Griffin Loves Diners

Photos by Michael Halsband
Text by Griffin Dunne

I once passed O.J. Simpson in the hallway of the Las Vegas County Courthouse when he was on trial for theft and assault. When our eyes locked he said, “Love your work, man."  It’s a common go-to greeting show folk say to each other that isn’t always genuine but polite nonetheless. My segments for Prince Street are called Love Your Work but the people I interview do work that I actually love and admire. 

Gus Maroulletis, is the short order cook-owner of La Bonbonniere diner. He gets up at 4:30 am and single handedly makes five different soups daily as well as countless lunches and breakfasts for New Yorkers on the go with the grace of a gazelle. He learned his trade as a cook in the Greek army.

Marina Arrieta is the manager-waitress of La Bonbonnierre and human traffic controller who makes sure people are seated, fed and sent on their way. And over at Little Poland, a diner in the East Village Renata Jurczyk manages the place owned by her brother-in-law.

They each serve a vital role in their neighborhoods by providing comfort food and community for the elderly, the hipsters, cops, and bus drivers who don’t want arugula on their eggs or $12 muffins.

As rents rise and the ethnic fabric of precincts unravel, diners are under siege. Not just Gus, Marina and Renata’s, but all diners in every borough of this city I love. So naturally, I love their work and hope you will too, but more importantly, I implore you to support your local greasy spoon in whatever neighborhood you might live.

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