Walter Ellis shouts out Grand Canyon Diner in his latest dispatch from the nabe in the Belfast Telegraph:
Belfast Telegraph: Diners Reveal a Slice of Life in the Big Apple: My own 'home' diner is the Grand Canyon, in Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights.
It has tables out front on the sidewalk, even in winter, but the essence of the place is inside, down the steps, where the tables stretch backwards almost as far as the restrooms.
To the left are the two-person booths. The rest of the dining area is made up of tables that can be configured to take almost any gathering. The counter to the right has fixed stools lined up in front of it. Then there's a gap and then the kitchen area.
You go in, sit down, and within seconds there's a glass of iced water on your table and a menu in your hand.
The staff is hispanic, from top to bottom. "How are you today?" they enquire, and wait for the answer.
Normally, my wife and I go in on our own, but if we have guests, such as my son over Christmas and New Year, or my wife's sister and her little girl, they fuss over them and do their utmost to make them welcome.
Over there, to the left is a local academic assessing his student assignments or highlighting lines of text from a book with his magic marker.
In the middle, two thirds of the way down, is a group of cops, their belts weighed down with guns, handcuffs and two-way radios.
And let's not forget the old lady in her booth, with her bowl of soup, dabbing at her lips with the corner of her napkin. Or back there, stuffing his mouth with fries, the overweight black kid whose sister keeps telling him not to spill ketchup on his lap.
I don't know why they give me the menu. I invariably have one of the following: two eggs over easy, with link sausages and homefries; a short stack of pancakes, with eggs and bacon and maple syrup; corned beef hash, also with eggs. And of course coffee, strong and black.
Now that I think of it, I do sometimes opt for one of the specials. If you have the special, it comes with a 'cup' of soup – though you can also go for a bowl. Steak, chicken and fried fish account for most of the specials, but I've had chilli too, and, if memory serves, shepherd's pie, made with ground beef, not lamb. Don't knock it.
Apart from coffee and home fries, the other universal accompaniment is toast (white, brown, wholewheat or rye), pre-buttered and served up with grape jelly. I shouldn't like this, but I do.