For breakfast, Your House is my house

by Brian Clarey

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Icame here exactly 11 years ago, the day he was born, in Women’s Hospital just down the road. So I suppose it’s only fitting that I come back today.

Your House is nothing fancy — it’s the opposite of fancy, actually: a genuine diner with rows of tables and booths, a counter lined with stools, a short-order cook running the griddle. There’s the clatter of plates being washed, stacked, slid in front of no-nonsense patrons who come for the coffee, the company, the promise of an honest meal.

Two eggs, over easy. Bacon. Hash browns, well done. Coffee. Same as it ever was.

They don’t have diners like this everywhere. Sure, there are things called diners all over the nation, in places where they don’t understand the concept of fast, hot food made to order and friendly service with a dash of sass, the importance of the bottomless coffee cup. They don’t realize that the thousand combinations of eggs, breakfast meats and hash browns or grits are enough to base a whole menu on.

Diners don’t have hostesses. Diners don’t serve sushi. You can’t make a reservation at a diner. Don’t ask about the wifi signal. They take your order and slap your ticket on the table. You can watch the cook spring into action. And they still take checks.

Diners aren’t just for breakfast. A good one can always deliver a tuna melt or hamburger steak drowned in gravy. They always have burgers and fries, and the types of lunch specials that harken back to the high school cafeteria. The diners of New York have Mediterranean fare: gyros and souvlaki, skewers of lamb and beef. Some serve beer and cocktails. One I remember, Sparta, owned by the Skiadis family that lived in my neighborhood, made onion rings as big and puffy as doughnuts. At Gus’, we used to order the Bull Burger, with a fried egg and bacon on top, after long nights chasing parties when we were kids. A place in Long Beach made tiny pancakes. The one near my parents’ house had a giant aquarium near the entrance. All of them had bright neon signs out front. A place on Old Country Road, the name of which is lost to me, had a blinking neon display out front of a chicken dropping an egg directly into a skillet. It was the first piece of art that ever transfixed me.

Your House is a more spartan environment: dark paneling, Venetian blinds, hand-written checks, refrigerated glass cabinets against the back wall holding cream, juice and homemade pie. It’s utilitarian — like a well-written piece of copy, everything needless has been omitted.

The eggs are great, just as they should be, cooked into the perfect circle of a skillet bottom and plenty runny enough to dip your toast in. They put my hash browns in the deep fryer, which is fine by me.

If a diner serves homemade pie — and all diners should serve homemade pie — you should get the pie. Your House has six to choose from today: coconut, strawberry, apple, chocolate, cherry and pecan. I order the last slice of strawberry, more of a custard pie with berries and whipped topping, with the kind of crust that makes deep flakes when I cut into it with my fork. It’s delicious, even if it’s not all that much to look at. And as is the usual custom, because I got the last slice, it came on the house.


Your House; 2306 Battleground Ave., Greensboro; 336.288.6895