YEAH, BUT WE GOT DINERS!
There is the old joke that everyone asks “What exit?” when determining where you live in New Jersey. Actually some towns are not located near the Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway.
Transients claim New Jersey smells. It does smell if you travel through the oil refinery area of the Jersey Turnpike, but that is just a small part of New Jersey. There used to be pig farms and rendering plants in Secaucus which combined with the refinery was really pungent.
There is the “dirty water” cocktail rumor. OK, that one is true; some bars do water down the booze.
Go ahead, make fun of New Jersey, we don’t go to the beach, but we do have “The Shore” and we may not have fine dining, but we do have Diners.
I think New Jersey invented the diner, named as they were converted rail road dining cars. We have more diners per square mile than any other state. Diners are the best. If you’ve had too much to drink…a diner is the best medicine. Two eggs over, bacon, home fries, rye toast, coffee and you are good to go.
Here is what I love about diners:
They are open 24/7.
Their menus are over 8 pages; they have breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can order Italian, Greek, or just plain comfort cuisine, and you can order anything on the menu at any time of the day.
Diners are all family owned and operated by Greeks, I don’t know why, they just are. The owners never take any time off, they all work 24/7 and always welcome you with a smile. You can hear the owner yelling at everyone in the kitchen, and then he walks out and gives you a big smile and a hello.
The food is always reasonably priced…ok, cheap.
You do not have to order coffee at the diner, it is automatic and if you have more than two sips, the waitress spots it while walking by and tops off your cup. The waitresses seem to always be carrying a pot of coffee.
No matter what you order at the diner it is at your table ready to eat in less than five minutes.
All the waitresses at the diner chew gum, and they always call you “Honey.” If you are at a diner and the waitress does not call you “Honey,” you are not in New Jersey.
When you are done eating, they do not rush you out at the diner. You can talk and drink coffee for hours. On the way out there is always a toothpick and a bowl of mints after you pay.
Go ahead, make fun of New Jersey, but the next time you pass through, and most people only pass through New Jersey, take any exit, and follow that road until you find a diner…it won’t take more than a few miles, there is at least one diner in every town. Stop in and order lunch…or breakfast…or dinner, whatever. Eat, chat and enjoy the special cuisine and atmosphere that you can only find at a New Jersey Diner.
“Set on down, what can I getcha Honey?”
Tell them Cranky sent you.