Here’s To Diners

Unless you’re within driving distance of I-95 and north of the Mason-Dixon Line (plus South Florida) you really don’t know what a diner is. I’m so sorry. You’re missing one of life’s true pleasures. Really.

Any meal, any way, 24/7/365. Baking on premises. Coffee bottomless. Greek spoken (fluently).

We had them in Queens. I loved them in Philly and South Jersey. I’m still smitten here in the Land of Steady Habits.

They are where road warriors have lunch. They are where the drunk and stoned have a bite and some coffee at 3:00 AM. And the Twin Pines Diner is where I had lunch with my buddy Bob this afternoon.

There are lots of tasty diners in Connecticut, but Twin Pines in East Haven is the benchmark for what diners are all about.

I walked in a few minutes before Bob and was taken to a small booth. The waitress came by, dropped a twenty pound menu on the table and waited for me to say, “Coffee, please.”

God, I love diners.

After a short grammatical discussion whether an item was “turkey bacon” or “turkey, bacon” (the latter), Bob ordered it. My meal was more predictable.

“How was the omelette,” Helaine asked when I came home?

The menu was superfluous. I might as well have walked in with a note pinned to my jacket. It’s always

  • ham and cheese omelette
  • rye toast
  • potatoes

As we ate I realized the real reason I love diners. They’re the best place to have a conversation with a friend… and where everything’s baked on the premises.

19 thoughts on “Here’s To Diners”

  1. When I was in College in Troy NY, we used to go to Lancingburg (East side of Troy) and go to the Miss Troy Diner. Best Greasy spoon in the State. Famous for the 3AM meals of Cheeseburgers on a grilled English Muffin and REAL hot chocolate made with milk. Don’t know if it even exists any more, but I share your love of diners.

  2. 90% of the time, when I go to a diner, no matter what time of day it is, I have breakfast. A spinach and swiss cheese omelet, home fries and wheat toast. And LOTS of coffee. You are right, there’s something about going to the diner with a friend….

    1. I’m sure it’s great… and I love the Greek Olive and Hamden Townhouse, but Twin Pines has the history and all the pieces. 50% chance the waitress will call you “Hun.”

    2. Another vote for Branford Townhouse. The true name is Branford Townhouse Restaurant. While not a diner, it sure is clean with good food. Haven’t had anything yet that was not good.
      Everything is made on site. The deserts are killers!

  3. Too funny, Geoff. I just had a conversation with my husband yesterday about there not being enough diners where I live anymore. Well, safe ones, anyway! We talked about how there isn’t anywhere to just meet up with friends for a quick bite or cup of coffee jn the afternoon to just “catch up” or late night when everything else is closed. It all feels kind of nostalgic just thinking about it. Maybe we will take a ride to East Haven!

  4. If you’re ever in northeastern CT, check out Zip’s diner in Dayville, a totally traditional diner car, with all the shiny stainless steel…inside and out. Plus the menu is absolutely nostalgic too….offering great breakfasts, turkey clubs, meatloaf sandwiches, fish & chips, grapenut pudding, coffee-milk, etc. The only drawback is that they close at 9 PM…..that’s when the small towns roll in the sidewalks!!! 🙂

  5. We’re regulars at the Parthenon Diner in Branford every weekend, sometimes more often. Everybody has their favorite diner, for one reason or another, but they all have a similar ‘ambiance’. To me, they are like home away from home – a casual and comfortable place to sit and relax and enjoy a good meal, whether it be with your family, or a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Personally, I’ll take a diner over a 5-star restaurant anytime.

  6. I love diners! Twin Pines was a staple back in my 20s but now Dad’s restaurant, although not a diner in the classic sense, has great food!

  7. If ever in VT my uncle has multiple diners and a bakery. Has the best breakfasts and. 50’s decor… Yes we are Greek 🙂

  8. @ Nicole, I’d love the name/s of your uncle’s diners & bakery! They’ll be added to my list of places to go next time we meander north to VT!
    Locally, we are regulars at Charlene’s Diner in Jewett City. While not a classic railroad car the food is diner perfect, it’s served with good natured attitude, laughter and endless coffee!
    Creature of habit that I am it’s always eggs benny and homefries with onions, crispy!
    Being a regular I don’t even need to say anything more than “The usual!”

  9. The Elm Diner in West Haven is our hang out. We’ve been frequenting this one for more than 30 years. I don’t even have to tell ’em I would like tea, they bring it Evey time I come in.

  10. Years ago, I vowed never to live anywhere that wasn’t within easy reach of a 24-hour diner. And Denny’s doesn’t count!

  11. Geoff,
    My girlfriend and went to Twin Pines this morning based on the recommendation you made on this blog. The food and service did not disappoint! I was very impressed with how fast their service was on a Sunday morning with most of the tables full.

    1. Thank heavens! I’d hate to be responsible for bad food.

      What could be better than breakfast at the diner!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *