“Where everyone knows your name.”
~That’s from Cheers, asshole
Quiz time, America. It’s two in the morning, and you’re drunk…
No, stop…don’t interrupt us, we’re not asking what day it is or…
“If it’s two in the morning, and I’m drunk, it’s probably a Tuesday. Or one of the other days that end in ‘Day.’”
…No, we know, that’s why you read AFFotD, but you have to let us finish…
“Is it right now? Because I’m drunk right now.”
We sort of figured. No, no, we were trying to say, hypothetically…
“I don’t know anything about math.”
You’re thinking of the word hypotenuse. Try to focus. You’re drunk, it’s a Tuesday, and you need to eat some greasy…
“Diner! I’ll go to a diner!”
…Actually yes. That’s what we’re here to talk about.
Diners: American Drunk Food Delivery System
The first diner was created in 1872, but seems to resemble a food truck more than anything else. A man named Walter Scott worked at a printing press, and decided to sell food out of a horse-drawn wagon. Eventually, this spiraled to describe prefabricated restaurants, many of which have a distinct 50’s feel to them now. Yes, the “Diner” morphed from the “White House Café” wagons to the Worchester Lunch Car Company to a variety of unique prefab buildings that each had their own specific style and era. Many of them had neon. Those were the cool ones.
Pictured above: the past, being awesome
But while we could go on and on about the various nuances between styles and eras of constructed Diners (actually we couldn’t, our research staff got some online invite to something called a “rum fountain” and they bolted out of here so fast there are still a few chairs spinning) but we can go into why we love Diners. Because our list-writing staff had the good sense to come into work already drunk, so they have no need to dance in the rum fountain.
1. Diners are Quintessentially American.
That’s not even us making some hyperbolic statement, Wikipedia straight up says that.
2. Diners Are Open Late
America was founded by Puritans. That means that a lot of our laws were influenced by people who got kicked out of England for not knowing how to have fun. For those of you who don’t think that sounds too bad, that would mean that they didn’t really like drinking or eating in excess. We know, that sounds horrible doesn’t it? For whatever reason, that also got translated to “it’s sinful to have places open late to eat.” Think about it, in a lot of small towns and suburbs, if it’s after 11PM and you’re hungry, you’re shit out of luck. Why is this the case? Because apparently restaurants don’t want to make money at the advantage of drunk people, and they are fools.
Diners know what’s up. When it’s four in the morning, and the combination of tequila, beer, and Quaaludes you’ve had throughout the night doesn’t know if you want to eat breakfast, dinner, or the damn pig-men that have been chasing you the past three hours taunting you about the size of your dinner plate selection at home. And you’re gonna eat something goddamn it, but even if you live in one of those fascist towns where the Jimmy Johns closes earlier than 2AM (you know who you are) you know you can rely on Diners to get you food. Diners have their fingers on the pulse of America, they just can’t tell you what the heart rate is because there’s so much fat the fingers can’t really reach the artery. So they don’t know your resting heart rate, sure, but they know that you’re hungry. And they know what you’re hungry for, since…
3. Diners Know How To Do Drunk Food
As we all know, each time you get drunk is like a snowflake- there is no identical drunk feeling, and each has slightly different cravings. Did you drink a lot of cheap beer and just want to murder a cheeseburger? Diners have got your back. Had some shots of whiskey, chased with a few dark beers, and are feeling like some fried goddamn eggs? Yup, Diners can do that. Are you completely trashed on an assortment of possibly illegal liquors and you feel like the world will not be complete until someone fills a plate with hash browns and onions, puts two hamburger patties on it, tops that with two sunny-side-up fried eggs, and douses the whole thing in chili? Holy mother of fuck, yes, that exists, and you can eat it whenever you want. Diner food knows you better than you know yourself, and they won’t judge you if you decide that you really feel like having some scrambled eggs and a grilled cheese sandwich that’s been cooked on the same grill. Also not judging you would be…
4. Diners Employ Americas Most Grizzled Americans
What kind of man has gray hair, a low, gravelly voice, the demeanor of a man who possibly did some jail time in the 60s, and the desire to cook greasy food deep into the morning? Diner cooks, that’s who. When you encounter an American Diner cook, you are seeing some of the best traits of America. These are men that have lived harder, faster, and longer than anyone who walks into their establishment, and who decided that they want to make a living cooking eggs and burgers for drunk-off-their-ass 22 year olds. They could tell you stories that would chill you to the bone, but they won’t. They don’t give a shit. “What’s in the garbage omlete?” you ask. “Whatever we find in the garbage” they mumble, handing you a list of ingredients. “What’s a slinger?” you enquire. “Diet food” they say, tossing you a card describing the drunk-food monstrosity.
Yes, individually, the best aspects of Diners are great and American. But together, they form the founding fabric of our (drunk) society. And we couldn’t be happier to have them in our lives.