Why You Should Rethink Ordering Pasta Marinara At A Diner

Good things take time. Which is why the quick pace of a diner, despite its charm, isn't all glamorous. Somewhere in the back of the house, sacrifices are being made, and one of them is to your pasta marinara. So much so that it's one of the 11 items you should think twice about ordering from a diner. Indeed, when Italian mastery meets hasty, you get overcooked pasta marinara that's watery and tastes as dull as dishwater.

One reason behind this is pre-made food. Diners often resort to using jarred sauces to bring you the fastest service. But quick doesn't always translate to good, as is so evident when you're met with a lack of flavor depth. That love and attention of complex, simmered aromas often conjured when you make sauce from scratch is missing. Plus, diners likely aren't picking the most expensive or popular pasta sauce brands if they know anything about cutting costs.

So, if you start to think you can make a better homemade sauce than your local diner's, you're probably right. You're also better off making your own fresh pasta too – it's easier than you think. To accommodate the large breadth of menu offerings, diners tend to pre-cook their pasta, so, when you make an order, all they have to do is dunk it in hot water and serve. This usually translates to mushy, overcooked pasta that's soggy, and paired with a cheap sauce, diner pasta marinara just isn't worth your pennies.

Why diners often compromise on quality

That's not to say diners are out to get you with shoddy food — we have a list of 14 foods that always taste better in a diner, but pasta marinara isn't one of them. Maintaining a long menu with quick service likely has lots to do with it. Diners just don't have the luxury of offering cooked-to-order meals like fancy restaurants do. We'd argue that this goes against the concept of diners, which were initially made as trailers to serve quick, inexpensive meals for workers.

So what was once a fried egg lunch counter evolved into a hamburger, hotdog, and waffle joint with an extensive menu and sometimes round-the-clock service, yet still needed to be quick and convenient. There had to be a compromise. In a bid to maintain the convenience of a diner, salads and seafood, along with pasta marinara often fall prey to its scrimping.

And we know what you're thinking — how can a diner possibly mess up a salad, a food you don't have to cook? And we pose to you the question: How can they possibly skip store-bought dressing for in-house, and maintain a quick, affordable service? Bear with diners. You may have to skip their pasta marinara at all costs, but they still make a mean milkshake that always tastes better than at home.