There are a billion billion versions of this restaurant, and not everyone knows there are other timelines and worlds, but all the timeline travelers go straight to this diner in every timeline because it'll usually be there, and it becomes a place for timeline travelers to meet and get food and such and try to figure out where they are and exchange stories about the timelines they've seen.

The owner realizes there's something weird but mostly focuses on just serving good coffee and how to exchange all these weird currencies into his world's equivalent currency (whether by selling gold or silver or whatever); and there's so many of them who have never gone back to their timeline, who can't because the chances are so tiny, that they could spend their entire life hopping and never hope to find it again. One of them was so excited because this world seemed really similar: it had the right number of Beatles and the right last three presidents, and New York was still named New York City and all that, but then they mentioned one tiny thing that the waiter boy didn't know about it and it crushed this old man traveler's heart.

  • 1
    do you have some idea of where/when it might have been published? When and how did you read it (anothology, online etc)?
    – Jack
    Nov 16, 2020 at 3:46
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    Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers doesn't have any mention of The Beatles, but it does mention the weird currency and there is an old traveller asking about presidents. It seems very likely it is the story being asked about. Nov 16, 2020 at 5:57
  • While I'm reminded of Munden's Bar in the Grimjack comic books, I doubt this is what the OP has in mind.
    – llywrch
    Nov 16, 2020 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


"Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers" by Lawrence Watt-Evans? The plot is:

A young man tells his story about growing up working at a greasy spoon diner near Sutton, West Virginia. Late at night it happened to be a hang-out for unusual travelers from alternate versions of Earth. After being tantalized by descriptions of far-off wonders, the young man begins to dream of hitching a ride in one of the "traveler's" vehicles.

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    There are at least a couple of other "Harry's All-Nibht Hamburgers" stories. I haven't read this one. I just found it on search. I have a copy of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine from August, 1991 that contains "A Flying Saucer with Minnesota Plates" by Lawrence Watt-Evans that is also about Harry's hamburger joint. There may be others.
    – JRE
    Nov 17, 2020 at 11:39
  • Yup. Well...I guess we'll find out if the questioner ever returns.
    – user83948
    Nov 17, 2020 at 13:40
  • Here is the story Nov 17, 2020 at 21:03

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