I’ve always had this fascination with diners, even as a kid. I’d go with my grandparents to a few of their favorite local coffee shops, and I loved that they always seemed to know the owners. They’d catch up on their waitresses life and fill them in on theirs, and I don’t know, it just seemed like a great relationship to have. I love the small town feel of diners and how regulars can walk in and feel right at home. Maybe it’s my obsession with Gilmore Girls and my yearning to live in Stars Hollow, or maybe it just stirs a lot of great conversation and creativity. But, either way, any chance I get to visit a diner, whether it’s 50s themed or some countrified truck stop, there’s a good chance, I’m going to drag whoever I’m with to that spot.
I’ve decided that I’m going to keep a Diner Review segment for my site, noting some of my favorite items at the diners I try, what I loved about it or perhaps even some of the conversations I hear or things I might encounter.
Just down the street from the famous Crystal Palace on Buck Owens Boulevard is Zingo’s Cafe in Bakersfield, Calif. I had passed it for years and seen it on the freeway as my family and I would drive by. A couple years ago, I made a list of places I wanted to try in town, which consisted of restaurants I’d heard about from friends, heard about in passing or were supposed to be big hits and raved about from everyone. On this list was Zingo’s. My mom and I decided to try it one day, when all of our usual Friday spots were just getting old.
I’m honestly not sure that I can put my finger on why I loved/love it so much, other than it reminded me of those typical truck stops you’d see in a Hallmark movie. A family owns the business and their daughter takes over after someone dies, and in walks the love of her life as he passes through town. That’s how I imagined it anyway.
Anyway, if you listened closely at Zingo’s, you could hear country music playing in the background, the service was good, people were friendly, and most importantly the food was good. I think I’ve really only had their cheeseburger and fries, though I did venture out and tried the chicken and mashed potatoes one time. Really good! But, after posting this same picture of the diner on my Instagram, so many of my friends were commenting that they love the milkshakes, pastrami and the country scramble. Looks like I’m going to continue going back to try a few of the other items on the menu.
If you’re a fan of diners, add this to your list, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It might not be the most exciting interior or location, if that’s something you’re looking for, but like all diners, they have something for everyone, whether you want a home-cooked meal or something that resembles more of a fast-food chain.
Until next time…
What are some of your favorite chains or local diners?