Diners have played a big part in the history of American dining, but they’re not just a relic of the past. Today’s diners serve tasty, inexpensive food that hearkens back to a simpler time. From greasy spoons in small towns to famous restaurants in bigger cities, here are some of the best diners in all 50 states.
1. ALABAMA // SALEM'S DINER
Location: Homewood, Alabama
Famous for its mouthwatering cheesesteak, Salem's Diner has delighted customers with diner staples such as hot cakes and Philly cheesesteak since 2006. Be sure to also get Salem's hash browns, which online reviewers describe as perfectly seasoned.
2. ALASKA // CITY DINER
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
The good food, friendly service, and '50s vibe make City Diner the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing meal. You can chow down on everything from blueberry hot cakes and white cheddar grits to short rib hash and reindeer sausage.
3. ARIZONA // COFFEE POT RESTAURANT
Location: Sedona, Arizona
Named after Coffee Pot Rock, the scenic red rock formation behind the diner, Coffee Pot Restaurant specializes in delicious breakfast and lunch food. Sip a cup of freshly ground Colombian coffee as you decide which of the 101 distinct omelets, from ham and cheese to peanut butter and jelly, you feel like ordering.
4. ARKANSAS // NEIGHBORHOOD DINER
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
If you’re craving simple, down-home diner fare, look no further than Neighborhood Diner. Since 1952, this unpretentious spot has proudly served American staples such as meatloaf, grits, and Frito pie. The chicken-fried steak is particularly popular; it’s hand-battered and comes with hash browns mixed with onions and jalapeños.
5. CALIFORNIA // MARLENE & GLEN'S DEAD FLY DINER
Location: Plymouth, California
Located off of Highway 49 in northern California, this diner will satisfy your breakfast and lunch needs, thanks to its 12 eggs Benedict dishes, dozens of burgers, and addictive jalapeño poppers. The classic diner décor is great, too, with its black and red checkered floor, red booths, and cute counter stools.
6. COLORADO // SAM'S NO. 3
Location: Multiple locations, Colorado
With locations in Glendale, Aurora, and Denver, Sam’s No. 3 boasts a huge menu of tasty dishes that will fill you up. Favorites include the breakfast burritos, Country Fried Steak Skillet, and the Pecan Waffle Sandwich, which is topped with two eggs and your choice of breakfast meat.
7. CONNECTICUT // VERNON DINER
Location: Vernon, Connecticut
Vernon Diner sells quesadillas, paninis, and wraps galore, but their desserts are in a league of their own. Besides the dozens of cakes, pies, and cheesecakes from which to choose, there’s even an espresso milk shake, made with espresso, chocolate ice cream and syrup, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry.
8. DELAWARE // SEAFORD EAGLE DINER
Location: Seaford, Delaware
Seaford Eagle Diner is the perfect spot to enjoy an unpretentious, no-frills meal with good friends and family. Open seven days a week, the restaurant excels with simple, down home food such as the Creamed Chipped Beef, Cheese Steak Hoagie, and Homemade Rice Pudding with whipped cream and raisins.
9. FLORIDA // 11TH STREET DINER
Location: Miami Beach, Florida
At 11th Street Diner, a classic railroad car, breakfast is served all day and (bonus!) there’s a full bar. While the retro diner serves the standard hamburgers, fries, and shakes, customers also rave about the honey grilled barbecue wings and Argentinian skirt steak.
10. GEORGIA // MARIETTA DINER
Location: Marietta, Georgia
This large, bustling, 24-hour restaurant serves upscale specials ranging from veal piccata to chicken fettuccine alfredo to rainbow trout almondine, though you might not guess it from the multi-colored neon lighting outside. Opened since 1995, the diner also has an impressive dessert case with cakes, pies, and cheesecakes galore.
11. HAWAII // DOWNBEAT DINER & LOUNGE
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Downbeat Diner serves classic diner food made with high quality ingredients. Start with the Chili Cheese Fries and Pesto Chicken Salad, or try the Teriyaki Burger for a Hawaiian spin on the standard hamburger. The diner is next door to Downbeat Lounge, a bar and live music venue where you can sip cocktails and catch performances four to five times a week.
12. IDAHO // JIMMY'S DOWN THE STREET
Location: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Jimmy's Down The Street in downtown Coeur d’Alene may be Idahoans’ favorite diner, bar none. More than 50 years ago, it opened in its current location as a soda shop, and today it serves southern comfort food such as chicken fried steak, pecan rolls, corned beef, and biscuits and gravy. There’s usually a line of people on weekends, so get there early.
