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An American tradition: Diner Porn captures the classic eatery

The historic Village Diner in Red Hook, NY
Photos by Tom Smith

By Isabel Braverman
July 9, 2014

SAUGERTIES, NY — One thing that makes diners so special is you know what to expect from them—breakfast foods and standard American favorites, old school or art deco décor, coffee—and yet the beauty is that each is different in its own way. That’s what Alecia Eberhardt and Tom Smith capture: the beauty of diners. They feature diners in the Catskills and other areas on their photo project Diner Porn.

Alecia and Tom, who are engaged, live in Saugerties and run the creative company Eberhardt Smith, where Alecia is a writer and Tom a photographer. Tom started Diner Porn in February 2013. “It wasn’t so much that I was interested in photographing [diners],” Tom explained. “It’s just that I was always at them, and I was also a photographer.” And what about the name? “My friends and I, whenever we were at [diners], would try to get the best Instagram photo and we would hashtag them ‘diner porn.’ So we started calling it diner porn, and the rest is history,” Tom explained.

The project started out small. Their Tumblr, where they post the photos, started out with 40 followers. Then, last July, Tumblr chose them for the Top Blogs for 2013, and their following skyrocketed to 45,000. After that, Tom said he started doing things differently. He meets with the owners and lets them show off what is special about their diners. “I went to one two weeks ago that serves pizza, and they were like, ‘Well, we serve pizza,’ and I was like, ‘OK, let’s do it!’” Tom said. Alecia became more involved when they began writing longer descriptions about the diners they feature.

So far they have photographed diners in Catskills places like Kingston, Phoenicia, Saugerties and Poughkeepsie, as well as New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. The photos are stunning depictions of diners: the food and the people. There are tantalizing close-ups of syrup dripping down pancakes, smiling waitresses, steaming coffee and diner staples like booths, soda fountains, paper placemats, large menus, eggs and burgers.