The Exmore Diner
All I can say is that archaeologists work up an appetite. I’m not sure if it’s the hard, physical labor, or being outdoors in the fresh (and alternating hot and freezing) air, or what. When it comes time to eat, most archaeologists don’t pack anything with much dazzle for lunch– hummus and pita, leftover pasta from the night before, sandwiches of all sort.
My teen son had a peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat each day. We made it ourselves on the hotel bed each night with a loaf of bread from home, along with the other two condiments, not being sure of how many grocery stores would be in the area and not having access to refrigeration. An apple and cheese crackers rounded out the meal, accompanied by a thermos of cold water, iced down in our mini-cooler each day.
My own repast consisted of tuna fish salad on crackers, along with an apple, and water. Enough, but not over the top.
We had a decent selection of breakfast buffet items in the morning. I generally had some scrambled eggs and low-fat yogurt. Petya went for the waffles, omelettes, fruit, cereal, muffins, hot chocolate or chai. Ah, youth….
But when it came to dinner, he was famished. So we decided to support local businesses and headed out for a meal at the Exmore Diner in Exmore, Virginia, a couple of towns away from where our Virginia Eastern Shore excavations were headquartered. This single-wide trailer offered down-home cooking and a warm atmosphere with 10 swivel counter stools to the right and 10 to the left, and 3 booths on either side of the front door.
The prices, fare, and ambience took me back to another time. The waitresses knew most everyone’s name, as did the patrons.
“How’s your wife doin’?” asked one elderly man to another.
“Fine, fine, she should be comin’ out of the hospital any day,” he replied.
We heard about cats who had come through a rough time, spouses on the mend, people’s favorite desserts. This was small-town at its finest, but the food was best of all.
We came for dinner, but couldn’t help but notice the breakfast items, starting with French Toast at 95 cents a piece. Fried Egg Sandwich, which my mother had made for me as a child. Hot Cakes. Omelettes.
At our time of day, Petya decided on not a Hamburger, not a Double Burger, but a Hamburger Sub, which could have fed an army, along with the lettuce, tomato, and whatever else they threw in there, not to mention a mountain of French Fries. Just for the experience and the green factor, I ordered Fried String Beans which were heavily breaded and yes, quite heavenly, even if we couldn’t finish them. I ordered my usual salad with grilled chicken on top, which they really took to new heights, putting other, fancier establishments to shame.
Maybe it’s because I travel so much, that I tend to stick with tried-and-true. However, we were tempted to sample the Broccoli Puffs, Club Sandwiches of every description, Hot Roast Beef Sandwich Smothered in Gravy, and so much more.
It was like a slice of pie from another era. The older gentlemen occasionally snuck behind the counter and helped themselves to coffee when the waitresses would step away. There were the diner counter stools, upholstered in red leatherette, and red gingham curtains topping the windows. Couples coming out for a decent meal spanned from their 20s to their 70s, families brought a few generations.
At every booth, signs on the napkin holders suggested, “Save Room for Dessert. Ask About Today’s List of Homemade Desserts—Cakes, Pies, Sundaes, and Milkshakes Available.”
But there was no way. Even for hungry archaeologists. All the more reason to visit again.
————-Tags: a great small-town diner on Virginia's Eastern Shore, Exmore Virginia diner, lunch with no refrigeration, small town food and ambience, the Exmore Diner, what archaeologists eat