A server at one of my favourite diners posed this question a few week ago, “What’s the difference between a diner and a restaurant anyway?” Being a food fan, I figure this is a question I should know the answer to. Doing some online research unearthed some very interesting theories. Here are a few:
-a diner is open long hours, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner at any time
-a diner offers quick, affordable food
-a diner is a 1950s throwback that uses a skillet and fryer as primary cooking methods
-a diner comes prefab and is long and narrow so it can travel down the highway
Something else I hadn’t truly thought about is just how many options are out there. You can grab a bite at a cafe, diner, bistro, trattoria or a restaurant. The label used for the eatery seems to indicate theme/ethnicity, price, formality, speed and hours.
Back to the question at hand, I decided to see what Wikipedia had to say on the matter. For diners it seems that they were once prefabricated restaurant buildings, but now encompass all locales that serve similarly casual food and stay open late.
A restaurant, on the other, is a far more general term that covers just about anywhere you can get something to eat or drink.
And that’s my lesson for the day.