Everyone has their favorite local diner. You know the one! It’s cute and tiny. A bit run-down, but totally lovable. It’s where you go to grab the best waffles in town, a killer milkshake or a delish cheeseburger. When you walk in, the theme song to “Cheers” plays on and on in your head– because they were right, everybody does know your name here. You’re not just a regular, you’re a menu expert. You don’t even need to check out the options. Order up!
My favorite diner, above and beyond all others, is the Shack, an East Lyme landmark. Once located in a legitimate shack, next to a run-down driving range, the Shack now stands amidst other small businesses in a strip mall. It’s an upgrade for some, but I can’t help but reminisce about all those times spent crammed into the original space. With a line consistently out the front door, locals know the Shack is the place to be on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Four summers ago, my two friends and I decided to embark upon what had at first seemed like an impossible endeavor. We were going to order the Mess– home fries, cheese, an omelette, cornbread and bacon combined. As the menu reads, “You don’t mess with the mess!”, and we weren’t sure that we could do it, on top of the pancakes and mac and cheese we had just ordered. After all, Caroline, Caitlin and I are the most delicate of all delicate flowers. How could we possibly…?
Well. We did. We finished it all. With surprising ease, and little to no grace. On top of that, we still wanted pie. (The purple shirts all the waitresses wear at the Shack temptingly read, “Life’s short. Have pie!”)
Once in a while, you’ve gotta hit up your local diner and pig out. If you’re ever in the area, I highly suggest stopping by
the Shack. You can’t go wrong with any choices, but I particularly recommend sharing the Mess with a friend. In our annual post-July Fourth slog to the Shack, nothing eases the pain like bacon, potatoes and cheese.
Do you have a particular diner you’d recommend to friends and family? Let’s make a nationwide list!