Diner Slang

When I was at the beach with my dad, I made sure to get one of his Signature Breakfasts.  Last year’s plate was heaven, and this year’s was the same – artful and delicious.



We call this “dropped eggs on toast”, but a 1930’s short order cook would know it (at least in part) as “Adam and Eve on a raft”.  This is its proper diner slang name.

Diner slang is an American treasure.  Its origins date back to the 1840’s, though its heyday didn’t come along until the first half of the 20th century.  It is kitchen counter verbal shorthand – a colorful slice of vernacular that has all but disappeared as diners and lunch counters were replaced with drive-thru’s and food courts.  Counter staff learned ways to abbreviate orders and items so they could communicate them to the cook quickly, thus serving more customers in less time, and probably amusing themselves in the process.  Some of their shorthand, like BLT, has made it into everyday language, but the majority of the phrases still sound like something out of a clip from Merry Melodies.

Here are some of my favorites:

Adam and Eve on a raft = 2 poached eggs on toast
Hold the hail = no ice
Blonde with sand = coffee with cream and sugar
Heart attack on a raft = biscuits and gravy
Adam’s ale = water
Spot with a twist = tea with lemon
Mug of murk = coffee
2 spots and a dash = 2 eggs with bacon
Burn the British = toasted English muffin

Not all diner slang is breakfast-related, but since breakfast is my meal of choice, they are the ones I remember.

Aren’t you in the mood for a big ole greasy plate now?! 

I always am.

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One thought on “Diner Slang

  1. James Janack says:


    I just recently discovered your blog. Great stuff – well written, helpful photos, engaging and entertaining. Thanks for sharing, and keep it up.

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