Sunday, June 16, 2013

29 Diner -- Fairfax, VA

A Coffee Maven Review 

What could be more geographic than this? 29 Diner is located in the center of Fairfax, Virginia along U.S. Route 50 -- the great east-west road that connects Ocean City to Pasadena, and the road where my father's family were pioneers of the western suburbs of Washington DC in the days before Dulles Airport. It is located in the middle of a two-mile stretch of Route 50 that is conterminous with Route 29, and it is for this north-south thoroughfare that it was named in 1947.

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The history of this diner exemplifies the intertwined history of transportation and diners that characterize the mid-twentieth century. Establish in 1947, 29 Diner is a registered historic landmark located directly on Route 50 near the center of Fairfax. It is significant not only to the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also to my family.

This car has seen a lot of diners and cafes, but few as authentic as this!
My Aunt Jeannie’s mother was known as “Grandma Sue” by most people in the extended family, of whatever generation or bloodline. Over the years, one or the other or both of them had owned a variety of restaurants in northern Virginia, including this one near the center of Fairfax

Today, it would be difficult to find a more authentic diner experience in Virginia or anywhere. The experience, in fact, borders on the cinematic, as the banter of the waitress and short-order cook is alternately sweet and abrasive. As with any genuine diner, an amazingly diverse menu is served in a small space, amid Art Deco flourishes and an impressive amount of gleaming steel and chrome.

Though the menus appear to have been in service for decades, the dingy appearance signifies prices that have probably been in place since the Reagan administration --- which is when our waitress began her shift.

As fans of the program Twin Peaks know, with diners it is all about the pie. Although pie goes with coffee, we did not risk the "nostalgic" flavor of Maxwell House, but we could not resist sharing a piece of warm cherry pie.We are on vacation, but showed enough restraint to order just one slice among the three of us. It was delicious -- and gone so fast that our waitress thought she might have forgotten to bring it, because she turned around and it was gone!

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