A Blue State

What to do on those inevitable slow news afternoons where even a call from Red Lobster regarding their “reinvented” brand seems interesting? How ‘bout a nod to Blue Collar Bar—not for their intentionally dismissive name, but for reviving (at least in name), the blue plate special.

During the 1920s and 30s, so-called blue plate specials were common features on American diner menus. The phrase became slang for a daily offering of meat and sides on one dish and for one low, low price.

So much for nostalgia: 99 cent burgers accomplish the same thing with more of the trans fats one needs to build statistically accurate thighs and properly high cholesterol levels. Blue plate specials began their long fall into near oblivion with the arrival of fast foods, yet the phrase lingers and many old-timers fondly recall climbing into booths at silvery diners and ordering the cheapo meal.

There may be a few holdouts still whipping up such deals. For Blue Collar Bar it’s just part of their working stiff theme—you know, where Uptown types descend on faux trucker bars to feign low-end good times. But they seem to do things right, judging by the menu alone. There’s meatloaf, pork chops, even a “classic”—oh, hate to use that word with this—Salisbury steak, each served with two sides for $7.95.

That’s in the spirit of the thing, at least. Of course, most diners truly earned another once-popular slang description: “greasy spoon.” Don’t know how Blue Collar Bar will fare. --Dave Faries

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