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Greasy spoon

A greasy spoon is a colloquial term for a downmarket cafeteria ("caff") or restaurant.

The name suggests unsanitary conditions where improper dishwashing has left grease on the cutlery. In a simplistic stereotyping the usual bill of fare in such establishments is rarely likely to rise above tepid, weak, tea; combinations of bacon, eggs, sausages, burgers and chips[?] swimming in a veritable miasma of unadulterated lard, and pastries of dubious provenance and uncertain vintage. further stereotyping would suggest that the customary reading material of the clientele in Britain is one of the tabloid newspapers, most commonly The Sun or, in the case of roadside greasy spoons, the further downmarket Star or Sport. The term appears to date from 1925.

Greasy spoons are (in televisual and movie culture) invariably the rendezvous of choice of villains on the brink of pulling a major multi-million pound heist and frequent locations for situation comedy.

Greasy spoons are also favoured locations for British television reporters when statistics for heart disease occasioned by high cholesterol levels are released.

The traditional greasy spoon has been in decline for many years as a direct consequence of the ubiquitous franchising of the extensively marketed restaurant chains.

The demand for this cuisine has resulted in the establishment of greasy spoons all over the world and particularly in coastal resorts located within an hour's coach ride from charter airlines' destinations. At such locations, FEB's (Full English Breakfasts) may be consumed on an all-day basis (to accommodate late rising clients) and are often accompanied by day-old copies of The Sun.

Greasy spoons in music and other media

The term was used by the rock band Status Quo as part of the title of their third album, "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon", which featured (on the original album cover) a particularly telling photograph of a worker in just such an establishment.

Hawkwind named their album "Hall of the Mountain Grill" after their favourite greasy spoon, the Mountain Grill in Portobello Road[?] in London.

Greasy spoons are also frequently musically depicted, as explicitly by, for example, the singer-songwriter Harry Chapin in the song "The Old Greasy Spoon" or implicitly by the Spin Doctors in the song "Hungry Hamed's".

For a taste of the archetypal greasy spoon, see the opening scene of Bruce Robinson[?]'s 1986 film "Withnail and I[?]".

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