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The Diners in Your Life


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Serious Eats re-published an Ed Levine essay on diners today and it got me thinking. https://www.seriouseats.com/ed-levine-why-diners-are-more-important-than-ever I'll share a few of mine. 

As Ed noted - they are an essential part of our culture. The equivalent of the corner bar to most 12 Steppers in recovery. Long hours, no pressure to move along, and where staff, regulars and friends know one another, "Cheers" via coffee shop.

As a longtime local independent place I'll shout out. Hot n' Tot down the road. https://www.thehotntot.com/ It has that feel of community. Aussie side of fmily always insists on at least one breakfast there per visit. They paid the somewhat high price for for one of their heavy coffee mugs. High probably cuz not so nice people smuggle them out.  I include Denny's and Norm's chains as they have that same feel and decent food. Norm's just did a 72 cent breakfast special on their 72nd anniversary. My son and friends hung out their often. - "meet me at Norm's"' They enjoy all kinds of food but Norm's is where they can hang. You can go any time of day and see the old guys hanging out, flirting  with staff, and drinking bottomless cups of coffee. L.A. has lots f long time diners so I won't attempt  a re-cap. Googie architecture def. 

You guys?

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58 minutes ago, heidih said:

This classic down the road was special to is  http://blogs.dailybreeze.com/history/2017/07/07/the-parasol-restaurant-delighted-torrance-diners-from-the-outside-in/

Line drawing always troubling - coffee shop v. diner?

 

Being a New Jerseyan I don't see how anyone could mistake a coffeeshop for a diner.  Here the line drawing was whether an establishment that sold pizza was a tavern or a restaurant*.  The distinction was important, as women were not permitted to work in taverns.

 

 

*as I am reading in Modernist Pizza.

 

 

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I did hesitate to offer that possible distinction. But the phrase "meet at  the coffee shop" way way pre-dating CharBucks was fairly equivalent to diner in my Southern California experience. Lots of cheap hot coffee and a standard menu to fill the empty spaces - gastonomically and emotionally.  I am interested to hear/read other experiences. 

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If you define diners as  the sort that you see in Jersey (and I do) we have nothing like that near me.

There's Friendly, some breakfast/lunch places, and family restaurants that call themselves diners but aren't.

 

Delis are another thing we don't have.   😞

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33 minutes ago, gfweb said:

If you define diners as  the sort that you see in Jersey (and I do) we have nothing like that near me.

There's Friendly, some breakfast/lunch places, and family restaurants that call themselves diners but aren't.

 

Delis are another thing we don't have.   😞

 

The diner in The Dead Don't Die is supposed to be located in Centerville Pennsylvania, although the movie was actually filmed in Middletown New York.

 

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I understand they had to move the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring MD a few blocks to make way for development. Probably a bigger deal than it should be because diners were originally meant to be dropped into place. Shame that Ye Olde College Diner in State College PA is no more.

 

For me the prerequisite for a diner is a waitress who calls you "Hun"

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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52 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

The diner in The Dead Don't Die is supposed to be located in Centerville Pennsylvania, although the movie was actually filmed in Middletown New York.

 

Not sure if Centerville is a real place, but the nearest place I'd call a real diner is near the Philly Airport. So 45 miles.... The nearest decent deli isn't much closer. 

 

But I can make corned beef and Swiss steak when I need it.

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1 hour ago, haresfur said:

IFor me the prerequisite for a diner is a waitress who calls you "Hun"

My girlfriends and I used to frequent a diner after the monthly Vintage Flea Market . No "hon" but the waitresses in the requisite outfits always remembered us. One was owner's daughter, and others her high school friends.. They knew my bestie was fanatic about  "the good napkins" and always brought us a stack. Also cool with me going to the service station and collecting up the hot sauces I liked when they were busy. The counter and shake machine - classic. https://www.facebook.com/dalesdinerlb/

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Rosie's Diner arrived in the Grand Rapids area about two years after I did. Here's the story:  History and picture on Wikipedia    Its current status

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Oh and the waitresses also remembered that she liked extra ice for her tea -  they would bring her in that stainess shake cup for her iced tea - even if we skipped a month due to weather or circumstance. 

