Diner food, architecture, and culture are alive and sizzling in diners throughout New England. Providence, RI, is the undisputable home of the diner. In 1872, Walter Scott, a worker at the Providence Journal, began selling food at night from a horse-drawn freight wagon outside the newspaper's building. Soon, entrepreneurs began buying streetcars and converting them to diners. The Worcester Lunch Car Company of Worcester, MA, built diners that opened all over the East. Fast food companies whacked the diners starting in the 1950, but a diner revival got underway in the 1970s. Today, hometown diners serve all the classics, with local flair: baked beans and Boston cream pie in Boston, blueberry pancakes and lobster rolls in Maine, maple syrup in Vermont. Find diners in CT, Maine, MA, NH, RI, and VT.
Blue Benn Diner 318 North Steet
You are in the soul of Vermont, so, clearly, the first choice for breakfast is blueberry pancakes and Vermont maple syrup. (Ok, the blueberries may have come from Maine.) The Blue Benn also is vegetarian-friendly, serving scrambled tofu, veggie enchiladas, and raspberry crunch french toast, nut burger, and vegetarian meatloaf. Portions are big and tasty. Plenty to entice full-fledged meat-eaters, too. Enjoy the nostalgic jukebox.
Chelsea Royal Diner
487 Marlboro Road
Hours: Open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
At the foot of Vermont's Green Mountains, the Chelsea Royal is a vintage 1938 Worcester Diner. The Royal Diner’s cuisine is high-end home style, with daily Blue Plate Specials, generous portions, and EASY pricing. Mexican fare is served Friday and Saturday evenings; prime rib is served Friday and Saturday nights with real mashed potatoes, homemade soups, breads, pies and desserts. Breakfast, featuring homemade pancakes and Belgian waffles, eggs Benedict, and the Cajun Breakfast Skillet, is served all day. Classic eats include foot-long hot dogs with fries, and double cheese burgers. Take-out is available for every item. April through October is the season for the Royal soft serve stand.
155 Bank Street
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
Treat your taste buds to a delicious meal at Henry's Diner with entrees including Belgian waffles. This family-friendly diner is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with almost everything made from scratch. This diner has been around since 1925. With several years of restaurant experience, our skilled chefs have been serving up the freshest food in the downtown at prices you can afford. Affordable prices, carry-out services
1696 Williston Road
The Parkway (a Worcester Lunch Car No. 839, for aficionados of the architecture) is a VermoNT establishment, so that means, first, you will find Vermont maple syrup, and, second, lots of the food will be locally sourced. Great breakfasts, eggs benedict on cheddar biscuits, corned beef hash. Popular with the local folk (always a good sign) and equally welcoming for first visitors. Open for breakfast and lunch.
590 Main Street
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
The Birdseye Diner is a 1940’s Silk City Dining Car manufactured in Patterson, NJ. It spent 18 years in service before returning to the factory for a face lift, adding more chrome to cover up the old fashioned wood. After the rehab it was brought to Castleton Vermont to replace the former Birdseye, a wooden diner that had burned. Today, the Birdeye chow is a staple of the community. Among the highlights on the menu are Birdseye meatloaf, Philly cheese steak, jumpin’ pepper jack flash, eggs benedict, buffalo wings, puddings and much more.
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Serving classic Vermont cooking with a few surprises, like the Cajun Skillet Breakfast, a short, tasty trip from sugar maple forests to the Gulf Coast bayous. Also displays the work of local artists.
Some diner slang –- like cup of Joe for a cup of coffee -- is mainstream American English, but much of this unique language appears only as background chatter in film noir. On your next diner run, try a few of these on your soup jockey , or waitress:
java = coffee
sun kiss = orange juice
baby juice = glass of milk
life preservers = doughnuts
Adam and Eve on a raft = two eggs on toast
blowout patches = pancakes with Vermont = maple syrup
Want your eggs scrambled? Tell the waitress to wreck ’em .
A shingle with a shimmy and a shake = is toast with jelly.
For toasted English muffins, say: burn the British.
If you are in the mood for risk, tell the waitress to sweep the kitchen or clean up the kitchen and she’ll bring you a plate of hash.
Lunchtime? Try a Noah’s boy = Ham on bread, or a ham sandwich.
For a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and onion, your waitress may tell the cook
to burn one, take it through the garden, and pin a rose on it.
cow paste for butter
dog soup for a glass of water
M.D. for a Dr. Pepper
sea dust for salt
Mike and Ike for salt and pepper shakers
If this list doesn’t cover your dining needs, the American Diner Museum can tell you much more.