04/04/2013 06:41 pm ET Updated Jun 04, 2013

Denny's: Manhattan Grand Slam

Out there, beyond the Hudson, was something wonderful.

A French dip. With extra dip. (Commercials might call it "au jus," but, face it, it's just jus.)

This French dip, this, er, sandwich, despite its Gallic euphony, was, in fact, a Gallic phony, symbolizing not France, but our America. Phoniness is the intellectual underpinning of the French dip, from its lack of adherence to dip structure as established by purported inventor Philippe's, to the fact that Cole's, also of L.A., offers conflicting claims of creation, to the fact that I had my first FD at a Red Baron restaurant, yet the home of the French dip in my heart has always been Denny's

And Denny's was America.

Well into modernity, entry into New Jersey has served as a welcome to America for no other reason than the fact that there, beside the highway, loomed the Denny's sign, something which could not, according to the immutable laws of nature, be found in The City of New York. That there were no Denny's in New York, even more than the absence of, say, Wal-Mart, was emblematic of our singularity, our sovereignty. It symbolized not the absence of chain restaurants, but, perhaps more importantly, our city's resistance. Sure, you could go to Applebee's in Times Square, you could have a slice of Papa John's pizza (such as it is), but a Grand Slam Breakfast was out of the question.

Now, there will be Denny's in Manhattan. Displaced Idahoans are dancing merrily.

Immutable laws have been muted.

But how will we know when we're in America?