Is there anything more American than a movie scene of a 24-hour-diner, a motel or a laundry?
This is what we’ll be talking about in the following lines: about one of the most worldwide icons of the yankee culture: the DINER.
Neon lights, padding Cadillac-shaped sofas, unending counters, rounded padding bar stools, jukeboxes playing 20’s and 30’s classic melodies, waitresses wearing mini-skirts and pastel tones everywhere.
We are referring to these 24-hour-locals spread over the neighborhoods of New York offering opulent menus of extra-large sandwiches, hamburgers, combination plates, desserts… All this information would be an anecdote if it was not because the origin and history of diners are, at least, curious.
Today we are used to finding diners spread over European cities which are, to be frank, restaurants with retro look, citing as example Tommy Mel’s in Madrid. However, did you know that the very first American diners were really classic prefabricated wagons with an art deco look parked in the middle of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan? YEAH, WAGONS!!! Though their past goes back even farther…
Providence. 1858, a seventeen-year-old guy sold sandwiches and coffee to the workers of a nearby journal. As the number of customers increased unexpectedly, he decided to park a horse-car next to the Journal place. And it was like this that the concept of diner was born.
Despite its originality, diners have had their ups and downs. Thus, its golden period traces back to the 20’s and 30’s, where the effects of the Great Depresion and the hunger favored the cheap prices of the dishes offered in the menus. During the 50’s they lost their strength and only one decade after we can talk about their reinassance.
Nowadays, we can find diners more frequently in any other city that is not only the Big Apple. They usually offer varied menus with expensive prices, although it’s worth the experience of seeing a couple of dancers imitating John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John while you are tasting a mini-hamburger and a delicious milkshake…