A Field Guide To The True American Diner
October 10, 2014 3:33 PM   Subscribe

A Field Guide To The True American Diner
I wrote this for The Awl. It is about diners and how to sort them.
Role: Author
posted by The Whelk (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by joseph conrad is fully awesome on October 14, 2014: A Field Guide To The True American Diner

This is beautiful.

I miss diners more than anything when I leave the metro NY area.
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:37 PM on October 10, 2014

"We did not free ourselves from England's cruel yoke to have static pie."

Truer words were never spoken.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:36 PM on October 10, 2014

Delightful. Thanks!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:35 AM on October 11, 2014

I'm fortunate enough to have the BEST local diner. The coffee is cheap and the food is amazing, and it's like stepping back in time.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:55 AM on October 11, 2014

The a1 in Maine is one of my favorites
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on October 11, 2014

As a Jerseyite, I feel fierce loyalty to 'my' diners. Very nice.
posted by rachaelfaith at 4:54 PM on October 11, 2014

The Greek thing is true, even in Texas. There was a small holdout on N. Lamar here in Austin for the longest time -- they hung on & hung on, even after the By George, the Whole Foods headquarters, the Chicos & the REI all moved in to their formerly-local, downscale strip. It had six barstools at the counter, two 4-tops & three 2-tops. The family that ran the place fought like cats & dogs, in Greek, all the day long, but their hash browns were the stuff of legend. When the G&M Diner got taken over by hipsters, renamed the SomeBullshitBistro & larded with their motherfucking arugula, Austin died for me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:00 PM on October 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Our local diner is terrible, as are most diners in Maryland, but oh my, the people you'll see.
posted by sonascope at 5:27 AM on October 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

All the diners in Brunswick are chains, but two of the chains are "real" ones, Waffle House (as mentioned), and Huddle House, in which we've had many hundreds of meals over the last few years. The other options are Dennys and Steak & Shake, both of which attempt diner nostalgia without actually being diners.

The Wikipedia page on Diners may be of interest to enthusiasts of these establishments. Of particular interest are O'Mahony diners, a species which used to number over 2,000 but of which now only around twenty remain.

These are of particular interest to Call of Cthulhu players in games set in the 20s, as diners would have been becoming popular in New England at around that time, but under the name "lunch wagons."
posted by JHarris at 4:01 PM on October 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

a lot of the classic 20-30s railcar style diners where designed to be literally shipped by railroad and then trailer hauled to a place- a completely modular building - more like a food truck without wheels than a proper restaurant - then replaced with something larger but still mostly per-fabricated- it was more like you bought a template rather than signing into a franchise scheme.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on October 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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