United States

Laurel Debates Turning Historic Diner into Marijuana Dispensary

The Tastee Diner in Laurel is one of a small number of Comac diners left standing in the U.S.

Harry S. Truman was President of the United States when the shiny Laurel Diner was brought by flatbed truck from New Jersey and placed in a parking lot just off Route 1.

After more than six decades of hot coffee and meatloaf, what is now known as the Tastee Diner is poised to become a medical marijuana dispensary.

The new owners say it will require "encapsulating" the structure to make it look more like an office building and they are seeking a zoning variance to do that.

Jhanna Levin of the Laurel Historical Society says research uncovered some astonishing information when researching the diner's iconic metallic and square design.

The company that made the diner, Comac, Incorporated, was only in existence for four years. 

"What we want to do is salvage the physical piece of it. The 1951 Comac Diner that there are only two of left in this entire country," Levin said.

At a Laurel City Council meeting Monday, Levin and others asked city leaders to find a way to remove and repurpose the building.

"I don't have enough money. The city doesn't have enough money," City Council President Michael Leszez said.

Laurel was recently designated as part of Maryland’s "Main Street Program," aimed at revitalizing downtown.

Many would like to see Laurel's Tastee Diner incorporated into that plan.

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