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Counter Culture

Diners that combine comfort food with updated touches are serving up big sales.

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This story appears in the November 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Chances are, there's one in your past. You met your buddies there for Cokes and fries when you were a teenager or spent restless nights there nursing a bottomless cup of coffee. The food was simple, the Formica counter gleamed, and your waitress was always a character. A good diner is more than a restaurant: It's a haven for the tired and hungry.

Though they bring back memories, diners aren't purely nostalgic. In formats grand and small, typical and unique, old-fashioned and contemporary, diners are back, and they couldn't be more au courant.

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