Amy Mackelden
November 08, 2015 5:00 am

Americans are lucky for a million reasons, one of them being that diners are commonplace and can be found everywhere. In England, where I live, diners don’t exist. Sure, a chain of restaurants styled as diners have started to pop up in major cities, and while this is welcomed, it lacks the personality diners are meant to have. I’d always thought each diner would be themed, like this one in Paris, or the one in A Cinderella Story where everyone wears roller skates.

A few years back, a “greasy spoon café” in the town where I live got renovated and turned into an American Diner! You don’t know how excited this made me. Complete with booths and jukebox, an open kitchen, and fifties style outfits, it’s totally unique for its location. Earlier this year, two of my friends took it over. Both had spent ages working in customer service jobs, gaining the necessary business acumen to become lady bosses. And they were sure to kill it! Biased bestie here.

They’ve also hired another of our friends to be a chef, and even though I don’t officially work there, I often think that I do, propped up for hours at the bar with my laptop. It’d make the best setting for a sitcom – think 2 Broke Girls but British and minus the cupcakes. Because I spend so much time there, I wanted to detail everything I’ve learnt being an observer, and all the amazing things they do everyday.

One thing is completely clear. People love eating in a diner. There’s something so unique about eating in a theme diner that you won’t get elsewhere. For starters, the burger names are super cute. How could you not want to order the Chilli Cheeseburger or a Breakfast Burger? And if you’re feeling brave, finish The Burger Challenge and get your photo on the wall.

The jukebox plays vintage tunes all day long, a totally welcome change to hearing chart hits in every other shop. Who wouldn’t want a bit of Elvis and chill with their coffee instead of hearing that song that’s on TV every ten seconds right now? Listening to the classics is way more relaxing, and transports you to another world.

If you’ve worked in fast food restaurants before, you’ll know the crazy kinds of things you’re made to wear – baseball caps indoors, special shoes, brightly-colored shirts – so diner-wear in comparison is totes chic. Anything with a fifties flare, including pop socks, skirts, mid-riff shirts, and hair pinned back all curly. The uniform is #OutfitGoals, and has inspired me to start shopping vintage again.

One thing I totally miss about working in a restaurant or in retail is the camaraderie you get with your co-workers. Do they annoy the hell out of you sometimes? Sure. But do they also give you leftover peanut butter and banana milkshake when they make too much. Yes, yes they do!

My friends have run so many parties at the diner, and I’m super envious of anyone that’s had a birthday there. Attention to detail is key, and my besties, the boss ladies, put so much effort into making their parties legendary. Whether it’s crafting personalised table settings, ordering bespoke balloons, or creating honorary milkshake names, they’re always thinking up new ideas to make events magical.

It’s important to have that place, that you can go at any time and be greeted by people who know you and what your regular order is (Mint Choc Chip Latte, please!).

(Image: Warner Bros.)

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