The Coke Oven
Locations: Washington D.C., Miami ,Florida, Atlanta ,Georgia, New York City, Chicago, Illinois, Pittsburgh, PA, Cleveland, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio
Food prepared as Coal Coke was produced by My Grandfather, Lewis Irvin Diggs, who lived with his wife, My Grandmother Martha Battles Coles Diggs. Without his Big Brother, Dan Diggs' support, it would have been hard to build such a West Virginia Southern Ohio Empire of the day, especially as black men less than 50 years after Slavery. "Mama Gay and Poppa Gay Diggs" as they were known became America's first black millionaires during World War I. Before World War I, they owned a small restaurant in Washington, Pennsylvania. Grandpa Diggs was known as the "Beehive Oven King" by Steel Industrialist Andrew Carnegie, which whom grandfather had met with. His Beehive Ovens produced the best Coke by ingeniously using heat to manipulate the molecular structure of Coal producing Coke. It is estimated that our Coal Coke products produced about 1-2% of all steel made in America during World War I until World War II. When Poppa Diggs retired to his nearly Square-Mile Estate in Jackson County, Ohio. The Estate is now called "Diggs Farm" located on Diggs Road where I spent the first years of my life.
Papa Diggs owned one Coal Mine, one Sawmill, and four Coal Coke processing plants where he gave fulltime jobs to over a thousand men from 1909-1940.
In 1923, Papa Diggs met with Henry Ford, who purchased the Nuttallburg Coal Mine in Fayette County, West Virginia. The Nuttallburg (Fordson) Mine was located in the middle of the four Diggs' Coke Oven plants. The Nuttallburg Mine is a famous tourist attraction on the banks of the New River Gorge, the white water rafting resort. Henry Ford had the longest conveyor belt in the world, taking the coal down to the new river bank where the riverside railroad tracks, used for hauling Coal/Coke, are still there. Papa Diggs cooked Henry Ford's coal into coke.
Method: Using the Beehive Shaped Ovens we produce the best flavor with tenderness. Cooking with Coke tempers steel but tenders meat. Instead of Coal Coke we can produce the best cooked meat and vegetables with the best taste, the best atmostphere with a theme appealing to the working man, families, perfectionists, and the Wealthy Connoisseur.