The American Diner

The Salem Diner

Still in operation today!

It’s quite possible I have the internal hobo to thank for my love of the American Diner.   Flying solo down here in Los Angeles with no one to share breakfast and a surplus inventory of American Diners to experience is an absolute must.  The funny thing about finding them is [the diner] it does not pop up on your GPS as readily as say a Home Depot or a CVS.  Finding it is half the thrill, the other comes from sitting at the bar, taking in the atmosphere, listening to the regulars, reading the menus that almost always provide the same fare. ¶ Tracing back my love of the diner dates back to the early 1960’s.  As a young boy I used to help my dad deliver the morning Boston Globe and Record American.  His route would take us through the quiet little towns of Hamilton, Wenham, and Ipswich.  This little side job for my dad was seven days a week, so my alarm clock in the summer months was always set for 4:30 or so, and on the weekends.  I’d sit in the back of his convertible VW bug folding the morning paper as fast as possible before the first house on the route. ¶  I’m pretty sure my dad could feel the same level of excitement on Saturday mornings as we tossed that last Globe towards the door because we both knew our next stop was a favorite little diner of his in Hamilton.  The name of which escapes me, though this was truly the reward for the past two hours of playing paper boy.  In those days the diner was always full of men talking about whatever Boston sports team was in season, and debates on off track betting.   Sitting there opened my eyes to the world of male deliberations and I’ve never forgotten how special it made me feel.  Sundays were reserved for Dunkin’ Donuts where a dozen donuts cost .99 cents. I’d slip the change of 1 cent into the box full of crullers, honey dips, jellies and Boston creams for my brother and sister.  The two would later search of the penny, the winner of the penny would get the first choice of delectable delights awaiting them. ¶  If you search hard enough in the previous two-hundred and forty two posts related to this blog I can almost bet there’s mention to my lifelong dream of owning and operating a breakfast diner to serve a wide variety of dishes to the area working men and women.  ¶ According to Wikipedia, the diner itself originated on the east coast, though I will tell you as a resident here in Playa del Rey, CA there is no shortage of unique egg-dish eateries, not at all.  This morning’s list of to-do’s required a trip to the local CVS for some Velcro and with that out of the way it was time to use my internal Portuguese navigation to find just such an establishment.  ¶ Rolling along Sepulveda Blvd this morning I saw the sign which read “Dinah’s Family Restaurant” … the first good sign was the incredible difficulty in finding a parking spot.  This is where the happy hobo comes into play and if there’s a counter with stools present then I’m “all in!” ¶ Those regulars I listened to as a young boy were only a few stools down from me discussing muscle cars while giving the waitress a fair amount of good- natured ribbing on how they wanted their meals prepared.  ¶ The environment of the morning diner is alive and well out here and the two at the end of the counter are more than likely still sitting there.  Clearly neither of them is interested in the morning NHL playoff game between Chicago and Detroit. ¶  Bonnie and I chatted with each other this morning as her day was getting started.  We’ll be seeing each other soon for the Memorial Day weekend, and oddly enough the original plans for me heading north changed yesterday.  We learned a pretty special development taking shape next week which means all the girls will be heading my way … much more to discuss on this subject as it takes place. Oddly enough this blog for our special girl actually had something to do with it.  Is that enough of a tease?

Happy Birthday Grammy!

Keep her close.




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