Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday April 10th 2010
Richmond Diner, Richmond and Tioga, Philadelphia, PA
Consistent mediocrity is what separates diners from restaurants. When you say your meal at a diner was good, your saying that nothing was seriously wrong with it, there were no elements of danger involved. A place you’ve never been before, in a city you’ve never been to, can serve you the exact meal you were expecting to have, and we’re talking independently owned businesses. In that respect diners rarely dissatisfy, yet in the case of the Richmond Diner and my friend Kevin Esposito, every time he goes he, “Comes expecting nothing, and somehow leaves disappointed.”
Esposito had been on a personal mission to stay awake for 48 hours for no real reason other than just wanting to. About twenty hours in a group of us joined him on a trip to the Richmond Diner for an early breakfast and caffeine re-up. The informative marquee greeted us in the parking lot.
Orders varied across the table. I had a traditional two egg breakfast, scrambled with cheese, and as I expected they used the ‘waste no time’ style of cheesing eggs where two slices of processed American cheese product are laid out on top of the egg strip like a warm blanket. This came with wheat toast and home fries. Everything was exactly how I thought it would be, not that great, which is very reassuring.
The coffee’s, ordered black, were unashamedly spiked with pure hot water in plain sight of the recipient. The insides of the water glasses were coated with a thick film of bleach based cleaning product, able to be visibly scraped off with ones fingernail. Weaver’s cole slaw, after being dumped into his turkey sandwich, flowed out in one rush like a quick turn of the faucet, spawning tributaries of watery mayonnaise across the plate. Queasy on 7 hour energy drinks, Jonny couldn’t finish his side of home fries, the only food he felt safe ordering. We discovered Noah’s ‘Happy Waitress Special’ to be named so possibly because it was so easy to make; an open face grilled cheese sandwich.
We were offered desert, “We got some fresh pies over there. I wouldn’t offer them to you if they weren’t fresh.”, our waitress told us. Fresh meaning freshly purchased from the store. We politely declined, which for some reason gave her an excuse for her to start talking to us about her son. She was saving up to buy him a car so he can come down and visit more, being all the way up in the Lehigh Valley without a ride. There was nothing for him in Philly anymore and she didn’t want him down here anyways, falling back in with those “Corner Chubs, out on the corner all night, selling drugs and guns.”
Tipping was done so with wild abandon, silently having come to a mutual decision that if your going to spend any of your money at all on average borderline bad food, you might as well spend a lot of it. And that guy needs a car.