I happened to spend the last few days on the upper east side. Each time that I needed a coffee or something to eat, I walked over to a diner. Convenient. Also, empty. I am predicting the end of the diner. Just an observation.
Recently, a diner that we used to get the most incredible fresh turkey sandwiches from before heading out of town with our friend, closed. There is another diner that I used to frequent uptown that I won't even bother walking into anymore. Why?
The diners are stuck in the past. The menus are the exact same as they have always been. 1/2 Dry Roasted Chicken ( I tossed in the dry ), over cooked burgers, awful coffee, and the old chunks of iceberg lettuce with old tomatoes and a can of tuna on top. The waitstaff is still wearing the same outfits from the 50's.
There are a few diners who have made themselves more kitschy which certainly appeals to some. I am talking about the long narrow diners with a long counter and and about 10 tables that haven't been updated in 20 years. Certainly a few will survive if their patrons children continue to feel loyal and the food is actually good.
If the diners, who have had their leases for god knows how many years, want to continue to survive and make money, they need to change. Renovate, change the menu and for god sakes, get some decent coffee beans.
Otherwise, I do predict the end of the diner era.
Try the diners in Jersey. I recommend the Pilgrim Diner on Rte 23 in Cedar Grove or the Ritz in Livingston, but there are a ton of other good ones as well. Malibu in Hoboken, etc. etc.