There was a time in this town when the old-fashioned diner was almost dead, done in by fast-food joints and yuppified sandwich "shoppes." Then Ruthie and Moe Helman hauled a 1956 Kullman dining car to the corner of Prospect and East 40th, and parked it behind their 1938 Jerry O'Mahoney (which had been on the lot since 1940). They built a lobby, expanded their kitchen, and crammed their modest breakfast and lunch menus full of authentic diner classics - dishes like homemade blueberry pancakes, real roasted turkey-breast sandwiches, and thick chocolate malts made with Pierre's Ice Cream. And lo, the people came - not only local cops, construction workers, and pols, but even visiting celebrities like Mick Jagger, Chrissie Hynde, and Calista Flockhart (though no record remains as to whether she actually ate
). More surprising still, other
retro-style diners once again started cropping up across the North Coast, apparently seeking to duplicate the success of Ruthie & Moe's delicious homemade food and authentic atmosphere. Suffice it to say, none has done so yet.