I love a good diner. I always have. When I was little my Grandmother's sister and her friends owned a diner..It was always so much fun spending time there. Fortunately for me, my friend Dina, loves a good diner also. So often when we go out on our Friday morning jaunts, we might end up in a diner if we come across one. This diner though, is special for so many reasons and I was just beside myself to be there. I was amazed at how many memories it stirred up for me and how nostalgic it was. Truth be told, I should have been to this one a very long time ago..but another truth, I'm so happy we were there on this day.
The Salem Diner is a historic Sterling Streamliner diner. It's one of only two Sterling Streamliners left in New England, The other Sterling is in Rhode Island. Sterling Streamliners were made by the J.B. Judkins Company of Merrimac, MA. They built diners from 1936 to 1942. It sits on it's original site on Loring Ave...just across from Salem State College. I was born and brought up in Salem, but until Dina and I went there a few weeks ago, I had never been inside this diner. After eating there and meeting the people, I must add it to my list of "should have done this sooner"...but then again, thankfully we made it before it was knocked down or fell down because it was really old in there but I was just so happy to be there.
So here it is in all it's turquoise and pink. Oh my, right out of the fifties. Everything and I mean everything, from the ceiling to the lights, the swivel counter stools, the counter itself and of course the booths. I'm not sure about the grill but I'll check that out the next time. For a full five minutes, I couldn't stop looking around and taking it all in. Do you know how rare this is, to find a piece of history still intact, and I was just so giddy about the color.
So here we are in the only booth left. I'm so happy we got this booth. We are actually sitting in the front of the Streamliner. Our table is in the middle of the front end, hence the shape. So there we sat, next to each other, the perfect spot for great people watching, counter talking and dishes flying out from the kitchen and grill. Check out the curtains, they look pretty original. Well, I did check out the curtains and it was pretty sketchy up there. I told Dina to have a look. We could see daylight and a few other things we didn't recognize...LOL, so we just looked ahead. We both had the homemade hash with eggs and it came with all the fixings...and my, my, it was so good. We both got the clean plate award.
Check out the menu...the prices are very good for all that food. I think we walked out of there for $20.00 and that included a good tip. Honestly, the menu design is straight from the 50/60's also. I wanted to take one home for old times sake but Dina wouldn't let me...
It was a special morning at the diner and although we were fascinated by the vintage feel of the place, there was also a sense of today there that you would not have found in the 60's. Kids still playing with their I-phones, and a take out order waiting to be picked up. You can hold on to the past but the here and now is always present, as it should be I guess. For me though, I loved being in a place that brought back the excitement of my youth, my high school years and talking to people who sat so close to us, eating their breakfast also and sharing our stories from the past.
So you might ask, why was this my first trip here. Why didn't we hang out here when we were young and this lovely diner was new. It's simple, we had no car and we had no money. This was not within walking distance to my house or my life. It was very much out of the way. Mostly though, back in my younger days, not many "regular people" went out for breakfast. Actually, we didn't go out to eat very much at all. Only on special occasions. As I look back now, I wonder where my Mom even got the money for those special dinners...that were eaten at noon time. By the way, noon time was dinner, five o'clock was supper. Hmm, I wonder when that changed. See what I mean, it brings back so much. Even still, the times we did go out were lovely and remembered, even today. Today, kids go out so much it's not special to them at all. More routine.
So that's my story for today...What I know for sure is, I will go back. I have to take Jim. We will have a great breakfast and I know we will spend our time there sharing old stories..only the stories that him and I will understand and laugh about. I hope we get to sit in the same booth that Dina and I did. If not for Yankee magazine last month I might not have made it here but I did and it was a wonderful trip down memory lane...one thing though, I do wish they had donuts and desserts. No Pie. Desserts are usually a highlight at most diners. I'm not going to tell them that though...
"A poet could write volumes about diners, because they're so beautiful. They're brightly lit, with chrome and booths and Naugahyde and great waitresses. Now, it might not be so great in the health department, but I think diner food is really worth experiencing periodically."