She almost didn't go in: the windows were shaded so there was no telling what was inside before actually going through the door, a definite turn-off. Oh, the things a DinerDiva does for the blog!
It was dimly-lit inside, the decor had a very worn, tired look in spite of the flat-screen-tv concession to modern diner life, and I spotted only two other patrons as I slid into a booth by the door. The waiter, a young man in jeans and a baseball cap, was johnny-on-the-spot with a glass of water and a menu, which he left me to peruse. The menu, too, seemed a bit worn. And tired. I probably should just order a burger, I thought, but I was really hankering for some nice crisp fresh veggies, so I took a chance and ordered the Chef's Salad, specifying no roast beef. Then hoped the veggies would not be as worn as the decor and the menu ...
The waiter took the order, took the menu, went to the kitchen in the back, and promptly returned with the news that they were out of turkey for the Chef's Salad. As I didn't want any roast beef, that left only those (possibly worn) veggies and some cheese ... I took the opportunity to order a well-done cheeseburger deluxe instead.
It wasn't at all a bad choice. The bun was something soft and nondescript, the pickle wedges limp and undistinguished, but the burger was well-done as ordered, the tomato slice juicy and the bit of lettuce fresh and crispy. The french fries were a real, welcome surprise, crisply well-done and scrumptious with an added sprinkling of pepper. In a word: yum!
One further test, however: apple pie. The waiter asked a question I considered to be a good sign: would I like it heated? Why, yes, I would. And so the pie arrived, well heated. Hot. Too hot. With a mealy crust. Oh, why oh why didn't I stop at the fries?
For a burger and fries, though, this place was just only fine. In fact, I'd definitely go back just for the fries. And a burger. At the counter. Replace the worn-out decor, and there you have quintessential Diner.