|How Coffee Changed America|
One item I found interesting was that prior to WWI coffee was drank largely in coffee houses or taverns. Coffee houses of the era did not serve full meals, dining was reserved for restaurants. However, when the doughboys returned from the war they wanted to be able to eat meals as well as drink coffee in neighborhood shops. From that desire the iconic American diner was born.
In thinking about it, it is clear that diner's layouts are the same as most small taverns, with a counter instead of a bar and the back wall of liquor bottles replaced with coffee urns and the pass-through windows to the kitchen. The booths or tables for small parties are the same as taverns, although more windows and lighting have been added.
Below, and after the jump are some pictures of diner interiors. I had never thought about it before, but from the similarity is seems obvious that they just reused the floor plan of taverns when they created the new style of coffee houses.
(How Coffee Changed America hat tip: Andrea Smart)