March 11, 2009



Larger pic in the ‘MORE’ section:

The Story:
The Miss Washington Diner in downtown New Britain, Connecticut has been there for decades. This is our default breakfast joint on any given weekend morning. Since I don’t eat breakfast on weekdays when we go out for breakfast, it must be good. We’ve been to other diners and breakfast places but Miss Washington is the only one that understands what “over medium” means. Freddie is the man behind the grill which sits midway behind the lime green counter that runs the length of the building. He smiles a lot despite having the difficult, hot and greasy tasks of a short order cook. I like the yokes runny but the whites solid. It’s an art apparently that few short-order cooks in the area have mastered. Freddie has. My eggs are just right every time.

We’re regulars and Freddie knows us and greets us when we walk in, as do several of the waitresses, all of whom put in many long and early hours in this classic but semi-rundown diner. Freddie is originally from Turkey and has a slight but exotic accent when he speaks. Turkey would be an interesting place to visit, especially if you had a person like Freddie to act as your own private tour guide.

The building itself is in need of cosmetic repairs and the green Formica adorning the tables and counter has seen its share of bruises. However the structure is holding its own and not so far gone that a restoration would be out of the question. Maybe one day, if downtown New Britain can pick itself up off the floor, the funds will be available for a full restoration.

This diner has all the classic accoutrements that make up the stereotypical American diner including stainless steel inside and out, permanently mounted, round backless swiveling barstools topped with salmon colored, slightly padded Naugahyde tops and a long Formica counter. The original copper colored star-burst ceiling fixtures offer a warm light that provides a counterbalance to the cool green rays emitted from the fluorescent bulbs that quietly hum in the cases behind the counter. There are juke boxes at each booth as well as every eight feet along the counter. These devices occasionally inject undesirable interruptions of tinny-sounding top-forty, soon to be forgotten, pop songs that drown the natural din of a busy diner. This constant din is the sound of a diner, the opera of its operation. It’s the clinking clanking of plates, the clatter of utensils and metallic bangs and scraping of a busy grill. It’s the intermingling of unintelligible words and voices drifting from customers’ unending conversations. Eventually though, the intermittent juke box becomes just another part in the overall production that goes on while we eat at Miss Washington.

February 17, 2009