day forty-five: state diner
July 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
The State Diner is my favorite late-night, post-Felicia’s greasy spoon food stop. Usually, when I’m there, it’s 1am, nothing else is open and I am desperately in need of some kind of caloric energy to sober me up and get me back up the hill and home safely. I order the same two things every visit — the souvlaki platter and a chocolate milkshake — and they always hit the spot.
I remembered my next to last visit to the State Diner fondly. It was a Thursday night last June. Some new summer friends and I had wandered downtown after a fête at the A.D. White House. We had some drinks, talked some talk, then went to the State Diner for milkshakes and called it a night. Or so I thought.
The next Tuesday, at another A.D. White House fête*, I was talking with one of my new summer friends. “Do you remember everything about Thursday night?” Of course, I replied, glibly, confidently. “Okay…” “Okay, what?” I asked and proceeded to reiterate the preceding paragraph. “If you say so,” he retorted. “Because, I sure as heck don’t.”
Later that week I was shocked to find the photographs below of my new summer friends on my iPhone. Shocked not so much because they were shocking (I found them quite sweet, actually), but shocked because I don’t remember taking them nor any of the sequence of events below happening at all.
Fortunately, nonetheless, a good time seemed to be had by all.
These conditions, though, are not ideal for any kind of semi-legit restaurant reviewing. As such, I returned to the State Diner a few weeks ago for a complete legit and utterly tax-deductible business lunch.** I ordered, as could be expected, the souvlaki platter and a chocolate milkshake. My business partner ordered what, on the menu, seemed to be a totally legit hamburger platter.
My souvlaki was, as it always is, exactly what I expected and wanted: Big, well-done (c)hunks of pork served with an oily salad and fries. The State Diner, in fact, does souvlaki way better than the presumptuously named Souvlaki House in Collegetown. The State Diner souvlaki is diner-perfect or, as almost as good as short-order diner souvlaki in the United States is going to get. The salad is salty, oily and not in the least bit healthy; the fries are likewise.
My only disappointment with my meal was the fact that it seemed to be a dollar or two more expensive than I remembered it. That said, I was very disappointed for my friend and her not-burger. I had been given to thinking that a quarter-pounder was more or less standard these days. This was possibly a sixteenth-pounder. We could barely find a semblance of a patty on top the artificial bread and beneath the slice of possibly artificial cheese that had a consistency more akin to the type of plastic wrap often found sandwiched in between slices of artificial cheese than a slice of artificial cheese itself. One would be far better off in terms of both quality and quantity at Wendy’s for the price.
Where’s the beef? I thought, as I sucked down on my seemingly endless diner-perfect milkshake. The State Diner’s chocolate milkshakes are, for me, what I imagine the Pulp Fiction $5 milkshake to be (minus the cherry and whipped cream). The milkshake stays cold and feels endless thanks to the old-fashioned metal milkshake shaker cup that comes served alongside the smaller serving cup. It’s a divine elixir of an almost bygone era, the last extant remnant of roller-skate waitress and drive-in days. Much like the State Diner itself.
* I am going to miss such weekly fêtes. I get the feeling that while exciting, my upcoming grad school adventures might not be quite as fêted as my current events coordinator position…
** More expensive completely legit and utterly tax-deductible business lunches will have to wait until our complete legit business is more utterly profitable.
Price: Diner-reasonable, but not cheap (< $10)
Recommended: Souvlaki platter and a chocolate milkshake, it seems. Not sure about anything else.
Location: 428 W. State Street