Thursday, January 7, 2016

On the Importance of Diners

What defines a Diner?  Growing up in New York, specifically on Long Island - diners were everywhere and everyone had their favorite.  More often than not, a Friday night at the movies led to me and my friends at the Syosset House Diner for a late night snack.  I even wrote a story about it - but I can't seem to find it.  We had our favorite waitress and the owner always greeted us warmly and most of the time by name.

Heading to a diner after church was a big treat, too - but that didn't happen all that often.  It was nice to be able to get breakfast at any time at the day.  There are no good diners near the launchpad and the few that are around are not good "New York Diners."

What constitutes a diner?  Ed Levine from Serious Eats offers a list (via kottke).
  1. Operating hours - if it ain't open 24 hours, it ain't a diner.
  2. A common menu - and it better go on for about 50 pages
  3. A democratic reception - see my note above, a warm "Hiya Fellas" is essential
  4. Quick service - too often, the diners around here have lines, why?
  5. Low price point - again, non-NY diners didn't get this memo
  6. Seating - I'm a booth kinda guy, especially if they have one of those jukeboxes
  7. Familiarity - again see my note about having a favorite waitress and them knowing what you want before you order it
  8. All-occasion places - anytime you go there, you don't have to be there for a reason, you're there for good food
  9. Parking - have some
  10. Culinary anonymity - you don't need to know the name of the guy making your eggs, in fact you may want to just take it on faith that he knows what he's doing

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