New Jersey is known as “the diner capital of the world.” Some may wonder what makes diners so popular and how do they stand the test of time, especially up against major chain establishments. Diners have a very specific feel that is often difficult to describe; the food, atmosphere, and people combine to make diners beloved meeting places in New Jersey.
The Food at Diners
The food at diners is simple. You can find all of the basics, from pancakes to burgers, and all of the traditional entrees, from meatloaf to roast turkey. Most diners also feature a variety of seafood and sautéed dishes, such as Chicken Marsala and Shrimp Alfredo. As diners make a continual effort to expand business, most diners employ an executive chef or the owner(s) acts as the executive chef. It is the responsibility of the chef to keep up with the latest food trends and add some innovative dishes to the traditional offerings on the diner menu. Diners also provide customers with very generous portions, although “mini meals” are also available for those who want to limit the portion size.
The Famous Counter Seating at Diners
The majority of diners feature counter seating, typically situated right as customers enter the diner. Kids walk into a diner and they are immediately drawn to the counter; this is most likely because the counter usually overlook the dessert case and feature old-fashioned swivel bar seating. The counter is where the locals and regulars sit; it is where locals meet up and catch up, make casual conversion, or discuss the latest town gossip or news.
The People and Atmosphere at Diners
Other than a wide variety of food choice at affordable prices, the atmosphere, which is largely created by the staff of diners, is the main reason for the popularity of diners. Although all the staff is required to be upbeat and friendly, there are no strict rules outlining what to say and how to say it to customers, which enables the servers to really get to know the customers. It creates a “family” and homey feel within diners. Within every diner, a server who has worked at the diner for at least 6 months will have regular customers, who always request their favorite server when they come into the diner. These relationships are essential to the diner business, but it is a lot of the reason why customers keep coming back.
There is also a relaxed feel within diners. It is a place where families and children are always welcome. Parents know the staff at diners will be attentive to their children, and parents do not have to worry about evil stares when they walk in with their young ones.
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