WORCESTER, Mass. - Richard Gutman is a diner expert and has been involved in about 100 diner restoration projects over the years.
Gutman was called into action when the WooSox Foundation purchased the 1940s Sherwood Diner to restore it through a donation from the Fuller Foundation. He says diners are significant part of the city's history.
"The Worcester Lunch Cart Company operated in Worcester for 55 years and made over 650 diners, populated all around New England," Gutman said. "This was one that operated in Worcester for a long time. It moved around. It's great. t was a survivor because only fewer than 100 of the 650 survive."
Contractor Steven Stutman was brought in to make the vision come to life. He says when they finally saw the building in person, it was in worse condition than they thought, but he kept confident it could be done.
"We did have some parts of it, not many. We tried to utilize the existing as best we can," said Gutman. "The back wall and the front wall and we rebuilt and the roof needed a lot of work. We found the existing top wooden sashes they're all restored and in and we had to buy new windows and they're all in."
With Stutman's skill, and some guidance from Gutman, they brought the building back to life, while making sure they got every detail right, even including the original flooring. When they realized the tile was no longer being made, Stutman's daughter decided to color match and paint the flooring.
The diner itself will not be a place to sit down and grab a bite to eat, but rather serve as the headquarters for the WooSox Foundation. The Sherwood Diner will house information on all of the charities and non-profits they work with, as well as serve as a broadcast booth.
Worcester Red Sox president, Charles Steinberg, says this will act as a community gathering place at the ball park.
"Imagine walking into, seeing the gang at "Cheers," except it's actually former ballplayers signing autographs, doing a post game radio or TV show or just talking to fans," said Dr. Steinberg. "So imagine there could always be a surprise as far as who you will see, what you might get. It might seem like a diner, but it might be even more than that."
When the diner is finished, it will be moved to its new location on Summit Street.