Why an iconic Hamilton diner has new signage (hint: it is not closing)

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Published August 15, 2022 at 6:09 pm

“The Horror of Dolores Roach” may have scared the breakfast out of Hamilton foodies before even landing on a streaming service.

Anyone out and about in downtown Hamilton today might have noticed the distinctive white sign with blue lettering for the iconic John Street Diner was no longer there and had been replaced with a bright neon sign for Kane & Abel’s Pizzeria, est. 2018. It is not because the diner on the southwest corner of John and King William streets, known for reasonably priced, bounteous breakfasts, has met a similar fate to many characters in a horror series. Rather, the diner is getting ready for a close-up as a shooting location — interior as well as exterior — for the “Dolores Roach” series.


The diner will be back in business on Thursday (Aug. 18). The owners of the John Street Diner are also the proprietors of the Jet Cafe (184 King St. E.). The shoot will create some delay to Hamilton Street Railway bus routes in the area along John St. N., between Rebecca and King.

“Dolores Roach” is a joint production of Blumhouse Television, Spotify’s Gimlet and GloNation Studios that is expected to film in Hamilton until the end of this month. Some street corners and storefronts in Hamilton have been painted to look like the Washington Heights section of New York. Justina Machado, who played the central character in the Netflix/Pop TV reboot of the sitcom “One Day At A Time,” plays the title role.

The series has been picked up by Amazon Studios. Cannibalism is part of the horror element, which means “Kane & Abel’s” a possible Biblically derived sight gag. Another theme in the plotting involves gentrification, which is also a real-life issue in the actual Hamilton.

The John Street Diner is kitty-corner across an intersection from Lulu’s Shawarma. Lulu’s is slated to reopen Tuesday (Aug. 16) after briefly being closed for renovations.

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