Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet Me at the Diner

I like diners. Whether they're called lunch counters, lunchrooms, cafes or greasy spoons, I like them. Jukeboxes on the wall help, as do coolers filled with fluffy, mile-high pies topped with mountains of meringue or whipped cream. Milkshake blenders are absolutely essential.

A good diner serves breakfast, and although there might be one or two specialty items on the menu, none of them will involve latte or quiche or kiwi. Not that there's anything wrong with latte or quiche or kiwi, they're just foreign to the kind of diner where eggs are ordered sunny side up or over easy. Here, coffee is a mug of joe, and fruit is an orange slice on the plate with your ham and eggs, and whole wheat toast is considered exotica.

The lunch menu features things like tuna melts and burgers and good, hearty club sandwiches. They're served with fries. Salad? You've gotta be kidding me! Ask nicely and you can get lettuce and tomato on your burger, and in keeping with the tenets of the Reagan administration, ketchup is a vegetable.

Suppers (they aren't dinners here) might include a blue plate special of roast beef or, if you're especially fortunate, liver and onions -- a pile of onions too tall for two men to shake hands over. A piece of that mile-high coconut cream pie is included in the price, of course. Believe me, there are no heart-smart choices advertised on this menu, no nutritional info in small print under each entry; the best-tasting plates come with their own medic-alert bracelets. They're not the place to go for every meal, but for an occasional foray into pre-21st-Century mealtime nostalgia they can't be beat.

This photo was taken at Large Marge's Diner in Lunenburg, NS which my sources tell me is now closed. Alas, we'll have to meet somewhere else for breakfast. The joe's on me!


  1. Jean, I love these kind of places too. Probably because those were the kind of places we were always looking for between Troy and Atwoods Brook...and we did find them. A good fish and chips place was the goal as soon as we crossed the Canadian border.

    1. There was a rule that you never ordered fried clams until you were close enough to the ocean that people pronounced them "Freud glams". And there was a lunch counter in Brewer, Maine, that fit all the criteria... we ate when we got there, whether it was 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.!

  2. I hear Frans in Toronto calling me.