Last night my husband and I went for a drive – no destination in mind except maybe to see the sun set. It was approaching twilight when we started, evidenced as much by the dimming sun as by the deer in the field and the rabbits getting a bite to eat before hunkering down for the evening, and the sounds shifting from daylight birds to nighttime. I predicted we’d see more wildlife so we drove the back roads with a little more care.
A small pang of hunger, probably best ignored if we wanted sleeker shapes. But as with too many well-intentioned ideas this one morphed from good idea of “skip the hunger” to “let’s just get a little bite to eat”.
So at 9pm we became guests of Rowley’s surprisingly busy Agawam Diner. Debbie our waitress was effervescent, funny and patient as we questioned everything (What is a “Pork Wing”? It is dark meat from a pig shank that she says is fabulous dipped in BBQ sauce. “Which pie is best?” They’ve won awards from a variety of magazines for cream and fruit pies.)
In the end we ordered “diner food”. Jon a supreme grilled burger, for me a tuna melt and cup of fish chowder that was way more fish than soup. No fries for either of us, we were after all cutting back. And then Jon after much deliberation ordered the banana cream pie, nothing either of us has ever ordered before. Debbie overhearing my questioning tone about the pie flavor and expressing more of an interest in coconut brought over a tiny “on the house” sliver of coconut for me.
The thing about low expectations is that they are often met. But at the Agawam Diner we found we loved the late night vibe, the chatty waitress and the food that was nothing at all like the grilled chicken salad I should have ordered. We looked around at the counter and the guests and found our people. We were the “Nighthawks”……. albeit more mature, less fashionably dressed nighthawks in suburbia with a self imposed 11pm curfew.
For an interesting article on a celebration of one of my favorite artists (Edward Hopper) click on this HuffPost story about the diner’s recreation last year by the Whitney Museum in NYC. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/16/nighthawks-painting_n_3768498.html
(c)2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell
Address: 166 Newburyport Turnpike, Rowley, MA 01969