The diner is closed. Well, it actually closed a few weeks ago. We did it very gradually, with our favorite customers slowly decreasing the amount of time spent in the diner. Then they started coming fewer times during the day, maybe only hanging around long enough for a quick cup of coffee as opposed to a full meal. From time to time they misbehaved, resulting in their getting kicked out of the diner. Eventually they were just coming in for the comfort of the booths, maybe grabbing a handful of peanuts before heading back out the door to their busy lives.
The diner’s history was bumpy and difficult in the beginning, but once the owner and the customers got to know each other, things began to run like a well oiled machine. Then one day, the customers just didn’t need to come back. They found another regular spot with a much more extensive menu, and it seems much more fun to eat there. At the new place you can even throw your food on the floor (a little — don’t go crazy or anything).
So eventually the diner had to let go its faithful staff. It turned off the neon sign one last time and closed its doors for good with a resounding click of the lock.
It was a challenge, but I’m really going to miss running the diner.