The diner in movies has been a centerpiece of visual storytelling since the golden age of Hollywood. Gangsters, lovers, runaways, criminals, lawyers, people of all walks of life have slid into the intimate sanctuary of a diner booth to unwrap the saga of their lives. And here in Winston Salem, each of us has at one point or another found comfort in the cozy walls of Mary’s Gourmet Diner. A destination for many visiting Winston, for the community it was a thriving constant—a weekend epiphany when you were craving an atmosphere laden with authentic quirk, outrageously kind staff, and food that you’d be talking about into the next week. Here’s to you, Mary Haglund, and all of the staff at Mary’s who provided their own sanctuaries when we needed them.
Scorsese’s known for his tales of masculine struggle—but too many people haven’t checked out one of his early, emotional gems starring Kris Kristofferson and Emily Burstyn. Available to rent on VOD.
Perhaps the most iconic diner scene of this decade, it turned the shooting location of the scene into a tourist hotspot in Miami where the diner formerly known for being a little dive now serves Moonlight fans looking to enjoy their own plate of Kevin’s “Chef Special.” Available on Netflix and Kanopy.
Before George Lucas joined the ranks of Disney to take over the world of entertainment, he made a little movie about teenagers screwing around in the early sixties with an appearance by a young Ron Howard. Available on Showtime and Starz.
Kevin Bacon and Mickey Rourke star in this early 80s indie about a group of friends who trade stories about their lives around a diner booth before one of them gets married. Available on VOD.
There’s no doubt you know why this one is on this list. And yes, we know it’s technically a deli (come on). When’s the last time you gave it a watch? It’s maybe the rom-com that is to this day emulated in whatever the genre turns out next. Available on DirecTV, FreeForm, and Showtime.
Ah, one of the great mid-budget films of the past decade from celebrated director, Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Shaun of the Dead). The diner here is where Baby—our main character, a getaway driver whose iPod is his fuel—meets his love interest played by Lily James (Cinderella ) and plays a central role throughout the film when characters need time to suss out plans for a heist. Available on VOD.