13. ILLINOIS // THE 50'S DINER
Location: Peoria, Illinois
When you’re in the mood for Americana nostalgia, head to The 50's Diner, a spot that plays oldies songs and serves bottomless coffee. Daily specials include Swiss Steak and Beef Tips and Noodles, which you can finish off with Funnel Cake Fries or a classic chocolate malt. And, there's an adjoining gift shop so you can shop after eating.
14. INDIANA // EDWARDS DRIVE-IN
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Edwards Drive-In has a long history that dates back to 1957. Today, customers can eat burgers, sandwiches, and corn dogs (and wash them down with a growler of root beer) in the retro dining room or opt for curb service (carhops included). The side of Breaded Pickles is always a hit.
15. IOWA // THE BLUEBIRD DINER
Location: Iowa City, Iowa
This Midwestern soul food spot opened in 2008 and has been delighting hungry guests ever since. Highlights of The Bluebird Diner's creative menu include the buttermilk French toast and Green Chili with Smoked Pork soup.
16. KANSAS // PARADISE DINER
Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Paradise Diner provides an upscale, modern take on classic American diner favorites. The Beef Tenderloin Stroganoff and Chicken Fried Steak aren’t too greasy, and recipes are made with local, sustainable meat and eggs.
17. KENTUCKY // RICK'S WHITE LIGHT DINER
Location: Frankfort, Kentucky
Built in 1943, Rick’s White Light Diner is the oldest restaurant in Frankfort, and it's stuck around for good reason. Customers chow down on Cajun omelets, beignets, and jambalaya, and the small dining area creates a social, friendly atmosphere.
18. LOUISIANA // LIZ'S WHERE Y'AT DINER
Location: Mandeville, Louisiana
Liz Munson worked as a waitress for 15 years before opening her own restaurant, Liz’s Where Y’at Diner. Favorite breakfast items include three egg scramblers, a variety of Benedicts, and shrimp and grits.
19. MAINE // MOODY'S DINER
Location: Waldoboro, Maine
The story of Moody’s Diner goes way back to 1927, when Percy and Bertha Moody opened three cabins and, the next year, a lunch wagon. Today, the Moodys's great-grandchildren continue their legacy, serving simple meals such as pastrami and Swiss on grilled rye bread. Moody’s chocolate and pumpkin Whoopie Pies are so popular that the restaurant ships them all over the continental U.S.
20. MARYLAND // THE BLUE MOON CAFE
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Located in Fells Point, The Blue Moon Cafe specializes in creative breakfast dishes, from Captain Crunch French Toast to bacon and apple pancakes. The potato cakes are killer and are served with bacon, peppers, onions, applesauce, and sour cream.
21. MASSACHUSETTS // MIKE’S CITY DINER
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Mike’s City Diner has served huge portions of delicious grub for nearly two decades. The Pilgrim Sandwich, a Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich with homemade cranberry sauce, is massively popular, but Mike’s also offers an amazing French Toast dish. Diagonal slices of French bread are dipped in a mixture of egg, milk, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and vanilla, then topped with bananas, strawberries, and blueberries.
22. MICHIGAN // THE LESLIE DEPOT DINER
Location: Leslie, Michigan
Located next to the Michigan Central Railroad tracks, this converted train depot serves everything from onion straws and chicken strips to deep fried pretzels and country-fried steak. If you have a hankering for a sugary breakfast, get the BTS Waffle, a huge waffle topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, pecans, hot fudge, caramel, and a cherry.
23. MINNESOTA // BAND BOX DINER
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
This small diner, the last surviving location of a Minneapolis diner chain that was popular in the '50s and '60s, serves fantastic breakfast entrees and burgers. Order the much lauded Lunch Box Burger, a cheeseburger with coleslaw and Shoestring fries.
24. MISSISSIPPI // COUNTRY DINER
Location: Foxworth, Mississippi
Customers rave about the roadside Country Diner as the best spot to find authentic, home-style southern cooking. It’s not fancy, but the otherworldly flavors of the fried chicken, collard greens, and corn bread speak for themselves.
