Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kiss My Grits...

I love diners…almost as much as I love fire (read the post below). It’s a real taste of Americana…but not for my kids.

My kids like diners as much as they like tetanus shots and I can’t figure out why. Most diners have an extensive menu of things that I would think kids would like, but my kids run from diners like the Japanese from Godzilla…

Eric’s rant-I think chain restaurants have had the same impact on small local restaurants as Wal-Mart has had on small local shops. Locals just can’t compete, and kids are bombarded with images of food from Unos, Outback, Betucci’s, etc…when’s the last time B.J.’s Diner advertised? Kids become familiar with the mass-produced food, and in the process, don’t learn to appreciate or enjoy a mom and pop style place.

When asked why he doesn’t like diners, my son frequently complains about the smell. The smell???!!! That’s part of the charm-bacon and sausage grease (though I don’t eat either anymore) and potatoes sizzling on the grill. Heap on top of that some pancake batter, eggs and maybe some corned beef hash, and wow, that’s an olfactory orgy! Not an odor easily forgotten.

I really like diners and come from a diner family, since my father owned one while I was in high school. Not Tom Stahl’s diner in “A History of Violence (though my dad probably wanted to beat some customers with a coffee pot), but a small 19 seat joint, just like you would imagine. $1.99-2 eggs, homefries, bacon/sausage, toast and coffee. Can’t beat it. That was back in the 80s; now, the same thing costs $5.99.

There is one particular diner I like-the Sunny Day Diner in Lincoln-Woodstock, New Hampshire. It’s been featured on The Food Network and some other shows, and it lives up to its billing. You can always tell the diner by the quality of their homefries, and these did not disappoint. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, with a nice set of spices.

My father is partial to Lloyd’s Diner here in Framingham. The problem with Lloyd’s is that its only open about 4 hours a week, and not consecutive. When you drive by, you have to look at the board outside that has the hours posted, because it seems that they change weekly. Last week, I think it was Mon. 11:15-11:48AM, Fri. 6:02-8:25AM, and Sunday from “Open to close”. Actually, they are currently open 3 days a week, but you have to make sure. I will admit that their food is good and plentiful, and you won’t need to eat lunch if you have breakfast there, if they’re open.

Actually, my favorite was B.J.’s Diner, gone, but not forgotten. The surly old bastard working the grill could drive you nuts, and no Flo, Vera or Alice, but at least the food was good.

You’ve been great…Enjoy Arlo Guthrie…

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the compliment

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the owner would come over your house and make you breakfast anytime. Or just come over and make interesting comments. Nothing could be finer, than a good old fashioned diner. They are a dying breed.

Ben said...

Just ate lunch today at the Quaker Diner in West Hartford with young kids who seemed happy to be there despite an almost non-existent AC (and a walk to an ATM for their dad because they don't take credit cards). Breakfast all day is the way to go. Favorite diner is the "Silk City Diner" on 4th and Spring Garden in Philly (also known as "the American Diner" for some reason).