07 December 2009

Happy Days at Dad's Copake Diner

This past weekend, Silent Bob and I headed south to Millbrook, NY to visit our pals John and Nancy. On Saturday, J&N planned a joyride around their stomping grounds. Who knew we were headed for one of the coolest places for a quick lunch that we've been to in a while? We were road tripping it up from Duchess into Columbia County to check out this used book store in Craryville that John raved about, then moseying through Boston Corners where the claim to fame is some prize fight that drew a few thousand hooligans out of NY back in the mid-19th century who proceeded to trash the town after the big fight (Some would say those city folk are still doing that today with their SUV's, chi-chi clubs, and McMansions going up where farms and orchards once stood, but that's another story!). Well, all that driving and yakking got us hungry, so John pointed the car for Copake and rolled us into town, just as the snow started really falling. He knew of a diner there that had good food.

 Diners! You gotta love 'em! The menu is printed on the paper placemat, the color scheme is typically monochromatic with a generous addition of real chrome accessorization. Neon, neon! Somewhere there's a neon clock or sign! And the food! We knew we were in for a good knosh when John sat down and ordered up a chocolate milkshake and a foot-long hotdog with all the fixin's without even looking at his placemat and the cutie-pie waitress didn't bat an eyelash. The rest of us took a couple minutes to decide on a bowl (We don't need no stinkin' cup!) of chili, pastrami sandwich and onion rings, and popcorn chicken and fries with cokes all around. Nothing like fast food...right off the grill and out of the fryer fresh and hot!

The nostalgia of sitting there nibbling on my fries and sipping my soda got me thinking about the demise of the small town business district. It seems like so many small town centers are dying out these days because of the big box shopping centers and malls. It's a rare thing to see a vibrant Main Street in towns smaller than 5,000 or so folks. And yet, land in these small towns is being bought up and built up because the 'small town experience' has such cachet with urban transplants. I'm hoping that they will want their small towns to survive and will spread the wealth toward those small local eateries, small hardware stores, small specialty shops, pharmacies, and the small family-owned department stores that are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Notice (duh!) the emphasis on 'small'. Which I guess means that this isn't such a different story from that famous prize fight... only the prize is a small town lifestyle and the survival of the farms and small businesses that support it...

1 comment:

  1. Gotta check this place out...looks like my kinda greasy spoon!!!


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