I’ve always been a fan of the small-scale business. Back when I was a kid on Martha’s Vineyard, I loved going to the little diner on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs. It started out as Eve’s Coffee Shop and then went through a variety of name changes over the years. Now, living in Orlando, my wife and I have found another diner that we like to visit, the Daybreak Diner; it’s your classic mom and pop place.
So, occasionally, we head to Daybreak Diner, usually for breakfast. Some years back we got in the habit of going out for breakfast on Sunday. It was our time to be together, relax and read that massive tome known as the Sunday paper. At the Daybreak, we know we can have a nice meal, chat with the staff and casually read the paper. The place is small, intimate, and has the kind of people you like to talk with. We’ve gotten to know several of the workers, and they never fail but to ask us how we’re doing and get caught up on the recent events of our lives.
We also like the idea of supporting a local business. These days, what with all the big chain companies, we’ve seen far too many small businesses close up shop and disappear. The Daybreak has been around a long time, and we’d like to see it continue. It also happens to serve some great food.
For myself, I love that we can sit at one of their tables, eat a leisurely meal that’s both good and not too expensive and spend time with our neighbours. When I sit there, I don’t think of the place as small and cramped; it’s cozy and warm. All I have to do is cast my eyes around the place and I start smiling.
All manner of art and local decorations decorate the wall making this truly unique. Sitting at a table, sipping my coffee, I think about all the other times I’ve eaten at a local diner. All of them have several things in common. In my opinion, they all work harder. They have to, they’re competing with the “Big Boys” of dining and that’s not easy.
At Daybreak, the menus are unique, if slightly. They have a great dish called the “One By Four,” my favorite. It is one serving of four different items: pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausages. I find it a great breakfast and they always cook the eggs just right.
Daybreak an item called the “Two By Four.” When I’m hungry, I get that. No matter which one I order, I make a point of getting all bacon; I love the way they cook their bacon. As with so many other aspects of a small diner, the way they prepare their bacon is different from any other place I’ve ever eaten.
It is these little points, these little differences, which set such diners apart from the chain restaurants. These are what make me love a place like the Daybreak so much. I know that there will come a time when my wife and I will have to move on.
We’ll move to a new place or maybe even move to another town, but we’ll find ourselves a new local diner to eat. As if good old Eve’s Coffee Shop, the Daybreak Diner will hold a special place in our hearts and our memories. Unique places have a way of doing that.
I’m sure that they’ll continue doing a great job, even when we’re no longer patrons.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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