Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, Herkimer NY
Diners in the Northeast United States were low cost eateries that originally were designed like railroad cars. These railroad car diners were popular from the 1920’s through 1950’s. They provided cheap fast food, and a place to meet and socialize after the Saturday night date (see the 1962 movie Diner). Most have morphed into more elaborate restaurants and the original railroad car style has all but disappeared from Americana. I found Crazy Otto’s while doing some work recently in Herkimer New York, in the Mohawk River Valley. The atmosphere was down home friendly, the food good, plentiful and cheap. And the homemade potato chips to die for.