Helpful Definition for: Diners
Diners were originally railway cars designed for eating. Today, diners are informal and generally inexpensive restaurants which are often housed in prefabricated buildings resembling railroad dining cars, and are found predominantly in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Midwestern United States. Most diners feature counters, booths, a decidedly informal atmosphere, and late operating hours (some diners are open around the clock). Diner menus are large and varied with an emphasis on regional American cuisine, grilled foods such as hamburgers, breakfast dishes, and the ubiquitous bottomless coffee cup. Desserts such as pies and cakes are typically displayed in clear cases on or behind the counter. The art deco-style diners of the early 20th century and the stainless steel and neon diners of the 1950s have become icons of Americana. Newer diners often look more like regular restaurants, but many incorporate elements of the older diners such as porcelain enamel, terrazzo or tile floors, glass blocks, formica, stainless steel, and neon trim and signage.