Just ate some leftovers from earlier in the evening (yes, I know this is why I am fat, because I eat late at night, fuck off and die), and all I could think about while eating them was what I would give to be at a greek diner in upstate NY right now.
Part of my misbegotten youth was spending summers in Poughkeepsie, NY working and living with a buddy, and one of our payday treats, after a night of what I always charitably refer to as street pharmacology and Genessee beer, we would hit the Acropolis Diner and I would always order the same thing. A grilled reuben sandwich, french fries with gravy, coleslaw, a dill pickle, a pint of whole milk but only if it was ice cold and not that weak-ass 2% shit, and a mug of root beer. It was heaven.
Greek diners up there were ubiquitous- I mostly ran in Po-town, Verbank, Milbrook, Wappinger’s Falls, Fishkill, and Hyde Park, but these diners were everywhere. Never understood why you don’t find them down here, because they would make a killing.
I find this troubling.
We have Greek diners in Northern Virginia. They’re not as ubiquitous as in New York and New England, but they do exist. Next time you’re in the DC area, go to the Amphora in Vienna or Herndon, and you’ll feel right at home.
I’ve often gotten the reuben, which is excellent, but my default go-to meal there is a ham and swiss cheese omelette and a plain bagel with cream cheese. Yum!
What on earth was there to do in the summer in Poughkeepsie? Well, other than street pharmacology, Genesee and diners (isn’t the Acropolis the one at the east end of Main Street where 44 and 55 split off?).
My favorite place to eat in Norman when I was at OU was The Greek House right up n Campus Corner. I’d always get the Gyros plate, it was $5.95 tons of the meat, freshly shaved, tzikati (sp?) sauce, french fries, a grilled pita cut into wedges and Greek salad, with real chunks of feta. I’d get that and an iced tea, w/ free refills and pig out and would only have to eat once that day. I try to get back there every time I go back to OK to visit family. And up until a few years ago, it was owned by the same old Greek couple who had always owned it. They opened sometime in the late 70’s I think. But they retired and sold it and the new owners kept the menu and recipes, but the price went up a bit.
My son and I tried to go when we were there for Thanksgiving, but because there was no home football game, the owners closed the restaurant for the week. Not that I can blame them, but dammit, it made me sad. And I was being all sorts of a pout baby. Even after we discovered a brewpub on the other end of Campus Corner and had a great meal and some excellent microbrews. Well I did anyway, he was on pain meds from his motorcycle accident so he wasn’t drinking.
It’s called The BlackBird and was really nice, if you ever get to Norman. The pizza is very good and my son loved the Basque Seafood Stew. And I can rec. the Pilsner and the Wheat beers.
James E. Powell
One of the things I miss about my beloved hometown of Cleveland was the many Greek-owned 24 hour diners. They were usually named after a person – George’s, or Diana’s – or the street. The owner would be out front talking to customers, lamenting the decline of Western Civilization. His daughter ran the cash register while his wife is in the kitchen striking holy terror into the cooks. One place, Michael’s, every Thanksgiving they serve free all day to whoever walks in the door. Breakfast 24 hours. Steam table dinners like meatloaf, green bean and mashed potatoes. Gravy on everything. There is nothing like this in West Los Angeles.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
And here I thought french fries and gravy was a Baltimore thing. We don’t have a lot of Greek diners, just the usual, but there’s a Greek Orthodox church up the road in So PA that does a fundraiser every year. The food is great, but the desserts???? Whoa.
What you need is a Greek girlfriend, Cole. My matchmaking skillz are a little rusty but I’ll see what I can do.
We go to the Vienna one, 5 minutes from our house, all the time. eedad even has a little frequent flyer card thingy.
This is possibly the coolest thing ever. Musically, that is. Generation spanning and still cool. This.
Also too I shall take this opportunity to note that my own Greek family never did own a diner, alas for us.
@Omnes Omnibus: Okay since no one else has posted…. I found this.…
I went to a Greek restaurant once that did whole production number, dancing waitstaff, smashing vast quantities of plates. Fun, and pretty good food, as I recall, but it’s been many a long year now.
My papou did own a diner, and none of his kids were remotely tempted to take it over after being made to work in there after school. It’s my personal impression that most Greek parents did their best to keep their kids out of the restaurant business and pushed them to do something less stressful with their lives.
Most Greeks ended up in northern cities because that’s were the jobs (and the other Greeks) were – I’m one of three family members not living in and around NYC or retired in FL, for instance. Unlike everyone else from Europe that could be more or less comfortably accommodated in existing churches, Greeks were the first Orthodox Christians to show up in most of America, so having a large enough community to support a church was important for most people. Also, Greeks that tried to settle in small towns in Appalachia or the South during the 1900s-1920s would sometimes have run-ins with the Klan for not being sufficiently white or protestant.
Today’s Google Doodle commemorates the 107th birthday of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. Although I never met Admiral Hopper, having spent most of my career working on compilers and being on the ANSI COBOL Committee for a few years, I met several people who did. They all had stories about “Amazing Grace”. A remarkable woman.
