You know the place. You've been there.

The long, boomerang-patterned Formica counter. The aromas of coffee and burgers on the grill. A dozen conversations in the booths; people at the counter looking at the little jukeboxes, wondering if they should inflict a song on everyone else. An old Crosley TV bolted up in the corner; a pay phone in the back with a rotary dial. A toothpick dispenser. Chrome stools. Menus stuck in metal basket that has your ketchup and your mustard in Squeez-Pleez plastic dispenser.

If you’re surprised, you’re not alone. I’m surprised. I thought this was dead for good, but here it is: a podcast with a 20-year pedigree.

Well, that’s a bit pretentious. Let’s say it’s an idea to which I keep coming back. The Diner, an improvised chat from a roadside eatery out on Highway 23, first went on the air in 1997 on KSTP AM-1500. It was a late-night show with a cult following - in other words, small. The radio run ended by my decision when I got my columnist job at the StarTribune; it came back for a while on Saturday afternoons, but the vibe wasn’t right.

The podcasts began in 2005, the first wave of such things, and had a strong run until it started to feel like a chore and an obligation. The last episodes were in 2013, but I never felt as if I’d closed it up for good. I mean, it’s not mine to close. It’s there whether I go or not.

If you’re wondering what it is, exactly, it’s this: thirty minutes of old peculiar music and the occasional vague plot. There’s no script, which is obvious; I’ve no idea where the ep will go, and select the music as I go along.

New episodes will be posted on Tuesday. Will the Dark Chef, long lost to us, ever return? I’ve no idea. I’d like to think it’ll happen. We’ll just have to see where this story takes us. I’m sure I’m probably repeating some things I’ve done before - but really, who cares? I’m going back, and it's fun.

James Lileks 2018