The traditional food service operations from in-and-out fast-food to white-tablecloth restaurants that proffer fountain pens to customers to sign the dinner check with have all seen major changes over the last decade.
One of the most interesting is the “open kitchen” concept that came on the heels of the celebrity-chef. One of the first I can think of is Martin Picard’s Pied du Couchon in Montreal.
I am sure that you can think of at least on in your immediate area. If you can’t then you might be overlooking the obvious. In some parts of North America (including Canadian brethren) the diner was the place to eat food when you were not at home. At breakfast time these places were never not busy. The lunch crowd and the late-night survivors and early-morning risers all find the “diner” a welcome place. This is especially true of the places where the griddle less than ten feet from the customer and the short-order cook slings hash with his back to the customers. One of such places I fondly remember is the South Street Diner in Boston. (Back when they had paper menus, Naugahyde banquets patched with duck-tape… and no hipsters.)
In New York City the SoHo institution known officially as “Ken & Bob’s Broome Street Bar & Grill” (and unofficially as “The Office”) has had an “open kitchen” since the day it opened, sometime in 1972…
Today, both lunch and dinner are rush times in this kitchen that three line-cooks and a trailer work in.
There is no celebrity-chef here, just hard working men doing a darn good job with what they can offer… I suggest the hamburger… and a beer.
May I offer the observation that the invention of the “open kitchen” is just as innovative as locally brewing beer? Hummmm….