The diner is an iconic part of American culture, and its popularity has spread worldwide. It would be hard to find a town or city without one in many areas of the globe, and they are a destination date for young and old alike. So why do people love these catering establishments so much?
The retro Formica and chrome interiors and comfortable seats are part of the appeal for many. No doubt the menu offering simple but tasty food that appeals to our inner comfort eater is also part of the attraction. However, there must be something more at play that has elevated these eateries to cult status.
The first US diner opened in Providence, Rhode Island in 1872, in order to cater for the nocturnal workforce, the BBC explains. It was a converted railroad car that sold sandwiches, coffee, and pies, much like you might find a seaside caff in a converted shipping container today.
This launched a culture of 24-hour convenience food that has flourished ever since. During the World Wars, the cheap and satisfying food that was readily available at roadside stopovers meant that the diner survived and thrived. After WWII, many diners modernised their interiors, to adopt the leather booths, and chrome and neon look that is familiar today.
Diners gained a reputation for being democratic cultural melting pots, much like you find in old fashioned British boozers. The stools set along the bar could be occupied by anyone, from passing travellers, to lawyers and factory workers. The inclusivity is no doubt still part of the appeal of the diner; they cater for everyone.
It was during the 1950s that the American diner became truly fashionable, aided by the jukebox and the rise of dating culture. Ever since, the diner has been celebrated in American culture, from movies and TV to paintings. The much-loved eateries are now a firm favourite here in the UK, so if you are looking for lunch in Stirling why not check one out!