Waffle Combo Meal with two eggs over easy, ham, added hash browns and coffee at Cozy Corner Restaurant and Pancake House in Chicago (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)
What defines a diner? Breakfast all day? Late night burgers and shakes? Counter service with sassy waitresses and grillmen wearing white paper hats?
In the meantime, I'm on the case. Above you see my go-to diner order when available. I have my own Ron Swanson rules when it comes to diner food. I order waffles over pancakes because I can make pancakes at home. I order ham over bacon because only I can make bacon the way I like it, baked to crispy edges and chewy center. Eggs over easy and hash browns, runny yolks broken over hash browns, then seasoned judiciously with ketchup and Tabasco.
When Curious City hits the road in search of the area's oldest diners and their stories, I will be carrying my own personal bottle of real maple syrup, and my own thermally insulated whipped cream.
But coffee, I just drink their coffee, cream and sugar, however good or bad it might be. Curious, I know.