Enjoy: hot dogs, chili cheese, double
cheeseburger, pm lunch, and French fries
"Just a fun place. Try the chili cheese
The Gilley's Lunch
cart was built in 1940 by the Worcester Diner Co. of Worcester,
MA. This diner is one, of just five that were built, and is
the only one remaining in full operation today.
This diner, and its predecessor, were hauled
into Market Square each evening and parked in front of the North
Church in preparation for the evening's business. Originally
the diner was towed by horse, then tractor and finally by truck.
The mural behind Gilley's, recently painted by John Perry, depicts
Gilley's in the 1900's in Market Square. Gilley's was moved
to its present Fleet Street location in June 1974.
Although permanently situated, Gilley's retains
the same characteristics and authenticity as when it was mobile.
The truck that towed the diner is still attached to the front of
the structure and the wheels remain under the skirting. The
interior contains the original oak, porcelain trim and fixtures.
Every effort is made to retain the original charm and character of
this historic diner.
Gilley's is named after longtime employee Ralph
"Gilley" Gilbert. Gilley served dogs and burgers from the diner's
tiny kitchen for over five decades. An icon in Portsmouth
history, Gilley was known for his flawless memory, kindness, and
He greeted his customers by name, had a good
word for everyone, and never let the lack of funds prevent a
hungry customer from eating. Gilley died in 1986 but his
name and fame continues.
The wing added to Gilley's in May 1996 combined
the diner with its former separate storage trailer. The additional
storage and refrigeration facilities enabled Gilley's to expand
its menu, improve safety, security, and provide better service to
you, our customer.
It was voted "Hidden Gem" by Boston's Phantom
Gourmet. Great grill & goodies, burgers, dogs, fries, chili,
beans, egg sandwiches etc. Delicious. You have not truly
experienced Portsmouth unless you have eaten at Gilly's!!! Be
prepared to take it to go outside to the picnic table, limited
counter space, hey it's a train car, what do you expect?
There's about 8 counter stools in all inside,
most take it to go or eat outside; consider yourself one of the
lucky ones if you actually get to sit inside at the counter!
Throwback! Something you will never forget!