I embarked on a lunchtime adventure today at work. I forgot to bring food from home, so I decided to visit a nearby bar in Superior, Wis., owned by a friend of a friend. I discovered the bar didn’t serve food. Since I wanted to be able to think and continue working during the afternoon, I opted against a liquid alcohol lunch. I visited a diner a few doors down.
I love diners. They each have distinctive personalities and they’re always very “human”—reflecting the local culture. This one was no different. Mickey Mouse memorabilia provided the main décor theme, with a few other classics thrown in, including the “old man praying with bible and bread” picture (I think it’s called “Grace” or “Daily Bread,” or something like that). An interesting combination, I must say. I remember the old man artwork from my youth. I suspect one set of my grandparents displayed it in their home. I would never have thought to hang him next to Mickey Mouse.
A respectable number of people filled the booths. They were older and had the look of locals – casual dress, boots, and warm winter jackets. They looked like people who had been coming to this diner for a long time; people who could go elsewhere – to a franchise eatery or a fast-food restaurant, but they chose this place because it’s familiar and it’s in their neighborhood. They rested in their seats like birds home from a long migration.
The waitress looked like she’d seen better days. She was skinny with graying hair, a hangdog look, and walked with her hands stuck stiffly into her fleece jacket pockets, elbows locked. The food was good, though, as it usually is in such establishments. This diner served breakfast all day, so I got my favorite two eggs over-easy with sausages and hash browns. Hold the toast. What I liked most is that the hash browns were fluffy – not bogged down with grease. It proved to me once and for all that local diners do not survive on their décor alone.