25. MISSOURI // MEL'S HARD LUCK DINER
Location: Branson, Missouri
If music and food go hand in hand for you, head to Mel’s Hard Luck Diner. Waitresses sing as they walk around the restaurant, and customers rave about the chili cheeseburger and onion rings. Pretzel lovers should order Mel’s Hard Luck Pretzel Burger, a half-pound patty with onions, bacon, and nacho cheese that comes on a perfectly cooked pretzel bun.
26. MONTANA // WOLFER'S DINER
Location: Havre, Montana
Wolfer's Diner is a '50s inspired spot complete with a jukebox and posters of old film stars on the walls. Each morning, chefs cut and grind locally sourced beef to make the burgers, and the hand-scooped milkshakes are divine.
27. NEBRASKA // LINCOLN HIGHWAY DINER
Location: North Platte, Nebraska
Locals love the Lincoln Highway Diner, a down-to-earth eatery that prides itself on fast, friendly service. Whether you order the corned beef hash, French toast, or hot roast beef sandwich, you can't go wrong.
28. NEVADA // THE GRIDDLE
Location: Winnemucca, Nevada
Since 1948, customers have flocked to The Griddle for homemade meals made with quality ingredients. Don’t miss out on the cream cheese-filled Pecan Crepes, which are topped with chopped pecans and a sweet, salty, bacon caramel sauce.
29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // LITTLETON DINER
Location: Littleton, New Hampshire
Since 1930, Littleton Diner has served home cooked meals to customers from all over New England. Politicians including John Edwards, Mitt Romney, John Kerry, and John McCain have visited the diner, which serves specials such as ribs with potatoes and corned beef hash.
30. NEW JERSEY // POMPTON QUEEN DINER
Location: Pompton Plains, New Jersey
New Jersey has tons of great diners, but Pompton Queen might be the best. Opened in 1987, the diner serves breakfast all day and is (thankfully) open 24/7/365. Our recommendation? Start with the Cheddar Jalapeño Poppers, move on to the Crab Cake Sliders, and top it all off with a gooey Fudge Brownie Sundae.
31. NEW MEXICO // THE PANTRY
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Since 1948, The Pantry has put a Southwestern twist on classic American diner food. The family-owned spot makes amazing buttermilk pancakes stuffed with berries and whipped cream, as well as a Huevos Rancheros dish with perfect proportions of eggs, fries, beans, chile, and cheese.
32. NEW YORK // LAKE EFFECT DINER
Location: Buffalo, New York
Housed in a restored dining car from the '50s, Lake Effect Diner is the epitome of authenticity. The diner smokes and cures meat from local farms, bakes its own baguettes, and even has the Guy Fieri stamp of approval. Don’t miss out on the Berry and Quinoa Granola Pancakes, a stack of three pancakes served with berries, maple butter, and whipped cream.
33. NORTH CAROLINA // TRUE FLAVORS DINER
Location: Durham, North Carolina
This inventive spot near Research Triangle Park offers customers sophisticated twists on classic diner food. Case in point? The house special, Howling Moon French, consists of buttermilk battered French Toast served with vanilla bean ice cream, brown sugar, and a moonshine sauce from North Carolina’s own Howling Moon Distillery.
34. NORTH DAKOTA // THE SHACK ON BROADWAY
Location: Fargo, North Dakota
If you have a hankering for delicious diner grub, look no further than The Shack On Broadway. Order the Hooligan Omelet for a taste of The Shack’s homemade chili, or get a strawberry or blueberry shake or malt. Besides regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, the diner also offers a kid’s menu and a senior menu, so everyone in your party will be happy.
35. OHIO // NUTCRACKER FAMILY RESTAURANT
Location: Pataskala, Ohio
This retro, '50s style diner features great coffee, homemade pies, and a bunch of colorful nutcrackers on display. Although it was once an ice cream parlor, Nutcracker Family Restaurant now serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To thank people who have served our country, the restaurant lets veterans eat free each Veteran's Day and the day after Memorial Day.
36. OKLAHOMA // SID'S DINER
Location: El Reno, Oklahoma
This greasy spoon outside Oklahoma City is serious about burgers. Specifically, Sid's is serious about the Fried Onion Burger, a beef patty with caramelized onions cooked into the beef and topped with pickles and mustard. Enjoy a thick milkshake and handful of piping hot fries with your burger, and marvel at the hundreds of old photos of life in Oklahoma that are on display.
37. OREGON // PATTIE’S HOME PLATE CAFE
Location: Portland, Oregon
When you dine at Pattie’s Home Plate Cafe, you’ll feel like you’re in a small town where everyone knows one another. Besides their heavenly biscuits and gravy, Pattie’s is famous for the quirky mannequins positioned throughout the restaurant.
