This month we’re celebrating an American institution: the Diner.
Diners loomed large in my adolescence. They were where everyone went after “going out” ( which often consisted of waiting until it was late enough to go straight to the Diner). I was recently home for my 20th high school reunion and a bunch of us ended our night at the Diner (that’s THE Diner, OUR Diner, not the other one). We were rather cruelly seated at a table next to a gaggle of teenagers in their “Shoreline Champions” warm-up suits, left to reminisce about the good old days when we never got tired and nothing ached when it rained.
Since I moved to NYC Diners have become my personal satellite offices. My two favorites are: City Diner on Broadway and 90th Street where my colleagues and I have adapted several scripts for our allegorical Shakespeare company; and Tick Tock on 8th Avenue and 34th street where every young theatre maker studies lines and holds production meetings for performances at one of the many nearby theatre companies.
In addition to the large booths and tolerant wait staff, I can also highly recommend the Motzah Ball soup at City Diner. The Motzah balls are light, but textured and the substantial broth is buttery and full of dill. At Tick Tock I always go for the Greek Salad which is large enough to feed a Greek chorus and comes with fat triangles of Feta and an herby, picante vinaigrette. Unless, of course, I go for the BLT on toasted rye, which is a trusty stand-by at both sites.
As important as it is for each of us to find THE Diner, it’s equally important to find OUR standby menu item. Whoa to the indecisive consumer who, in a panicked wave of overwhelmed-ness, orders the Fettuccini Alfredo. A large Diner salad might take you a few dollars over our max budge of 10 bucks, but you might very well get two meals out of it. The soups and sandwiches run from $3.50-$5.95, with unlimited saltine crackers.
Let us know your favorite port in the storm.