American Diner

Project Status: 

Every year, there are fewer and fewer small-town diners in rural America. Yet there is an untapped reservoir of stories in those that remain. Many of these stories go unnoticed, because they are the stories of factory workers, carpenters, cooks and cleaners. Their stories are treated as no more than a report of daily life. But the daily life of such people is the daily life of America, and together their stories form America's story.

American Diner explores the lives of those who eat and work in three diners spanning the United States. Every new day ushers in a new conversation in which ideas, ethics, and life philosophies are exchanged. No subject is off limits as friends share stories that are uniquely personal and profound. But diners are also intense, fast-paced, and highly volatile businesses in which one day of poor sales can undo a month of profit. The fierce action and easy conversation in these diners speaks to the difficulties of modern times, and the struggles of individual Americans trying to stay afloat.

What is the identity of America today? Through vignettes of employees and patrons, American Diner explores this question as articulated by the communities of small-town diners. These people's stories, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, show the fullness of America, a country caught in constant transition, a people always on the move.