Diners are the most quintessentially American eateries ever. It has even defined American cuisine in other parts of the world, right from its food to its interiors. You honestly can’t grow up in the US without ever having visited one or at least knowing one exists in your city, town, or neighborhood. Diners basically define the American’s dining industry. It is at the core of this great country’s eating psychology, making pancakes very much a comfort food for many.
This is probably why you can’t ever eat at a diner without feeling a bit nostalgic nowadays. It doesn’t even matter if the place you’re eating at looks like it needs some remodeling with its retro interiors or if it just looks like a regular eatery. Diners tend to evoke a certain feeling of longing for days past.
But why? This is probably because diner culture is deeply embedded on the American psyche. It doesn’t even matter if you frequent one, all that matters is you can identify with it and know that you’ll always find comfort in one, no matter where you are. It may be greasy, and sometimes gross (depending on the quality of the diner you visit), but it’s an American constant. When life feels like everything is changing too fast, it’s one thing that you can always rely on.
Why are diners so close to Americans’ hearts, though? Here are some points that might explain this attachment to these eateries.
Everyone knows that a diner is a quick equivalent of the British pub.
British movies, TV series, and literature will always have a scene or more inside a local pub. It’s nameless and unremarkable, but it’s the best way to establish that the story’s somewhere in the UK. The same goes for diners. A lot of movies, TV series, novels, and other sorts of stories that will include a diner in their storyline because it’s the best way to tell viewers and readers that they’re consuming some Americana.
Looking for a good family-friendly restaurant? Nothing can beat diners for being family friendly. Their affordable menu items combined with their familiar and warm atmosphere makes it a go-to place for families who want to dine out from time to time.
Sense of community.
Don’t you just love visiting an eatery that not only serves good food but is also a part of the community? Most diners are frequented by locals, resulting to everyone knowing each other. Even if you’re the outsider who’s just grabbing a meal while passing by, watching everyone chat in a familiar way can easily make you feel more comfortable. People also get friendlier if they feel at home at a diner, so you’re sure to have a good time there even if you don’t plan to get chummy with anybody else.
All day breakfast.
Nothing beats all day breakfast to make you feel better about anything. Even if you’re not feeling horrible, having breakfast food for lunch or dinner is still a good idea at times. It can perk you up and make you feel happier. And since diners typically offer all day breakfast meals, they’re easily associated to the comfort these food bring.
It reminds you of the good old days.
It doesn’t even matter if you’ve lived the good old days, diners can make people feel nostalgia of the days gone by whether they’re young or old. For seniors, they can revisit their younger days when malt shops and local diners were the hippest places in town. Youngsters, on the other hand, tend to romanticize the era, fueled by their grandparents’ whimsical stories of the olden days. Add to this the vintage fashion trend and subculture, and you’ll really get a good dose of nostalgia from diners.
They may be everywhere, but each diner is one of a kind.
There’s always something unique about a diner even if they all look and feel the same. Maybe it’s the people, the food, or the atmosphere. They don’t even have to be special or spectacular, they just happen to be unique in their own way.
Unpretentious homestyle cooking at great prices.
If you’ve ever been outraged at a casual dining restaurant for its prices on homestyle dishes, you can be guaranteed that none of that will happen at a diner. These places are no-frills, so you can expect that these places won’t fancy up your waffles and fried chicken just so they can charge a lot more. Some folks subsist on diner food, you know, so they have to be as affordable as possible for people to keep coming back.
If there’s no diner near you, the Black Bear Diner is a good restaurant chain that embodies the diner culture. They can be considered diners if you take out the part that they are owned by a franchise. Of course, local diners are also great. They’ll always make you feel like you’re coming home.