There’s a bug in the code displayed in the doodle. Given that she is credited with being the first person to apply the word debugging to computer programs, I think it’s intentional. However, depending on how the variables are declared, the code may still give the right answer.
@Omnes Omnibus: Every now and then, maybe once or twice a year, I bring in close some artist/band that I’ve kept at a greatest hits distance (or further) for a deeper listen. A few weeks ago it was Elvis Costello. I listened to his first five albums over two days.
Holy mothers in treetops was that painful…it made trudging through the Steely Dan discography seem like a cakewalk. The next few days after were spent expelling Elvis from my system with heaping portions of krautrock and jazz noodles. I have no idea where my twenty five-year-old Elvis Costello greatest hits CD is, but I’m sure that’s right where it should be. Fuck that guy.
Greek diners are still ubiquitous here in North Jersey… a town needs a Dunkin Donuts (or 2), a bagel shop, a pizza place (non-chain, probably doesn’t deliver), and a diner to be fully functional. Besides a few unbeatable specialties (Reuben, yes, corned beef or pastrami, real sammich or open faced, all iterations are good), the most amazing thing to me, as a transplant, is the sheer SIZE of the menus. Breakfast (all day), two pages, page of sandwiches, page of dinner entrees, page of Greek specialties, sometimes a page of Italian specialties, multiple soups and salads. The good ones also have a full bar.
Portion-sizes are also non-trivial. If I could have brought my cross-country runner friends to one of these joints back in high school, we could have done feats of gastronomic strength (that they would sing songs about, Mr. Frodo!), but as a 40-year-old human, I usually have to take a doggie-bag home if I wanna finish something.
Well, now I’m hungry.
@HL_guy: Greeks are also ubiquitous in North Jersey. It’s where I go home for Christmas.
The bar is just to make money – but serving as many dishes as you can is a point of pride. 24-hour breakfeasts are good business. And letting any guest leave hungry, from your restaurant or from your home, reflects poorly on the cook.
On a marginally related note, good Jersey pizza is one of the few bits of American cuisine that deserve fifteen minutes of fame, but haven’t received it yet.
@HL_guy: grew up in NJ but have been away for a dozen years now. I look forward to trips home in part for the great diners. And yes the menus are insane
What, no cheese on those fries-with-gravy?
(Real cheese, this isn’t fucking poutine.)
There’s a diner near me called “the California”, so named because the owner is from here.
The amount of calories you eat matters, not the time you eat them. Though I do find it harder to sleep if I eat to close to bedtime.
@Hal: It helps if you get up off your ass and DO something!
@Omnes Omnibus: i know. I felt sick just reading it.
Now I get it John, she doesn’t look at all like you. :-)
In RI, Greeks own many pizza parlors and some wiener (sp?) joints- ‘New York System Wieners’ especially. A Greek immigrant invented the ground meat sauce that tops the wieners. Called ’em New York System because he thought ‘New York’ had cachet. If you visit and try them (the restaurants are everywhere) never ever put ketchup on a wiener. You’ll mark yourself as an outsider or worse, an oddball.
@Omnes Omnibus: Speaking of Richard Thompson, this was the first song I ever heard of his. Needless to say, instant fan.
LOL I can still see my Dad’s face when he saw a customer put ketchup on a T-bone steak. Yes, the family was involved in helping in the business. Yes, none of us were ever encouraged to continue in the business.
Most of all they would not offer to their customers what they would not eat themselves. It’s not what is offered out there today in a choice of eating places and not unusual to hear someone say they got ill from food at a certain place.
Putting that on my list. You steered me right with Brick’s Pizza, which is now my sole source for takeout. And I’m close enough that they deliver! (I like Pupatella or Pie-Tanza for sit-down.)
c u n d gulag
A shout-out to the Acropolis Diner in Po-town!!!
Another great place used to be the Red Coach Diner on Rt. 9, close to Wappingers – we used to call it ‘the Red Roach.’
THE BEST greasy 2am just-closed-the-bars cheeseburgers with gravy over-dosed fries, and vanilla malted, on the planet!
I went to the CIA, Hype Park and they had a diner on campus. Big Ass Western Omelet on Sunday morning was the cure for recovering Saturday night debauchery! Then an afternoon of street pharmacology and chilling at the Vanderbilt estate by the Hudson or swimming at Minnewaska falls. Good Times!
c u n d gulag
Skinny-dipping there, too!
That water was so cold, the girls had nothing to fear from us boys.
You walked into that cold water feeling like a man, and you walked out with a limp noodle and two Tic-Tacs in a leather sack.
i’d settle for any diner. growing up in NYS, i came to assume that 24/7 diners were just something all cities had at least one of, like gas stations.
there’s no such thing in NC. you can find diners with similar food, but they keep ridiculous hours (like, not opening on Sunday, or closing at 7PM, or whatever).
Rochester NY has a bunch of great diners. it’s been 20 years since i’ve been to most, but i still know exactly what i would order in each of them.
