Cheap Eats

Lester's Diner: The Place to Pull an All-Nighter

"How's it going, hon?" said Dawn to a regular who walked into Lester's at 5 a.m.

"Still vertical and still employed," he returned. They continued the morning volley as she readied his tea.

"With lemon?" she asked, knowing the answer. Dawn indulged the formality. It was hospitable. They talked about the holidays, the first in years the diner that's been around since 1967 will be open on Christmas.

 "I'm working that day," she said, as Billy Joel sang "Honesty" on the radio.

At a table, a trio of beefy guys hoovered plates of bacon, sausage, eggs, and home fries. "I feel like I'm doing the

walk of shame every time I take money out of my savings," one confessed.

Like the lone regular, they're focused on jobs and money.

Back in the kitchen, the baker wrapped up his morning's work, having

finished his shift by displaying trays of coconut macaroons, sticky buns, and fruit danishes. The

cakes were just made, too, the ones that spun in the 50's display,

decadent tributes to the genre.

I was just there for the scenery and to power through a bout of

insomnia. Diners remind me of my dad, who has gone to a diner just about

every day of his life for as long as I can remember. He is the

quintessential regular. He might have a problem here in South Florida,

since no one seems to carry an actual newspaper anymore. Remind me to

grab him one. I'm picking him up at the airport today.

Despite that the diner is open 24 hours, things were just getting going for the breakfast hour at Lester's.

A Spartan breakfast.

A sample of cakes on the revolving racks.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart