The classic diner helped shaped the modern restaurant industry and remains a American cultural icon.
You may have noticed that the classic diner is an endangered species in the restaurant world. At one time the familiar shiny rail-car style diners were found all around the country, but now their numbers have dwindled and many have been closed and demolished. The classic diner is an important part of American culture and history and these landmarks are worthy of saving.
The diner is a symbol of American ingenuity. When 17-year old Walter Scott first started selling food from a horse-drawn wagon back in 1858 he probably had no idea what would become of his simple effort to make more money. From his idea sprang not only a cultural icon, but an entire industry that would shape the way that Americans dine.
Classic diners became a symbol of comfort for the working class people who patronized them and a source of prosperity for the many people, especially immigrants, who owned and operated these establishments. They became the venue for the American dream to become a reality.
Classic diners provided jobs for many Americans, both within the restaurants themselves and throughout the manufacturing industry that sprang up in the wake of their growth. Diners opened their doors to women with newly gained rights and independence, who became important patrons and helped businesses to grow.
The architecture and décor of classic diners is culturally significant as well. Over the decades the look of diners evolved and now provides a glimpse into trends of the time. The trademark design elements; shiny chrome and stainless steel, glass bricks, bright colors, a long counter for service, and neon signs, have become a style of their own that is still mimicked today.
The food of classic diners is another important element in American culture. The comfort food that developed was representative of what Americans loved – simple, hearty meals that reminded them of home. Breakfast, burgers, fried chicken, sandwiches and blue plate specials were the cornerstones of diner menus and still remain favorites today. The food was served quickly so that people could get back to work and it was affordable, making the diner a haven for the average working American. Regional specialties were also an important part of menus and today some dishes can only be found in certain diners around the country.
At Gunther Toody’s we’re celebrating the spirit of the classic diner every day. From out décor to our menu and our prices and friendly service, you can enjoy a delicious taste of the past at Gunther Toody’s.