“I need Adam and Eve on a raft, Noah’s boy, and a baby!”  If you heard that being shouted to the cooks in a diner it’s likely that you would be a little confused.  But in classic diner lingo, that means poached eggs with toast, a slice of ham and a glass of milk.


While the exact origin of diner lingo is unknown, many pop culture historians say that it can be traced as far back as the 1870s.  In post-Civil War America illiteracy was a widespread problem and it is believed that restaurant staff created their own way of easily communicating and remembering orders.  Diner lingo was most widely used from the 1920s to the 1970s and varied regionally and by establishment.  While diner lingo is not used as much anymore, some of the phrases have become commonplace such as, BLT, sunny side up, and cup o’ joe.


Here is a short list of phrases, in case you want to try them out at your local diner.


Frog sticks – French fries

Drag it through the garden – Sandwich or burger with all the veggies

Cow feed – Salad

Eve with a lid on – Apple pie

Wreck ‘em – Scrambled eggs

Stack of Vermont – Pancakes with maple syrup

Make it cry/Don’t cry over it Add onions/hold the onions

Cluck and grunt – Eggs and bacon