Diner lingo

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Salem Diner in Salem, Massachusetts, USA

Diner lingo is a kind of American verbal slang used by cooks and chefs in diners and diner-style restaurants, and by the wait staff to communicate their orders to the cooks. Usage of terms with similar meaning, propagated by oral culture within each establishment, may vary by region or even among restaurants in the same locale. It is virtually unknown outside the US.[citation needed]


The origin of the lingo is unknown, but there is evidence suggesting it may have been used by waiters as early as the 1870s and 1880s. Many of the terms used are lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek and some are a bit racy or ribald, but are helpful mnemonic devices for short-order cooks and staff. Diner lingo was most popular in diners and luncheonettes from the 1920s to the 1970s.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • DinerLingo.com
  • The History of Diner Lingo and New York Eating Houses [1] research & glossary by Barbara Kuck, Culinary Historian & Curator, Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame and Tom Roberts, Szathmáry Distinguished Visiting Professor of Gastronomy