Nostalgia has led us to expect certain things from a diner: lots of chrome, a grill in full view behind the counter, pies under plastic domes, waitresses in polyester uniforms who call you "hon," endless cups of burned coffee, regulars who drop by at 3 a.m., cigarette butts smoldering in plastic ashtrays. North city's Goody Goody Diner has none of these things, except the waitresses and the regulars. It even has — egad! — tables and chairs. But if accoutrements are what's important to you, go to Johnny Rockets. The Goody Goody is the real thing, a St. Louis classic since 1948. Here you can still get warm, fluffy biscuits and root beer in a frosted mug. You can tuck into diner classics such as hamburgers and omelets, or house specials, such as the Toastamale or the Wilbur, a monster omelet stuffed with hash browns, peppers, onions and tomatoes. (Both of these come drenched in chili and covered with cheese.) And if you can't decide between breakfast and lunch, there's the fried chicken-and-waffle platter, each side equally delicious. Actually, the only thing wrong with the Goody Goody is that it closes at two in the afternoon and stays closed all day Sunday. Those biscuits and coffee at 3 a.m. ought to be a basic American right.
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