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Madison/Wisconsin Diners

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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby MadMind75 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:42 am

hellogoodbye wrote:This is an example of the true east coast diner that MadMind75 is looking for: http://www.broadwaydiner1.com/

Paging through the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives book, a few other good examples would be The Eveready Diner in Hyde Park, NY (which Guy calls "the Taj Mahal of diners"), The Dining Car in Philadelphia, PA, and The Marietta Diner in Marietta, GA. All open 24 hours a day, all serve breakfast any time of day.
I don't know why this formula didn't carry over to many diners in the Midwest. I mean we have diner car diners that close at 2pm, or fifties-themed diners that have standard restaurant hours which do not serve breakfast all day. It's like if they get one thing right they're sure to get the other one wrong. It seems so simple. I guess all Wisconsin will ever have serving this niche is Denny's, Perkin's, IHOP and George Webb's.
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby Thusnelda » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:33 pm

If a lack of diners around here means that Guy Fieri and his stupid backwards sunglasses will stay away, I'm happy to keep it that way.

I agree that you're romanticizing the idea quite a bit; would you rather have retro uniforms and endless sock hop music, or good food and good service in a decent atmosphere that's either plainer or a bit more unique? What, is the Tilted Kilt not doing it for you these days?

There are a number of the Greek/Albanian places around here, including the Spring Garden in Mount Horeb, Copper Top next to Vitense, and many more (I think Parkway counts in this category, as well as Dairy Land on Cottage Grove Rd.). Their actual Greek offerings tend toward the middle-of-the-road, like spanakopita and gyros (or anything with gyro meat), but they're still good.

The Eveready Diner in Hyde Park is, indeed, quite good; very bright, huge menu and tasty food. Walkable from the Quality Inn directly across from the FDR National Historical Site (and the roller rink).
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby MadMind75 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:23 am

I want a diner that mainly serves American food at down to earth prices, serves breakfast all day every day, stays open 24/7, and is NOT part of a national chain or a truck stop or some corny-ass fifties themed joint with kids runnin' all over the place. Capiche?
And are any of those places you mentioned open all night? I think not! I want to be able to go out and get breakfast at 4 in the morning if I feel so inclined.
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:34 am

Yeah! American food! Capiche? Y'know, like hot dogs and hamburgers and pancakes and waffles!

Because if there's one word to sum up MadMind, it's "romantic."

Plus, having kids runnin' around all over the place totally kills his boner for the waitresses.
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby boston_jeff » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:50 am

I totally get what MadMind is passionate about and I agree, it is a hole in our local restaurant scene. A key ingredient to diners is late night hours and breakfast all-day. Mickey's Dairy Bar is the only place in Madison that meets the classic definition of diner, expect for the hours and the lack of a prefab structure (and alcohol service if that's how you like your diners--I don't think alcohol is necessary). And yeah, those Food Fight joints are terrible imitations of diner food/culture IMO. You can love the veggie meatloaf all you want, but that's no diner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diner

Everyone else, relax. You don't have to get defensive every time someone criticizes Madison or WI or asks if (insert cuisine here) is available or wants to debate about what constitutes said cuisine. Madison is a great town and it has a very nice restaurant scene, but its never going to be all things to all people and there will invariably be gaps. Its the same with any city.

Been to lots of diners all over the US and recently read an interesting article about a Worcester, MA company that built over 600 prefab diners in the first half of the 20th century and the few that remain in MA:
http://www.boston.com/travel/explorene/ ... er/?page=1
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby Rosemary » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:12 am

Bostonjeff, one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicians wrote a song about those very same diners.

http://www.lyricstime.com/martin-sexton ... yrics.html
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby ilikebeans » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:24 am

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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby boston_jeff » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:10 pm

Rosemary wrote:Bostonjeff, one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicians wrote a song about those very same diners.

http://www.lyricstime.com/martin-sexton ... yrics.html


Great stuff, not heard that one before.

