A diner is a particular kind of restaurant that historically sells plain, hearty American food quickly and cheaply. The diner takes several forms from railway dining cars to urban storefronts. Service counters with stools and booths are common to all diners. Of the more than 616,000 restaurants in the United States in 2013, few can be classified as true “diners.” This was not always the case, since before the 1950s, diners of various sorts were ubiquitous in North American cities and were to be found along many highways. Some appeared in Europe, most of them recent imports by restaurant chains. Diners were and, though much diminished in numbers, remain part of American folk culture. Edward Hopper’s painting called Nighthawks, depicting customers sitting in an urban ...

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