So how can you distinguish one diner from another? Clearly it’s not an exact science (like molecular gastronomy apparently) but it doesn’t hurt to establish some criteria. Ours is the YUM system. When we sit down to eat, be merry and review at Diners Without Frosted Tips here’s what we look at:
We’re talking about how the diner takes care of the customers and it breaks down to two basics – affordability and service. Friendly and efficient wait staff (extra points for character, cuteness and constant coffee refills) and a menu that doesn’t hurt your pocket (despite a breakfast special that will certainly kill your appetite) is ideal.
This breaks down to a diner’s specific ambiance. It’s open to major interpretation because you’ll want different things from a diner depending on your needs (breakfast, late night munchies, mid day lunch away from people). The main things to consider are decor (new or old, clean or seedy), hours of operation (breakfast only, 24 hours a day or something in between) and crowds (the must-eat breakfast joint in town or the hole in the wall no one knows about).
In the end nothing is more important to a good diner than the food. How big are the portions ? Will the taste have you becoming a regular? Signature dishes are taken into consideration but it’s important to do well with the diner staples (i.e. eggs) as well.
All that is taken into account to arrive at a diner’s overall score. It’s a numeric scale:
- An empty plate (Skip it.)
- Just eggs (Could’ve been better…)
- Basic combo (It’s OK – try it.)
- Pancakes with sides (Some days you’ll seek it out.)
- Robust breakfast platter(Go early and often to the point you can say, “I’ll have the usual.”)
Now, we’re no experts. This is just what we’ve come to look for in a diner after plenty of late night omelets and early morning short stacks. If you’ve got a suggested improvement to the method by all means share it (and proper credit will be given). Hell, we’ll likely even update this periodically to account for new factors we discover. Like a good diner, this system is flexible and hopefully can cater to many different populations.
–Diners Without Frosted Tips