Diners are as much a piece of nostalgic Americana as the apple pie that they so often serve. Their cozy atmosphere filled with witty banter and the scent of coffee and food cooking can be found along highways and city corners, in between laundromats and massage parlors — always serving some kind of familiar comfort food.The Island itself boasts several such diners, and I decided to visit Dock Street Coffee Shop, a favorite among year-round residents.
Dock Street can be missed by the untrained eye. A hop, skip, and a jump from the waterfront, it’s tucked away under a candy-striped awning and wedged between a bike rental shop and a small Black Dog retail store.
Walking through the screen door I was greeted with the smell of food on the flat top grill. The space stretches back in an oblong shape and the only seating is red cushioned, metallic stools along a lengthy countertop. Peppered along the wall are old photos of Edgartown and people enjoying Dock Street. A small shelf cubby houses a book exchange and T shirts bearing the inimitable diner’s name can be purchased.
Opened in 1975, like many other vintage diners, Dock Street is no vestige, but a thriving eatery that has consistently served its regulars breakfast and lunch for many years.
For my early morning meal I decided to go big and ordered enough food to put down a rhinoceros. In two shakes of a lamb’s tail my breakfast order of French toast, $5.50, and omelet with toast, homefries, and coffee, $12.50, was put in front of me.
My photo editor companion Gabrielle chose the bacon and egg on an English muffin, $5.25. A mere moment later she had finished the sandwich and told me “It really hit the spot.”
Dock Street’s menu covers its walls and sets itself apart with its low prices but high caliber diner food. The menu includes the establishment’s greatest hits such as the Patty Melt — a combination of a hamburger and a grilled cheese sandwich — $6.75, the Steak and Cheese Sub, $9, and the classic B.L.T., $6.
The taste of my omelet — filled with tomatoes, onions, and cheese — extended my hold on reality. I was aware of who I was, but not where I was. Was I in downtown Edgartown? Or was I at the Brunswick Diner back home in Maine, enjoying this omelet at 2 am with some friends? No, no, no, I was at Caper’s, the diner in Dunedin, New Zealand, tasting the omelet’s cheese with my best friend Blaze and our college pals. Alas, I was wrong again, I was definitely, surely, positively in Edgartown.
I felt at once in a place I knew, but had not been in before. I had not read the menu, but knew I could order eggs, bacon, and homefries. But that’s the magic of diners and the magic of Dock Street.
If you’re looking for a place to eat, when you’re feeling down and maybe beat, head to Dock Street and take a seat. For what is finer than a diner.
Dock Street Coffee Shop, 2 Dock St., Edgartown, is open every day, year-round from 6:30 am to 1:30 pm. For more information, call 508-627-5232.