38. PENNSYLVANIA // DINER 248
Location: Easton, Pennsylvania
With its rotating menu of daily specials, Diner 248 keeps guests’ taste buds and stomachs satisfied. Try the egg and cheese sandwich, served with fresh cut home fries, and save room for a slice or two of the chocolate peanut butter pie.
39. RHODE ISLAND // THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE DINER
Location: Exeter, Rhode Island
The best diners promise good comfort food and friendly service, and The Middle of Nowhere Diner is no exception. Its impressive menu offers tasty burgers and sandwiches, but don’t overlook the Belgian waffles. They come with your choice of toppings including blueberries, strawberries, peaches, chocolate, and bananas.
40. SOUTH CAROLINA // EARLY BIRD DINER
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Locating on the Savannah Highway, Early Bird Diner serves southern comfort food such as steak and eggs, a catfish po' boy, and country fried steak. Be sure to check out the diner’s walls, which feature cool artwork from local artists.
41. SOUTH DAKOTA // PHILLIPS AVENUE DINER
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Phillips Avenue Diner in downtown Sioux Falls is all about fun. Monday nights are Burger Night, Wednesdays are Waffle Wednesdays, and you can watch milkshakes being made if you sit at the counter. Don’t miss the Banana Bread French Toast, which comes with bananas and a sweet whipped topping.
42. TENNESSEE // ELLISTON PLACE SODA SHOP
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
At Elliston Place Soda Shop, which has been open for more than 75 years, the biscuits are warm and the service is friendly. Grab a seat at the counter to enjoy a butterscotch malt, or get the tuna melt and chili cheese fries for a more filling meal.
43. TEXAS // ORIGINAL MARKET DINER
Location: Dallas, Texas
Since 1954, Original Market Diner has morphed from a drive-in to a burger shop to a sandwich spot. Today, the diner serves simple, classic food to hungry Texans. Order an Old Fashioned Sugar Cane Soda, and don’t miss out on the Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread French Toast.
44. UTAH // RUTH'S DINER
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Started in 1930 by a cabaret singer named Ruth, Ruth's Diner has become the best spot to grab diner chow. The outdoor patio has plenty of shade and seating, but the menu is equally impressive. Try the Pulled Pork Benedict, Cinnamon Roll French Toast, or Reuben sandwich.
45. VERMONT // CHELSEA ROYAL DINER
Location: West Brattleboro, Vermont
You’ll eat like royalty at Chelsea Royal Diner, a vintage diner near Vermont’s Green Mountains. The menu features eggs and vegetables from the restaurant’s own backyard garden, and you can’t go wrong with the homemade ice cream, which comes in flavors such as Key Lime Pie and Rum Raisin.
46. VIRGINIA // METRO 29
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Since 1995, Metro 29 has given customers the delicious food and friendly service that befits a great diner. Whet your appetite with a basket of onion rings before moving on to the Triple Decker Chicken Salad Sandwich. The restaurant is open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight, and the on-site bakery offers a variety of pastries, cakes, and pies.
47. WASHINGTON // BIG AL'S DINER
Location: Blaine, Washington
Located in northern Washington, Big Al's Diner puts the joy into simple, comforting breakfast and lunch fare. As you eat everything from French toast and pancakes to omelets, burgers, and sandwiches, make sure to save room for a slice of apple pie or a root beer float.
48. WEST VIRGINIA // MOUNTAIN VIEW DINER
Location: Charles Town, West Virginia
Owned by a Greek family, Mountain View Diner serves omelets and corned beef hash alongside Spanakopita and Moussaka. And thanks to the diner’s in-house bakery, you can pick up decadent chocolate, red velvet, and carrot cakes on your way out.
49. WISCONSIN // MISS KATIE'S DINER
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Named after the owners’ grandmother Katherine, Miss Katie's Diner is a '50s themed diner that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Located near the I-94, the diner has hosted politicians including Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, and John Kerry. You can’t go wrong with the Corned Beef Hash Skillet, vanilla shake, or the cinnamon roll.
50. WYOMING // JOHNNY J'S DINER
Location: Casper, Wyoming
With two locations in Casper, Johnny J’s is your best bet for an authentic '50s diner experience. Sip a French Vanilla Cappuccino between bites of Banana Pecan Pancakes, and take in the colorful, retro vibe of the place.