TBD on Ning

In my Retirement group Gary Young brought up a subject that I think might merit some discussion.
Mom and Pop restaurants. Or local Diners.
What has happened to them? Why are they getting scarce? There are still a few here on the East Coast of Florida and they seem to do a great business, but most places I go they are hard to find. I wonder why? Any ideas?

Tags: Breakfast, Diner, color, food, local

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We still have a few of them here in Dickson, TN but I know they are becoming rare. I think it is just that they are being driven out of business by the fast food places and the big chains. Caleb and i go to a place called High Point all the time and it is always full at breakfast but there lunch and dinner business has really fallen off in the last year. Also most of the people who come there arer at least as old as I am. It is rare to see a young person there. Sure hope they can stay in business. I would really miss it.
It is just so much friendlier than the fast food and chains and the food is better too.
Sad to say, they're going the way of the full service gas station and the drive in movie. Last summer I traveled the east-west length of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and saw very few. The U.P. had lots of them not all that many years ago. At my final destination on that trip, Yellowstone Park, I did find a great one in Gardiner, Montana....the Town Cafe.

I guess when one factors in the ease and predictability of going to the chain restaurants, its a wonder there are any Mom and Pops left. I think most people traveling like to know what they're getting into, they don't want surprises. Its about discovering a little bit of Americana on the way that has driven me in most of my travels. And yes, I travel best by myself.

Now don't get me started on Mom and Pop motels and cabins. LOL!
Look a little harder, always stop where you see the 18 wheels.
I think that might depend on what part of the country you are in. Here in the East most areas where you find mom and pop places don't have room for 18 wheelers. Many places in Texas and the West do. I think part of the reason for their decrease is our obsession with quantity of food served. Quality is had to find at a breakfast bar, but all you can eat is easy. And at places like Denny's and Bob Evens you do get a good breakfast that is humongous. You can even get a "carry out" box. What you don't get is the talking and joking and human interaction that you often get in the local restaurant. As Pru clearly pointed out in her sardonic(notice I did not use the word "sarcastic") way.
Today's adults grew up with fast food chains, plus, the chains have the resources to drive mom and pops out. We have 3 mom and pops in our community of about 10,000 and only one chain, Subway. Believe it or not, McDonalds closed here last year. I forgot, we have 2 mom and pop pizza joints.

We gluttonous Americans expect lots and lots of food for the price. I guess that's why 2/3rds of us are overweight (Katie Curic told me that last night).

In my travels, I've seen restaraunts that are open for breakfast and lunch only.
Here in my little town, the greasy spoon, of which I write often, is closed for the winter. Its unclear at this point if it will reopen. The proprietress has about worn herself out trying to make a go of it. I'm able to make myself up a pretty fair greasy breakfast here at home, but there's only the two cats for conversation, and mostly they just hurl when I'm about ready to eat.

The rib joint, where I worked a little bit last summer, is closed for the winter. That isn't a Mom and Pop, nor was it intended to be. We also have an over priced deli, a so-so bar that likes to think its a high end restaurant, a pizza joint with awful pizzas and irregular hours, and a couple of latte joints where one could get a scone or two. Pickins' are pretty slim.

The next little town, about 15 miles down the road, has a whole slew of yuppie places. It also has a great Mom and Pop pizza parlor, and there's a good chinese restuarant there as well.

Oh, I see its lunch time....guess I'll make something here at home.
I have guest come in every night and ask"where is a local place I can get some good Virginia food"? I have to say after 6pm, it is not to be had. We have a couple place, but they close very early, and are off the beaten path. They want the local business, and thats it. It is either Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans. We have many local pubs--infact, one pays for our keys for an advertisement,and will give you a free hr of billards with the key. They serve food.
I think it would be useful if we listed some or our favorites local place we have come across. It could be a travel guide of sorts. I personally go out of my way when traveling to eat a mom and pop place.
Three of my favorites are:
Bailey's Restaurant off exit 108 on I 40 between Nashville and Memphis.
Mountain View Restaurant in Buchanan, Virginia off I 81, I can't remember the exit.
Jim Shaw's in Macon, GA, I would have to use the GPS to find it again.
I'm proud to say that I have not eaten from McDonald's, Burger King, Hardee's, Pizza Hut, Subway or most of the fast food chains in close to five years, unless you count the occasional Coke or an ice cream cone from DQ. (I'll never eat at a DQ. I briefly worked at one, and I know how they make their "food".) Every once in a while, I'll get in a hurry and stop at a Steak'n'Shake, but that's about it.

I go out of my way to track down independent, family / individually owned restaurants, including "ethnic" joints, and the recognition and greetings I'll get at any one of my regular joints is more than enough to offset the slightly greater cost. Besides, you're not going to be able to find a chorizo omelette or a good chicken fried steak at 6:30 a.m. at a Mickey D's, you can bet the bill on that.
Here in the Cocoa Beach area, there is "The Suntree Diner" on South Patrick Drive. It's not on Suntree Drive in the Suntree /Vierra area as you would think. It used to be, but that area got too upscale/yuppie and they moved over to South Patrick. They have regular clientele. Both locals(anyone who lives here year around) and snow birds. It is a very friendly place, they even have a picture of "Happy" on the wall. It is owned by a couple who are originally from New Jersey. The man is the cook and the woman runs the place. Oh! "Happy" isn't the only dog picture on the wall. There are probably a hundred there, but the owner ask for his picture and I couldn't refuse.

The other local diner that I like is a Greek restaurant . It is in Cocoa Beach up on Merritt Island Parkway and is named the Sunrise Diner. Notice a trend in naming places here? They serve good, prepared on site food to order. And a lot of time the cook comes out to talk to you. The waitress is a ageing hippy chick. As sarcastic as they come. Kind of like one of the restaurants I used to go to as a teenager.
We still have a few around my area. My favorite one is," Lucy's Garden of Eatin".




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