Ramy Youssef Likens New Jersey Diners To A Religious Experience

With more diners than any other state as of 2015, New Jersey has the impressive honor of being known as the diner capital of the world. That year, Bon App├ętit spoke with Mark Nonestied of the Low House Museum about an exhibit the museum held in celebration of the state's 600-plus diners. Nonestied explained some factors that made New Jersey ripe for an abundance of diners were the state's roadways connecting New York and Philadelphia carrying hungry travelers as well as New Jersey's working-class residents looking for affordable dining options.

To answer any concerns over authenticity, New Jersey 101.5 put together a list of criteria for what constitutes a "real diner" including requirements like having paper placemats, laminated menus, and a counter with stools. One person who has had the opportunity to explore the New Jersey diner scene up close is Ramy Youssef. Youssef is the creator and star of Hulu's "Ramy," set in New Jersey, and in his real life, Youssef attended high school at Rutherford High and even spent some time at Rutgers (via NJ.com). In an episode of "Hot Ones," Youssef shared the importance of these iconic Jersey establishments in his own life.

Ramy Youssef opens up about diners on Hot Ones

In addition to providing breakfast around the clock, with their big booths and late-night hours, diners also offer many a unique space for contemplation. In his book "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity," filmmaker David Lynch wrote, "There's a safety in thinking in a diner. You can have your coffee or your milkshake, and you can go off into strange dark areas, and always come back to the safety of the diner." Beyond offering a safe space to think, for actor and director Ramy Youssef, spending time in New Jersey diners has led up to some pretty big life changes.

In an episode of "Hot Ones," Youssef explains how diners have helped shape his life, revealing that there was an employee named George at the Candlewyck Diner who he spoke to before he dropped out of college (via YouTube). Youseff also said, "I think I decided I was going to get married in a diner booth." It's no coincidence that more than one of Youssef's major decisions have been made at diners. For him, New Jersey diners offer more than just disco fries but also an opportune place for introspection. As Youssef said on "Hot Ones," when it comes to being in a diner, "It's kind of like a pew in a church, but with food."