Visitors to Iceland are often quite taken by how Americanised this country is, from car culture to hot dogs to burger joints all over the place. What you won’t find, though, is that quintessential element of Americana, the all-night diner.
It’s hard to understand why there are no real diners here. It certainly isn’t because late-night downtown revelers are just too rowdy to be let into restaurants. There are plenty of diners in parts of US cities where people get decidedly rowdy. And there are also a number of walk-in takeaway places where late-night revelers can get a sub or a kebab and then dawdle on home.
But all-night diners were never meant to be the kind of place where you load up on carbs to soak up all the beer you guzzled downtown. It’s where you go to have a cup of coffee and some coconut cream pie after midnight, as you gaze out the window reflecting on what went wrong in your life, while Perry Como plays from a tiny jukebox at your booth. If there was ever a country that needed such a setting, it’s Iceland. It would seem as though we’ve all collectively agreed that nighttime is drunk time, and if you just want someplace to chill and reflect, you’re gonna have to do that at home. As such, all-night diners remain yet another thing missing in Iceland.