Diner Porn is not strictly about the food. Instead, it highlights the best parts of the diner experience: the vintage decor, the chrome buildings, and most importantly, the people and the communities. Through photo essays and editorial vignettes, created as a collaboration between photographer Tom Eberhardt-Smith and writer Alecia Eberhardt-Smith, the project maintains a focus on the stories of diners, their owners and employees, and the people who patronize them.
Tom created the Diner Porn blog in 2013 as an homage to the importance of diners in his own life. As a child, his parents took him to Park West Diner in Little Falls, New Jersey (featured in the first chapter of this book). He fell in love (with Alecia!) at 7th Avenue Diner & Donuts in Brooklyn. When he was kicked out of his New York City apartment, he spent the night sitting at the counter of the Washington Square Diner on West 4th Street. In a way, diners have always been his home, and he’s tried to capture that through his photographs. After several months, Alecia—herself a diehard diner lover—joined the team to accompany the photos with writing.
When the pair began sharing their work, they realized that they were not alone in their love for 24-hour greasy spoons—the response was overwhelming. The project has been given international press attention, and nearly 65,000 people follow the blog at press time. This book was made possible by a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Diners hold a special place in American culture. They are both universal and unique—though diners, as classic American “icons,” have certain standards and commonalities, each individual restaurant has its own vibe, a real reflection of the surrounding community. Diners are democratic, welcoming all walks of life, from the neighborhood regulars to the truck-stop transients—anyone and everyone is welcome inside and invited to share their story. Like a train station or a bar, diners are a crossroads, a space of genuine human connection, fueled by coffee and all-day breakfast.
Diners have given Tom and Alecia a home in the way that they have for thousands of others across America, and that’s perhaps why this project has struck a chord with so many people—in every cup of coffee, stack of pancakes, or ice cream sundae, readers can find a bit of themselves.
What are other people saying about the project?
In July 2013, First We Feast lauded Diner Porn’s “gorgeous, tasteful shots.”
Also in July 2013, Thrillist spoke with Tom for a feature
In September 2013, Huffington Post called Diner Porn their “new Tumblr obsession.”
When we launched a Kickstarter in October 2014, Thrillist wrote about the campaign.
In December 2013, Tumblr named us one of their “Top Blogs of 2013.” Source
In March 2014, Chronogram, a Hudson Valley arts and culture magazine, put our faces on their cover and profiled Diner Porn in the magazine, online, and through a brief artist documentary video.
In December 2014, Hudson Valley 1, published a story on the project.