The Pig and Whistle was the local aluminum prefab diner back home. We also had plenty of Greek breakfast/lunch counters. Same type of diner food, breakfast all-day (with daily specials--stuffed peppers, Moussaka, etc), but usually not open after dinner time. The Grecian Yearning in Allston and the Busy Bee in Brookline were my favorite. Nick's on State reminds me a little of those places.

Sadly, only the Bee is still open:
http://www.allmenus.com/ma/brookline/26 ... rant/menu/
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby evansvillehousewife » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:56 pm

Three pages and no one MENTIONS George Webbs? For real?
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:05 pm

I think there's been a mention on every page.
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby MadMind75 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:20 pm

boston_jeff wrote:I totally get what MadMind is passionate about and I agree, it is a hole in our local restaurant scene. A key ingredient to diners is late night hours and breakfast all-day. Mickey's Dairy Bar is the only place in Madison that meets the classic definition of diner, expect for the hours and the lack of a prefab structure (and alcohol service if that's how you like your diners--I don't think alcohol is necessary). And yeah, those Food Fight joints are terrible imitations of diner food/culture IMO. You can love the veggie meatloaf all you want, but that's no diner.

Everyone else, relax. You don't have to get defensive every time someone criticizes Madison or WI or asks if (insert cuisine here) is available or wants to debate about what constitutes said cuisine. Madison is a great town and it has a very nice restaurant scene, but its never going to be all things to all people and there will invariably be gaps. Its the same with any city.

THANK YOU!

TheBookPolice wrote:Yeah! American food! Capiche? Y'know, like hot dogs and hamburgers and pancakes and waffles!

That's so "BookPolice" to try and make a point with the etymology of foods which have become ubiquitous with American cuisine. Get over yourself!

TheBookPolice wrote:I think there's been a mention [of George Webb's] on every page.

And if I hear anymore gushing about Cleveland's... :evil:
Cleveland's, Clevelands?, Cleveland's becoming a Greek Restaurant?
Broadsheet wrote:
iwiw99 wrote:
Average Joe wrote:The closest thing to a true greasy-spoon diner in Madison's recent history was Cleveland's.

Clevelands Lunch was a good diner.

Don't forget the late, lamented Cleveland's Lunch on Wilson Street.

Yeah, it was so great that everytime I walked by it it was closed for the day.
Last edited by MadMind75 on Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby MadMind75 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:59 pm

Thusnelda wrote:If a lack of diners around here means that Guy Fieri and his stupid backwards sunglasses will stay away, I'm happy to keep it that way.

Your next challenge is called the "cock squat". You've got a minute to win it!
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby arjjonath16 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:03 pm

Thusnelda wrote:If a lack of diners around here means that Guy Fieri and his stupid backwards sunglasses will stay away, I'm happy to keep it that way.

I agree that you're romanticizing the idea quite a bit; would you rather have retro uniforms and endless sock hop music, or good food and good service in a decent atmosphere that's either plainer or a bit more unique? What, is the Tilted Kilt not doing it for you these days?

There are a number of the Greek/Albanian places around here, including the Spring Garden in Mount Horeb, Copper Top next to Vitense, and many more (I think Parkway counts in this category, as well as Dairy Land on Cottage Grove Rd.). Their actual Greek offerings tend toward the middle-of-the-road, like spanakopita and gyros (or anything with gyro meat), but they're still good.

The is, indeed, quite good; very bright, huge menu and tasty food. Walkable from the Quality Inn directly across from the FDR National Historical Site (and the roller rink).



Well, I agree of that, Eveready Diner was a great place to go for breakfast or lunch. The decor is retro, and the service staff are helpful and efficient. The portions are large and it's a good place to go if you're hungry and in the area. :D
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby McSwain » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:06 pm

I grew up in Chicago and Gus' would fit right in. Sorry its not open 24/7 but you can get breakfast all day. The food is good and the prices reasonable.
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Re: Madison/Wisconsin Diners

Postby MadMind75 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:12 am

Finished reading 'An East Side Album', and noticed that back in the mid-20th century, there was a streetcar restaurant named 'The Spot Lunch' at 640 Williamson. Kinda cool.
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