I was in Heidelberg in summer 1980 splitting a room with 2 other USAns (accommodation was thin on the ground) & when we went out foraging for food we ran across one restaurant–the others wanted to keep looking but I said, “We’ll be back here.” They asked why & I pointed to the sign: GRIECHISCHE KUCHE. “Greek cooking. When you’re in a strange city, the Greeks will feed you, & feed you well.” We did come back, & we had a frackin’ feast for a fistful of deutschmarks…
I believe the Double T diners in the Baltimore suburbs are Greek owned & operated. At least they feature the standard fare–gyros, souvlaki, spanakopita…
OH DEER GAWD, has anyone seen the crooks&liars redesign? It is a horror show of web design.
Alabama Blue Dot
We bought some light Genessee beer one time because it’s called “Genny” and that is our daughter’s nickname. Nastiest stuff I ever tried. Not even very good for cooking. Ended up pouring it out in the yard and saving the cans for framing.
Just stick to talking about food, house pets, and your sorority friends. Leave the discussions about war, drones, politics, and what not to people who are capable of understanding such things.
Paul in KY
@Origuy: Mentioned it before, but I met then Captain Hopper at Keesler AFB, where she gave an excellent presentation to my Communications class.
Spoke briefly with her after class. Wonderful person. As nice as she was smart. RIP, Admiral.
Paul in KY
@wasabi gasp: I have never cared much for Mr. Costello. He does have about 3 songs I like.
They call those “disco fries” right?
I grew up in downstate NY (those who live in NY will know what I mean) and all over Long Island there are Greek diners, giving you ginormous portions and often three course meals. And of course in some of those diners in certain parts of Long Island, you can get great Jewish food too.
My Worcester-raised wife informed me that the pizzerias in her area were commonly run by Greeks when she was growing up cvfnwerj years ago.
It’s been a long conversion to get her to give that up for New Haven-style pizza.
I went to school at Brockport and the only diners I can remember there is the Perkins diners.
Amphora is great, but just a mile up Maple Ave. in Vienna you’ve got Anita’s which is even better.
The Valhalla of the Diner Gods is Paramus Diner. Access to Paramus Diner is worth living in a place governed by Chris Christie and represented in Congress by The Odious Scott Garrett.
So did my spouse, and while I have heard many stories of late-night antics, none of those stories involve edible food.
Mark’s, Gitisi’s, TipTop, Liberty, Highland Park, Jay’s… sooo many different open faced turkey sammiches !
I don’t. It’s not news that there was some fragmentary evidence that somebody other than the regime was responsible for the 8/21 sarin attack, but when the totality of the evidence is viewed objectively it is decidedly more likely that it really was the regime.
Once upon a time, Sy Hersh was a great journalist. Now he’s just like Robert Scheer: a superannuated old-left crackpot whose chops are gone.
South-central PA is full of Greek diners, usually named after the town or village or township they’re in. Enormous menus, decent prices, long hours or all hours. I’m surprised WV doesn’t have them; it’s only an hour away on 81.
50 years ago, most eating establishments were Greek-owned here, Italian restaurants, taverns, whatever, but the hospitality industry has expanded immensely. An apparently non-Greek diner just opened near my father, even.
There’s a good-sized Greek population, and that church festival is here. I don’t go; Greek desserts are way too sticky sweet for me.
I did something this morning that, after your post here, makes me realize I may almost be worthy of posting at this site. Went to get a short cup of coffee at our food court and they only had skim or 2% milk, no half ‘n half. I left my cup of black coffee and walked off.
Also used to have a much-loved and much-missed Maine Coon.
Maybe we are couch potato siblings from different mothers!
The Illogical Planner
@Alabama Blue Dot: You did the right thing w/the Genny. Do you know if it also killed the grass?
to Barry Haydasz : may you and yours have a Right Merrie Christmas, and may the New Year bring you every joy.
obGermane: For at least eighty years, most of the better restaurants in my Iowa hometown have been run by Greek families. Gone but not forgotten : XTABI, The Green Mill, The Athenian. Still with us, and treasured: Northwest Steak House.
John Cole – if you drop by Morganhole sometime, seek out Nick’s Canteen Lunch, 514 N High Street. Nick Seremetis is Greek and could probably tell you where locally to get some decent chow. It’s refreshing to know the place is still there – I used to go there during my undergrad years, many light-years ago.
Hard as it may be to believe, we have great Greek diners in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There’s even one place that knows how to make Philly cheesesteaks that are actually Philly cheesesteaks, and not abominable and detestable crimes against nature.
If you are ever in these parts, look for Elias, at Aragona and Virginia Beach Blvd.
@p.a.: As a transplanted New Yorker living in Rhode Island, I can attest to the fact that the “New York System” has never been seen anyplace within New York State or outside of Little Rhody, for that matter. Which brings me to an important question: When did the Reuben become a Greek sandwich and not a Russian or German (depending on who you ask) New York creation?
@Omnes Omnibus: That’s high praise, especially coming from you! Glad I clicked the link.
Lotta love, and talent, on that stage! I bookmarked it.