Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Jersey Eats

There is a curious culinary phenomenon in New Jersey and the east coast which people here call 'diners'. Diners seem to be defined by their small locations, late hours, and extremely eclectic menu. Although I'm sure there are some exceptions, these small, local restaurants have turned their nose up at the stereotypical restaurant model of drawing in customers with delicious food. Despite their inability to create delicious food, diners litter the landscape by the hundreds here. They remain so popular because people don't go to diners for the food, they go for the company.
When you're at a diner everyone there is your friend. The first diner I ever went to I felt immediately at home. A few minutes after we sat down I asked a woman who had just entered if she could take our picture. This sparked a conversation and soon the entire diner was involved. Later a gentleman came in and sat behind us with a couple already there. He had never met them, but he was instantly welcome at their booth as if he were an old family friend. I've never been anywhere as unconditionaly welcoming and friendly in my entire life.New Jersey is the diner capitol of the world. For it was here diners were born and there are still more diners in Jersey than any other state, not more diners per capita but more diners total. Fairly impressive when you realize that new Jersey is the fourth smallest state in the union. So if you're ever in New Jersey, do yourself a favor and stop into a diner. You'll be glad you did.

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