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What's the difference between a coffee shop and a diner?

There's a best diner thread on the LA board. And some of the recs say "It's not really a diner, it's a coffee shop."

I understand there is a difference, I just don't know what it is.

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  1. I think once upon a time, a coffee shop was basically a diner. If someone said to me "old fashioned coffee shop" I would imagine a diner.

    With the advent of Starbuck's, however, I think coffee shop now means place with fancy latte drinks, WiFi access, and maybe frozen coffee and/or tea drinks.

    A diner, to me, still has barstool seating, pancakes, burgers, shakes, malts, and only black coffee. No espresso drinks!

    1. The extent of the menu. Diners' go on for pages. A coffee shop is for sandwiches, maybe soup.

      1. I think of a diner as stand alone with parking and a coffee shop as a shop on the ground floor of a multi-storey office bldg.

        2 Replies
        1. re: yayadave

          that is pretty much how i think of them as well. coming from new york city, when i was growing up we also had luncheonettes....which i remember as being expanded candy/magazine stores, with a cash register in front, where you could buy candy/magazines, etc., then usually a counter where you could be served, and then some tables/chairs alongside or behind the counter.

          1. re: mshpook

            And one degree away from that is a deli. I think!

        2. don't diners serve breakfast (usually all day?), & coffee shops are where you go to buy a tall soy latte, "study", & use the free yfi? maybe it's a regional thing, weird!

          1. meatloaf, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and a veggie !