The diner is an uniquely American experience. The décor of the diner can be as clean or as grungy as it needs to be. In the 1950’s the chrome seating, linoleum floors and counter with stool seating gave us the impression of what the diner should look like.
According to The American Diner Museum
“A true “diner” is a prefabricated structure built at an assembly site and transported to a permanent location for installation to serve prepared food. Webster’s Dictionary defines a diner as “a restaurant in the shape of a railroad car.” The word “diner” is a derivative of “dining car” and diner designs reflected the styling that manufacturers borrowed from railroad dining cars. A diner is usually outfitted with a counter, stools and a food preparation or service area along the back wall. Decommissioned railroad passenger cars and trolleys were often converted into diners by those who could not afford to purchase a new diner.”
The diner started as far back as 1858 when a 17 year old Walter Scott in Providence, Rhode Island sold sandwiches and coffee from a basket to newspaper night workers and visitors of men’s club rooms. He did so well he started selling his eats and joe from a horse-drawn covered express wagon. This smart young man started something that would change the way Americans ate outside of their homes.
I’ll have the Blue Plate Special
The blue plate special is not limited to only diners and cafes, though their existence in the late 1920’s has become linked to the American diner. The “blue plate” was actually a plate manufactured during the depression. It was unique with it’s divided walls (much like a frozen foods container) for separate foods and blue color. The blue plate special is generally a discounted meal. Meatloaf, pot roast or turkey dinners included meat and a number of vegetables at reasonable prices.
Just thinking about diner’s makes me hungry. There is one diner close by that has the absolutely best deserts. The patron is paraded past the desert case to find your seating. It never fails to put you into a food coma as soon as you see the pies, cakes and sweets. A cup of coffee and a piece of pie sounds good right about now.