Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mid-West Diners ......

Today, for research purposes only (ok, not only for research purposes) we went to Brint's Diner for breakfast. There were three reasons for this visit:

1. This week Miguel has a week off from chemo – today was only bloodworks – and he actually was interested in trying to eat food

2. Recently, The Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" featured Brint’s Diner and we were curious to check it out

3. Brint’s is a “Valentine Diner” - a unique mid-west historical building and we wanted to check it out……

Valentine Diners were created during the Depression in Wichita by Arthur Valentine. They were constructed as eight-to-ten-seat diners that could be operated by one or two people. The Kansas Historical Society explains:

If you were good at it--if you served good food at a fair price and kept your customers happy--you could make a successful business of a Valentine. In an industry where nearly all major diner manufacturers were on the East Coast, the Kansas creation managed to ship its little pre-fabs all across the country. Valentines could be found along major highways to attract travelers, in industrial areas to attract workers, and in small towns where they might be one of the only (if not the only) restaurants available.

A “diner” is derived from a "dining car," - to purists a diner can mean only one thing: a manufactured building, with a long counter and a few booths, that is transported to its site of operation. The stainless steel structures that provide us with the image we have of the classic shiny silver 1940s and 1950s eateries were produced on the East Coast. Valentine Diners are completely distinctive - small box shaped buildings, not fancy and not attractive.

These diners were designed to be easily moved on flatbed trucks. Inside, stools were placed around a counter, which kept the customer out of the work area. The early models had no booths, and the size and design of the diner depended on the type of business the owner operated; operators who were willing to provide curb service needed their pick-up window situated away from the cook and/or dishwasher.

Except for the Coca Cola memorabilia you could be stepping back decades when you go to Brint’s. Their speciality is Chicken Fried Steak (which I have never tried) - but as it was still the morning we opted for breakfast foods. Brint’s Diner - worth a visit………..

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