My Nana was a hard-working Polish woman who grew up on a farm in Western Massachusetts and later moved to Connecticut. I still remember it to this day. When I was young boy, probably 6 or 7 years old, my Nana Helen took me to Curley’s Diner in Stamford, CT. Though I don’t quite recall what the outside of the diner looked like, I distinctly remember that the inside was full of busy happy people. Lots of folks talking, coffee cups clinking, sounds and smells in the air, and the food was Oh-So-Yummy.
This time period was very magical for me. I think, in a way, I have become a super-fan of the diner culture. Over the years I’ve always had a hometown diner where I could socialize and grab a bite. When I lived in Shelton, CT I would regularly stop in at the Plaza Diner or the Valley Diner. This is where I met Mr. Perry, Damon, and Jimmy―a group of Greek businessmen who owned the diners. But, they were more than just a group of men working together though; they were a tribe.
Flash forward a few years. Hello Garden State! I moved to Jersey City and married the love of my life Adrian. I didn’t know that New Jersey was considered the diner capital of the world. Prior to moving, I had just been laid off from my health insurance job and I was beginning to learn a new skill set of photography.
One of my first jobs was with the Coach House Diner in North Bergen, NJ. They hired me as a freelancer to build their website. Afterwards, they asked me to stay on to take pictures and to help with their social media accounts. I also met Tom, from Restaurant Graphics, while working at the Coach House. Tom’s company actually makes the menus for just about all of the diners in the Tri-State area. This is where the idea of making a documentary came to life.
Join me on this journey as we eat, drink and record a ‘Diner Story.’