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That topic title confused me. For me and most people outside the USA, I expect, a diner is a person who dines i.e all of us!

 

I only have a vague notion of what actually defines an American diner; anyone care to elucidate? I know the etymology, but that doesn't really help.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

That topic title confused me. For me and most people outside the USA, I expect, a diner is a person who dines i.e all of us!

 

I only have a vague notion of what actually defines an American diner; anyone care to elucidate? I know the etymology, but that doesn't really help.

 

Well it helps to be Greek but Greek people I know regard this as an egregious racial stereotype.

 

A diner is a real or imagined railroad dining car, with a huge menu, sticky seats, and impossibly bad food.

 

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5 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Well it helps to be Greek but Greek people I know regard this as an egregious racial stereotype.

 

A diner is a real or imagined railroad dining car, with a huge menu, sticky seats, and impossibly bad food.

 

 

I know the railroad car meaning came earlier than the current meaning, but long after the original meaning which is the one still used in Britain and elsewhere. The person dining.

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Well it helps to be Greek but Greek people I know regard this as an egregious racial stereotype.

 

A diner is a real or imagined railroad dining car, with a huge menu, sticky seats, and impossibly bad food.

 

 

Typically built new nowadays, stainless steel sides at least in part, neon sign is a plus.

In house bakery that makes tons of cakes and pies and Greek stuff.

Gigantic menu (how do they have all that back there?), big portions.  Breakfast all day.

Counter service and tables.

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

I really can't think of an equivalent in the UK. From your descriptions, I'm guessing they don't sell alcohol. Correct?

It varies. Mostly not.

 

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I did not try to define "diner" in my opening post but the link to Serious Eats I posted there gives a pretty good summary - though tad East Coast to me.  If anyone has ever watched Hallmark movies (no need to confess here) - the diner is the heart of every small town depicted. Even in this large metropolis I've often run into acquaintances in various locations. Often hearty breakfast all day, burgers/fries/shakes and bottomless coffee. I tend to have standard orders at my favorites: spinach and mushroom omlette w/ dry rye and Smuckers orange marmalade + their house salsa at Hot n' Tot, Cajun Burger and wonderfully crisp onion rings at Dale's.  At The Kettle depends if headed to or from LAX. Bit pricey but a beloved place.  http://thekettle.net/ Memorable venture there was in friend's husband's limo (he owned the service - cut down  on his "driving while intoxicated") Champagne to and from w/ tons of coffee inside and some eggs and toast combo.

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4 hours ago, gfweb said:

From that list, I have been to the following (in many cases, just once): Vincentown Diner, Mastoris, Ponzio's, Ritz Diner, Americana Diner (which is no longer a diner), Golden Dawn, and New Prestige Diner. Because of driving around NJ for work, I get to hit North/Central/South. Vincentown Diner was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives several years ago, their angle is that they use seasonal and locally farmed ingredients. Plus local micro brews!

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Most of mine don't do booze. Then again the downtown Burger King in a high rise tried beer - until the bike messengers figured it out. To me "diner" = coffee in a heavy mug so it stays hot while you engage in earth changing discussions and solve world problems.  And they don't give you a look when you ask for mayo or Ranch with your fries or rings ;) 

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Mike's Diner in Manassas, Va was THE diner of my childhood.  It was defined by relatively cheap food, and the fact that everyone went there.  Usually you could expect breakfast to be served at any hour.  When I worked in my grandparents burger and ice cream place, they would occasionally invite the whole. (all teenage) staff out to Mike's for dinner after an 11pm closing.  The place was never empty, the coffee was never good, but it never ran out.  To me, if it never inspired a fan base that celebrated the place long after it's passing, then it wasn't a real diner.  Mike's fan base fb page is linked below.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/45509971031/

 

 

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Bought at Rosie's Diner, I think

 

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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