The Diner has become a beacon of delicious breakfast food for those days when a crescent or pastry just won’t cut it. With bagels, omelettes, pancakes, burgers, milkshakes and more, the Diner has become famous for its American dishes and original diner feel. We interviewed Valentino Pagliari, one of the owners of the Diner, to see how this awesome Florence institution came about.
Q: When did the Diner open and why did you decide to open one in Florence?
A: The actual diner opened up in 2004 in a different location than where we are today, and moved to Via dell’Acqua in 2007. We decided to open a diner in Florence mainly due to the large study abroad student population, and the fact that Florence seemed to be missing a breakfast place.
Q: What did you hope to accomplish by opening the Diner?
Our goal was to provide students with a comfortable place to come when they are abroad. We also wanted to make Italians realize that they can have a good hamburger and not look down on American food.
Q: What makes the diner an important part of Florence?
A: It’s unique and it’s a great place for people to meet, relax and grab some coffee.
Q: How did you put the menu together?
A: We started out with the basics–omelettes, pancakes, burgers and milkshakes, and then bounced ideas off of customers over the years. Recently, we’ve also added some typical English breakfast items to appeal to more northern Europeans.
Q: What sets the diner apart from any other American establishments in Florence?
A: The clear vision of what we are, as opposed to offering football, dancing, etc. when we just want to serve food and be the best at that at all times of the day. We’re not trying to push other things on other people. We just want to be a diner and that’s it.
Interview by Josh Berger