The American Diner
Updated: Mar 15
I had to go and get my car serviced early this morning and when they said it would take an hour, the first thought that popped into my head was; BREAKFAST! The servicing location was way out in the suburb of Oak Grove just south of Portland, Oregon. I know very little about this area, so I had to search for "breakfast near me" in order to find the closest place for breakfast.
The closest place that offered breakfast was a little diner called "The Bomber." This place was nothing shy of adorable. It's in a small little modular building tucked away behind a gas station across an empty gravel lot right off of highway 99E. I got there right around 8:15am and it was already fairly busy.
It has a fifties feel to it and as you walk towards the back dining room it becomes apparent that there's a very devout theme of adulation to the pilots of World War II as well as veterans in general. It was almost like walking through a museum of history and art with mounted airplane parts and pieces, and hand painted murals dedicated to the war and the awe of the pilot's role in our armed forces.
It was locally owned and family run. I didn't even read any literature about the place I just simply enjoyed a meal there and got all of this information from the decor and the clientele. The service staff was cheery and friendly and knew mostly everyone's typical order as well as their name. It truly felt like home.
The food was basic diner food; omelettes, hash, biscuits, homemade jam, house made pies, all the meals you crave from a traditional diner serving the ever so trusty bottomless coffee. The coffee never ran out, I didn't have to ask for water. Even though the server was busy, he never failed to check back and make sure I had everything I needed. The service staff also had him well covered with coffee refills, paying of checks, bussing of tables. It was a well oiled machine. The food was exactly what you'd expect. Nothing out of the ordinary, but that's what I'm here to talk about.
There's something very inherently American about a diner. Looking back at my childhood, no matter where I was or what we were doing, a morning that included breakfast with the family at any diner, even Denny's was always a wonderful thing; road trips with my dad, after church with grandma, weekend brunch with my mom and sister. Diners are always there to provide an affordable and expectable nostalgic meal.
As I grow older, I often end up at diners on my own. I never feel out of place eating alone at a diner. It's expected even, and that's what makes it feel like home. The diner is casual, judgement free, and is a place of gathering for all walks of life. It's place where history lives through decor, art, exceptional service and the magic of togetherness.
The American diner is quintessentially what I think of as American. It doesn't have to be fancy, it's family and it's comfortable. It's a place where you can see the roots of American life more alive than ever. It preserves valuable history to be discussed over a traditionally gratifying meal. It's a historical and a true representation of the pride we all feel growing up in America eating at diners.
Long live the American family diner!