One of my all-time favourite movies – one that I can watch over and over again – is the 1980s Barry Levinson classic Diner starting Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke and others.
It’s set in 1959 Baltimore and a diner provides the gathering place for a group of young men where they shoot the s**t and goof around.
Diners have long served that purpose. Places where you get basic food but feel comfortable having long conversations.
In case you didn’t know it, Burnaby has a few of these around, but for me, the best is the Parkcrest Diner on Broadway, just east of Holdom and one block north of Lougheed Highway.
This is what you call old school. I couldn’t even find an actual website for the place, which seems fitting because it’s a throwback to a time before the Internet.
It’s the kind of place with old wood and tables covered in Formica, with yellows and greens all perfectly maintained and still in pristine condition.
It’s the kind of place where most people who come in know the staff by their first names and share details of what’s going on in their lives. It’s the kind of place that feels so relaxed you just want to hang out long after your meal is done.
Parkcrest Diner holds a special place for me because, well, I grew up just one block away from it. I can remember many meals spent with my family eating Monte Cristo or Reuben sandwiches.
The neat thing is the menu hasn’t really changed. It’s still got all the old school favourites, included devilled egg sandwiches and Salisbury steaks – find me many places that still serve those.
There are lots of burgers and sandwich choices, along with wonton soup, fried rice and chow mein. There is also an extensive breakfast menu.
But you won’t find avocado toast. Or fancy fusion cuisine. It’s just basic, affordable classics but with a décor that takes you waaaaaaaaay back and feeling like you’re at home.
Which definitely still holds its charm.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.