Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cruiser's Diner

by Susannah Sachdeva

Standing alone, right off Route 32 in Seaman, Ohio is a shining silver oasis – otherwise known as Cruiser’s Diner. You would be well-advised to skip the newly-renovated McDonald’s down the road as well as the Gold Star Chili nearby because this restaurant offers all the comforts of good home-cooking in a relaxed, 50s-esque atmosphere.

I took a trip out to this little diner in the middle of nowhere on a rainy Friday afternoon and was instantly warmed upon entering the establishment. With red vinyl booths to my left and right and an old-fashioned soda counter in front of me, I quickly concluded that this restaurant was quite the quintessential 50s diner.

We were seated promptly even though there were a number of others in the foyer waiting for a booth. The waitress actually had a table of three move over a table so we could fit in. Throughout the whole process everyone (i.e. the waitress and the moving table) were making jokes and laughing, making us feel like a crowd of buddies who were reminiscing about an old memory, not strangers who were moving other people in order to fit us in.

As soon as we were seated, our waitress was quick to ask for our drink order. It wasn’t one of those rushed kind of orders where you can tell she wanted us to get in and get out as quickly as possible – but more where she wanted to make sure we got as comfortable as possible as quickly as possible.

After taking some time to look over the lengthy menu, which included breakfast food, sandwiches, burgers, milkshakes, “diner traditions”, and more, we decided upon the “Pile Up Burger” for me and an open face turkey sandwich accompanied with onion rings for my friend Jane.

I knew as soon as I ordered this was not going to be an ordinary diner visit for me. The burger I ordered would be my first legitimate burger in life thus far. I have enjoyed a nice, thin McDonald’s cheeseburger from time to time because, well, it doesn’t really taste like meat. But, this was a true burger and I took a big leap of faith by ordering it.

We sipped our drinks in anticipation of the feast ahead of us and let ourselves sink into the vinyl as we eavesdropped on the conversations of the locals. There was “business talk” to my left between two middle-aged men and there was “weekend talk” of going out and hangover cures to my right between two women and a man. It may not have been very ethical of me to listen in but that’s what diners are for – catching up on the latest gossip with old pals.

My pile up burger looked magnificent, being topped with a few of my favorite ingredients: cheese, grilled onions and bacon. And Jane’s entrée looked just as appetizing. We both dug in and were equally satisfied with our orders.

Considering this was my first “real” hamburger I’ve ordered at a restaurant, I was nervous but ended up being delightfully surprised with the results. Let’s just say my visit to Cruiser’s opened up a whole new arena of meat eating to this Ohio girl.

Although I was by no means a diner virgin before this trip, this experience further confirmed those thoughts that have been lurking in the back of my head – why aren’t diners more common? They have become diamonds in the rough in this modern world. And Cruiser’s certainly abides by that description; it is located in the middle of nowhere yet is an invaluable treat once you wander inside.


mike said...

glad you put a review of this diner on your page. big diner fan from NY www.nydiners.com

mike said...

BTW - make sure to check out Diner 23 in Waverly. The owner comes from a diner family and has some good food.
closed sundays I belive