The Little Diner

He made the onion rings from scratch!

I don’t know about you, but I’m confused by modern life. I grew up in the sixties, when the middle class ruled, when we’d never heard of private jets and the mantra of my generation was to be all you could be, yes, the army ripped us off.

You went to college to learn, not to get a profession. Our parents didn’t fret over our job prospects, then again, higher education was relatively inexpensive.

Life was about experiences and fulfillment.

And now we’ve lost our way.

The poor are struggling to survive, as the rich keep telling them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

And the rich are nearly invisible, except in the media. They don’t shop where we do, they don’t fly commercial, and they utilize their money and power to keep their way of life in place, brainwashing those beneath them that they’re job creators and if people just worked harder, put their nose to the grindstone, they could have everything they do.

You couldn’t work harder than Brian Little. And he employs almost ten people. But he’s not getting rich. Because Mr. Little realizes it’s all about passion, that life is long, and if you’re not having fun, it’s going to be dreary and depressing.

The Little Diner has the worst location in Vail.

It does no advertising.

But it’s the number one rated eating establishment on Yelp. Because we’re all searching for a bit of authenticity, as well as good food.

At McDonald’s you have it their way, every burger is exactly the same. But in a mechanized world where our computers never crash and automobile breakdowns are a thing of the past, we’re looking for some rough edges, some uniqueness. You see life is about individuals, and in truth they’re rare. You’ve got girls following nitwit Kim Kardashian, trying to look just like her. And guys believing if they wear hoodies, they can be Mark Zuckerberg. Everybody’s focusing on their “brand” and few are doing the work. Because the truth is the work is hard, and it rarely makes you famous.

Brian Little is not a movie star. His establishment is tiny. But we had to wait forty minutes today for a seat in the off-season, because people just want more of what he’s got.

Sure the food is good, as a matter of fact it’s phenomenal! But the show is even better. You can’t take your eyes off Brian Little not because he’s beautiful, not because he’s rich, but because he never leaves the zone, he seems to be hypnotized as he creates his dishes.

It’s kind of like how it used to be in music. You went to see Eric Clapton and Duane Allman extract mellifluous notes from their instruments. It wasn’t about clothing or backdrops, not theatrics or production. To see a master at work was enough.

So I discovered the Little Diner via Yelp. Every city I go to, I pull up the app. Sure, it’s imperfect, but in the twenty first century we crave data, we can never get enough.

And I was stunned to see the Little Diner atop the ratings. I’d been going to Vail for years and never heard of it! I didn’t see it advertised in the “Vail Daily,” there was no social media campaign, it had to be a fraud.

And then we went.

It was the last day of the season. When the snow was so sticky it was like skiing in molasses. We quit early, with our bodies still intact, and took the bus to Lionshead. So far, it was nearly beyond the commercial district.

Yes, the Little Diner is two shops from the end of the line.

And when we got there it was unimpressive. A U-shaped counter with a kitchen inside. Kind of like the Apple Pan, but smaller.

And I’m not much of a breakfast eater, and it was after noon, so I went for the Philly Cheese Steak.

The amount of TLC involved in the production was astounding. The squirting of oil, the chopping with utensils, the baking of the bread, the putting of the whole thing under a cap. It would be so much easier to do a half-assed job.

But then it wouldn’t taste quite as good.

And that’s what the Little Diner’s reputation is based upon, the taste of the food.

No one cares anymore, whether it be Comcast that refuses to let you disconnect or the low level workers stealing from the underpaying employer. America too often is about the shrug. The belief that since the game is rigged, you might as well bend the rules to your own satisfaction. So when someone does it right, it’s astounding.

The Little Diner opens every day at 7 and closes at 2. Brian used to work 7 days a week.

Because he loves it.

Don’t ask me about money, I still haven’t figured it out.

But I do know that most of the jobs that pay so well I don’t want to do. And so many of those doing them hate them. They’re only in it for the paycheck. Believing if they drive a nice enough car, live in a fancy enough house, they’ll win.

But this is untrue.

We’re just animals, here on the planet for a short while. We’re in search of pleasure and sustenance, we need fuel for our bodies and our brains. And the food revolution is taking care of our bodies, but what is going to take care of our souls?

That’s the challenge.

Brian Little has it all figured out.

Good luck to you!

The Little Diner

Yelp – restaurants Vail, CO

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