Por Laura Martínez / Foto: Adam Johnston

Diners, those eternal symbols of American pop culture, omnipresent 20 years ago, are now in the doldrums. Exorbitant rents and generational change have affected a sector that refuses to be a relic of a bygone age. These wonderful eateries have played key roles in some of cinema’s most iconic scenes.


n 1990, the hipster-glassed genius Martin Scorsese released “Goodfellas”, the cult classic that is one of the most foul-mouthed movies in history (the word f**k is used 300 times). This masterpiece has a scene where Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta are waiting to steal a truck from the car park of one of the oldest diners in New York: The Airline Diner. This classic is now owned by the Jackson Hole franchise, which luckily maintained the diner’s interior design and façade intact when they took over. Opened back in 1952, its famous old neon ‘Airline’ sign, classic pink and chrome interior, original jukeboxes and the gumball machine are authentic relics.

Another diner that has hosted its share of shoots is Dinah’s Family Restaurant in L.A. Movies like “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Drive” filmed scenes there, featuring greasy spoon classics such as pancakes washed down with strawberry milkshakes and coffee, served at its unmistakable semicircle sofas. The two most famous movies shot there are “The Big Lebowski” and “Pulp Fiction”. The Coen brothers comedy, full of unforgettable quotes, filmed a scene here where those nihilists that The Dude warned us about (“These guys don’t believe in anything”) gathered. One of these nihilists could have been Vincent Vega, who also sat down to breakfast in Dinah’s in Tarantino’s blockbuster. The house speciality (apart from movie shoots) is fried chicken and ribs with barbecue sauce.

Let’s continue with Tarantino and his obsession with these calorific temples. The first location he used for a film was, precisely, a diner, Pat & Lorraine’s Coffee Shop in Los Angeles. The scene in “Reservoir Dogs” has Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) explaining his reluctance to leave money for waiters with the immortal line “I don’t tip,” a comment that leads to a heated debate between the characters, including Mr Brown (Quentin himself).

A list about the cinema’s essential diners couldn’t be complete without mentioning “Mullholland Drive” by David Lynch.” Winkie’s Diner – now called Caesar’s – is the place where one character describes his dream about a terrifying troll who runs the diner. If you wanna recreate this scene for yourself, you’ll have to travel to Gardena, south of L.A.

There’s also a diner in Ibiza that has been getting a lot of attention: Romeo’s Motel & Diner. Concept’s latest establishment has already hosted lots of shoots, with the most talked about being Diana Kunst filming part of the video for The Rolling Stones song “Criss Cross.” Our succulent menu features a selection of impossibly large milkshakes and the best hot dogs you’ve ever tasted. All of course without forgetting the Mediterranean touch. It looks like diner culture is gonna be with us for a little while longer…

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