For the Love of a Good Diner

Who doesn’t love the Formica-topped counters and comfy booths of the classic diner? Where else would you go for a late-night sandwich, a greasy fried breakfast, or a slice of pie and coffee (served in a clunky white mug, of course)?

The Amateur Gourmet, Adam, waxes rhapsodic about the role of the diner as he digs into a cheese-and-onion omelet at 11:30 p.m.:

A diner … is, quite simply, a place to get food. It’s America’s answer to the bistro, the trattoria, the noodle bar. It serves what could very well be described as American food. If you asked a random American to list the dishes he considered to be fundamentally American, chances are he’d list items you’d find on a diner menu: hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, milkshakes, and so on.

Over at the Saveur editor’s blog, Deputy Editor Dana Bowen is talking about diners as well—how this landmark of American food culture is slowly being lost (last month’s issue of Saveur included a profile of the Agawam Diner in Rowley, Massachusetts—and an insanely mouth-watering photo of cream pie on the cover).

Sadly, though, diners—which evolved from horse-drawn lunch wagons in the late 19th century—are disappearing, particularly in urban areas, where rents are prohibitively high. In New York City alone, in the past few years, we’ve lost many.

Seems like it’s time for us to express our diner love, by heading down and grabbing a seat at the counter.