The word “diner” most often conjures visions of chrome-footed bar stools, milkshakes topped with whipped cream, and rosy-cheeked servers wearing jaunty, paper hats.
Truly an all-American trope.
But did you know that the diner has a far more impactful place in modern North American history?
In the mid-20th Century, most restaurants were places of segregation — if African-American patrons were even allowed in, they usually had to sit in designated areas, and often had to enter through a different door.
However, a handful of diners and casual restaurants turned a blind eye to the social norm of the time and became safe spaces for leaders and supporters of the civil rights movement to congregate and strategize.
Diners became havens to speak freely. To build momentum. To give a voice to the voiceless.
In 1960, organized, non-violent civil rights protests occurred across the American South. These protests, called sit-ins, most often happened at diners where black patrons were refused service, but then refused to leave. With media coverage and social pressure across the nation, these events were integral to destabilizing the segregation laws of the time.
So why does this matter today?
At True True Diner, we stay true to the notion of social responsibility and transparency with our customers and staff. This concept influences all parts of our business.
Our chef Suzanne Barr is a noted social advocate, helping to lift and support marginalized people within the workspace. Our team are all paid equal, livable wages and tips are pooled among not only front-of-house staff, but with the kitchen as well. This is how teamwork works. It us truly a unique approach to employment.
For our customers, we want everyone to enter our space and feel welcome. We are reintroducing the spirit of the diner as a place for people of all backgrounds to convene, revel, eat, drink, and speak their truth.
This is our diner. This is our truth. This is our True True.
647 350 3228
169 King Street East
Toronto, ON M5A 1J4