Marlow is a contraction of Tarlow's name and that of the other owner, Mark Firth. The two had worked together at the Odeon, a pioneering Manhattan bistro, before opening Diner on a shoestring in 1998, on the cusp of Williamsburg's wildfire gentrification. There, they created a place with an out-of-the-way, speakeasy feel. Its arrestingly short menu was received by many first-time visitors as ironic. "We had a business based on a salad, a burger, and a couple of steaks," says Tarlow. "It was built on necessity, really, as we couldn't afford a big menu." I started going to Diner in 1999 and quickly became a regular. I remember Firth's letting out a cheer when I arrived dressed to the nines for an Oscars night. I remember the day in 2000 when I had my first hamburger in more than ten years, putting the final nail into the coffin of my vegetarianism. I remember the night I took my parents there, and, after an unhurried meal and plenty of wine, they told me the story of how they met and fell in love. The place became part of the weave of city life for me, just as it became part of the fabric of the neighborhood.