These places keep America running smooth, and I love them. Everywhere I go, I find them and I judge them based upon their home fries. Greasier is better. Salty is stellar.
I've been frequenting a local diner (by the way, real diners are only open for breakfast and lunch) for about six months now. A real gem in the rough.
The entryway is a bit dark due to the old wood-paneled walls. Sometimes I'm not sure if it's open, but the blinking Lottery sign in the window assures my appetite that it will be satisfied. On cold mornings, the inner portion of the window will be covered with condensation from the eggs, bacon and sausage that are cooking over open fire.
Beautiful imagery, really.
This place is legit. Here's why:
- The home fries are amazing.
- The owner has run shop for 37 years and has not aged.
- There used to be a beautiful mural of a beach scene (they've since brightened up the place by painting the walls white).
- You can order a burger at any time of day. So far I've had burgers at 6:55am and 9:30am.
- I learned about legit diners from my dad who eats a cheeseburger with his Coke every Tuesday around 9am.
- The nice waitress often fills my water glass with a Styrofoam cup. Don't know where it's from or who used it last. This is family-style service.
- My order has been memorized.
- They openly exterminate pests.
Several months ago, I was enjoying a breakfast sandwich at my diner. It was nine in the morning. I looked up from my treat and spotted a man walking around the perimeter of the room. Canister in hand. He was spraying the floor where it met the wall.
My verbatim stream of consciousness: "That is the exterminator. He is spraying for bugs. I am eating my sandwich just a few feet away from his poisonous spray. This can't be legal. I love it. I love this place."
Still, I thought it was a dream. I must have slipped into a grease-induced coma. It didn't help that he vanished into the kitchen and I never saw him again.
One may recall Upton Sinclair's The Jungle at a time like this, or maybe even the FDA. Proper "code" would be for extermination of pests to happen after the restaurant closes and within a certain number of hours before it opens. Proper concealment of the act of extermination that hints at the high probability of bugs/germs in all restaurants makes everyone feel nice and ignorant (though I will not deny the immanent threat to my health here).
I like transparency.
Last Friday, 6:50am, he showed up again. He was no illusion. I watched him spray down the dining room, then the kitchen, only to set down his venom and pull up a bar stool for all the fixins'.
"This really is the diner of my dreams," I thought to myself as I walked over and asked him to spray some beetle juice on my sandwich before I partook in its goodness.