Jenifer Beaudean

Seeker of Simplicity and Executive Coach

The Quaker Diner

The Quaker Diner, West Hartford, CT

After weeks, okay months, of painting at our new fixer upper, there was paint lingering in the crevices of my fingers and paint on the bottom of several pairs of shoes. I felt my relationship with blue tape had evolved to a new and perhaps disturbing place. MyUPSGuy was talking about the merging of paint “wet into wet” to the point where I was wondering if the fumes had gotten to him… it was definitely time for a break.

As luck had it, we had an errand to run east of Hartford and so we headed that way, and stopped at the Quaker Diner in West Hartford, CT, where we chose a spot at the end of the bar and considered less complicated things like what to have for breakfast.  Marilyn waited on us… apparently she has worked at the Diner for 17 years.

The Quaker Diner is quintessentially “Americana.” It has the old bar stools that are attached to the floor with their posts in a mint green color that harken to an earlier era. The Diner boasts the big machine that makes milk shakes (in the same mint green). There is a curved metal ceiling, booth seating and a juke box that make you think of what it must have been like to grow up in an earlier day.

“There is something about a diner like this one,” I said to MyUPSGuy, “Just something about it. It screams of good things. Everyone here is living their life, pleased to have their omelet for breakfast, about to start the day… with a cup of joe, that kind of thing.”

“It’s about a simpler time,” replied my husband.


Which somehow made me want to cry.

Because I miss those simpler, summer days, growing up in New Jersey with fall approaching and the walk to the school bus. I miss trick or treating in your own neighborhood because it was still relatively safe to do so. It was a different time… our TV (we had only one) was a small box with maybe a 12” screen. Mobile technology was still largely far off, and the world just didn’t seem as fast, intense or complicated.

I miss that sometimes. These days? Often.

Maybe now, with buying this more rural piece of property and downsizing to the little house, it’s an attempt to “de-complicate” … a decision to use less and encumber less, even if just for a while. I’m at a point in my life where I just want to enjoy the omelet… and coffee in a ridiculously thick porcelain mug, and be free of clutter for a moment of my life.

Endless painting at the “little house” (But it looks great!)

11 Replies to “The Quaker Diner”

  1. I hear ya sista! Technology is a paradox because it can make our lives simpler but can complicate our lives immeasurably. We have to stay firmly in the driver’s seat of our lives, now more than ever!

  2. After reading your post this morning as I eat my toast and sip my tea, I feel like I can take a breath and just feel thankful for the simple joys of life. A sleeping puppy, a friend’s call, the beauty of the leaves outside my kitchen window. Thanks for the inspiration Jen!

  3. Thank you Jenifer for such a wonderful post. Guess what? My all-time favorite place to eat is a diner. I’ve eaten in many diners and will have to add the Quaker Diner to my list. The fact that you can order breakfast all day long is what has attracted me to diners for so many years. To me, there is nothing better than ordering an omelet for lunch. Yum! I have also found that diners serve the best coffee too; with waitresses always at the ready to refill your cup. A diner is a great place to get away from the craziness of life and just relax. Thanks again!

  4. I find the diner experience to be one of the great things about living on the East Coast. It’s like all the Greeks got here, off the boats and just decided, en masse, “OK, this is far enough. Now let’s set up a place to eat!” I like the shared experience of the diner as well. One of my faves, The Malibu in Hoboken, has been there forever and you almost always see someone there that you know. The booths are just a little closer together than a usual restaurant and, even if you’re not in the conversation, you’re aware of it.The place is as constant as the North Star. About 10 years ago it was closed for renovations for about two years and when it reopened it looked pretty much exactly the same as when it closed. The other thing that’s amazing to me is the sheer enormity of the choices. I can have that mushroom and cheddar omelette (a personal favorite) or maybe I’ll have a pot roast dinner on my way home from work when I have a hankering, but lack the time/energy/patience to either a) make my own; or b) get an invite from my Mother to come up for Sunday dinner.

  5. Jen, enjoyed the article. We also enjoy the Jersey Diner experience – where you can always get breakfast 24 hours a day. I would enjoy touring their kitchen to see where they store all the items on the menu (Jefferson Diner, Wharton, NJ). Amazing chore for shore. Keep the stories coming, I enjoy reading them all.

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