A Diner (American roadside diner or bar) is a prefabricated restaurant characteristic of the United States, especially in the northeast of the country, although examples can also be found in Canada. The term can also be applied not only to prefabricated structures, but also to restaurants that serve a type of cuisine similar to the traditional American diner, even if they are located in another type of building. In the American diners you will find a wide variety of food, almost entirely American, a relaxed atmosphere, a counter and open hours until late at night. The most classic models are also characterized by an exterior metal roof typical of diner architecture. The first historical record was a wagon equipped to serve hot food to the employees of the Providence Journal, in Rhode Island, in 1872.
Few places are emblematic and representative of the American society of the last century as the famous diners, those restaurants located on the side of the road, endowed with that particular and recognizable shape and decoration that we are tired of seeing in the movies. The diner's origins date back to 1858, when Walter Scott, a 17-year-old who worked as a part-time printer in Providence, Rhode Island, decided to earn a supplement to his income by selling sandwiches and coffee to the late-night newspaper workers and heads of men's clubs. But in 1872 the business became so lucrative that Scott quit his part-time job and began selling prepared food from an out-of-circulation train car that he had parked outside the Providence Journal office. In fact, Scott's choice (hence the shape of the diners, which are usually housed in prefabricated wagon-shaped structures) was inspiring, without the least suspicion, the birth of what was to become one. One of the most recognizable icons of XNUMXth century North America, the diner.
Created in 1996, the American Diner Museum has focused on preserving, disseminating and celebrating the historical and cultural significance of the Diner, an entire American institution. The museum, a website, catalogs and restores the most notable in the hope of recognizing and empowering the importance of diners, nationally and internationally. The American Diner Museum has played a decisive role in rescuing old diners that were at risk of being demolished, refurbished for another function, or simply because they were abandoned.
American diners almost invariably serve food like burgers, fries, and club sandwiches. Much of their food is made with grill or fried, highlighting the breakfast with eggs, waffle omelettes, pancakes, hash browns and toast, serving them throughout the day. Like the British greasy spoon, they accompany it with baked beans and Coleslaw (cabbage salad). In some cases there are dispensers or rotating counters with desserts. Some dishes in the diners are regional. In Michigan and the Ohio Valley, Coney Island-type diners serve coney dogs. In Indiana, sandwiches with fried pork are typical and in the Northeast there are fish and seafood, such as fried Maine prawns. In Pennsylvania the cheesesteak sandwiches and scrapple are fixed. In the Southwest, it's tamales and grits, biscuits and gravy, and country fried steak. In New Jersey, the "Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese" sandwich is very common. American coffee, with plenty of water, is everywhere. Many diners do not serve alcoholic beverages, although cheap beer and wine are found in most of them. Desserts include a wide variety of cakes, mainly apple or cherry and New York cheese.
In many cases the ethnic influence is seen: in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, they are run by Americans of Greek origin or Polish, Ukrainian and Eastern European Jews, with which the menu is expanded with moussaka, Slavic blintzes and Jewish matzah soup.