicest people I've ever met," Meehan said. "I just want to see them do well."
A lead story in today's Cape Cod Times should get the diner off to a good start. Its new location, in quaint North Falmouth Village, should be as good as its former highway site.
It's a heartwarming story, with a fairy-tale ending. But that's rare. The lesson here? Have business insurance.
Community puts diner back in business