Diners are a quintessential part of living in America. They’re here for you 24/7, and they’ll always serve you waffles, no matter what time of day. It’s why we’re still so obsessed with Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives despite binge-watching 24 seasons of it already. They’re the place to be, and these are some the best places to be. So, hop in. We’re taking a trip to Flavortown:
John’s City Diner (Birmingham, Alabama)
Diners should be allowed to dim the lights and get a little fancy. John’s City Diner brings classiness into the diner scene with its famous meatloaf, which comes with smashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. There’s also an extensive drink menu featuring wine glasses with sassy sayings on them like “Get Some.”
Duncan House Diner (Homer, Alaska)
Alaska isn’t really well-known for its diners, but Duncan House is an exception. With totem poles and Alaskan artwork, this place really embraces its Alaskan heritage. It also embraces its diner identity with its classic American menu (you can get any type of eggs any time of day) and the retro music that plays throughout the restaurant.
Little Anthony’s Diner (Tucson, Arizona)
Nothing screams 50’s as loudly as Little Anthony’s Diner does. They have a classic black and white checker-patterned floor, glossy red cushioned chairs, and walls decorated with 50’s Coca-Cola advertisements. And if that weren’t enough, they’re selling the Recession Buster Lunch, which includes a burger, fries, a soft drink, and a sundae for $6.99.
Bulldog Restaurant (Bald Knob, Arkansas)
Despite its restaurant tagline, Bulldog Restaurant serves up pies better than any diner could, especially the coconut meringue. Big portion sizes and decadence are its specialties, but be sure to save room for their entire dessert menu if you visit.
Uncle John’s Cafe (Los Angles, California)
In-N-Out might be your go-to for late night food, but once you try Uncle John’s Cafe, you’ll never want to go back. Sure, it’s not your typical “American” diner experience, but downtown LA has hella good Chinese food that you gotta take advantage of. So, order some spicy pork chops and rice with a side of eggs when you get here.
King’s Chef Diner (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Get a diner that doesn’t make you wait and treats you like a king. The outside of King’s Chef Diner is a purple castle (basically the one from your childhood dreams). On the inside, they’re serving up their breakfast burrito, which was dubbed the “tastiest breakfast in Colorado” by Food Network Magazine. Plus, they’ve got two locations so you have no excuse not to visit.
Olympia Diner (Newington, Connecticut)
Olympia Diner serves food Ron Swanson-style: no frills and all food. It’s been serving Connecticutians classic American food for the past 50 years. Plus, it’s a great place to Instagram (Robert DeNiro filmed a movie here).
Lucky’s Coffee Shop (Wilmington, Delaware)
The name Lucky’s Coffee Shop is deceiving, just like its small exterior that you’d probably drive by if you weren’t looking for it. Even though it serves great coffee, they also specialize in large portion sizes and biscuits.
The Diner (Washington D.C.)
The Diner is trendier than your ordinary diner. It’s where you would go to get brunch on a Sunday or for happy hour from 2 pm to 6 pm every Monday through Friday. Oh, and they make good Oreo Milkshakes too (who doesn’t love Oreos?).
The Three Coins Diner (Tampa, Florida)
The Three Coins Diner is cheap (like the name suggests), but it’s also great at making delicious food, especially French toast and pancakes. This diner is a haven for college students because, at The Three Coins Diner, all day breakfast meets cheap food meets open 24 hours a day.
Marietta Diner (Marietta, Georgia)
Named after the suburb it’s located in, Marietta Diner serves up your classic diner food, plus some untraditional dinner dishes like Matzoh ball soup. It has a huge menu, so you’ll never run out of new things to try. Plus, Guy Fieri vetted this diner on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives so you know it is legit.
Big City Diner (various locations in Hawaii)
As the slogan says, “There’s no finer diner than Big City Diner.” Unlike other greasy diners, Big City Diner serves Kimchee fried rice with an egg on top, and they have a lot of healthier meal options, such as their miso soup with tofu, their Kamiya papaya fresh fruit medley, and their vegetable platter. Its popularity is evident because there are already 5 locations in Hawaii despite opening its first location in 1998.
Dixie’s Diner (Idaho Falls, Idaho)
Dixie’s Diner has all of your diner essentials: jukeboxes at every booth, old-fashioned chocolate malt shakes, build your own breakfast menus, and quick service. It’s basically where all of your 50’s fantasies come true.
Glenns Diner (Chicago, Illinois)
Seafood isn’t usually synonymous with diners unless it involves food poisoning, but we’d gladly eat the seafood at Glenns Diner, which includes crab legs, clam chowder, and jambalaya. And, if that wasn’t enough, you can pair your lobster roll with a bowl of cereal taken from their wall of cereal boxes.
Triple XXX Family Restaurant (West Lafayette, Indiana)
Once there were over 100 Triple XXX root beer stations around the United States. Now only one location that serves that brand of root beer remains. That’s Triple XXX Family Resturant. It is now the oldest drive-in in Indiana, and it has continued the tradition of serving root beers with the Tripple XXX brand and the Duane Purvis All-American burger, a burger with peanut butter inside.
Pullman Diner (Iowa City, Iowa)
Yes, you can order charcuterie here. And bone marrow. And salmon tartare. But despite selling a lot of newer, more experimental menu items, you can still get your classic hamburger and fries here. Just don’t be afraid to add some bacon jam to your fries and try some modern twists to your classic diner food.
Doo-Dah Diner (Wichita, Kansas)
Located on Kellogg Street (like the cereal company), Doo-Dah Diner was meant to make breakfast foods. Every day, they feature a new menu item, but if you’re looking for something sweet (but not overpowering), order their banana bread French toast. They also sell waffles made out of hashbrowns. It’s Leslie Knope approved.
Rick’s White Light Diner (Frankfort, Kentucky)
Rick’s White Light Diner is another diner featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It doesn’t try to be anything that it isn’t. It is where diner food, barbecue, and cajun food combine to form a beautiful hybrid worth every cent.
Strawn’s Eat Shop (Shreveport, Louisiana)
Who says you have to go to New Orleans for good food? In Shreveport, Strawn’s Eat Shop is serving up one of the best-tasting strawberry pies in the nation loaded with whipped cream. They’re also serving the breakfast food essentials like strawberry waffles with a ton of maple syrup.
Maine Diner (Wells, Maine)
You can’t have a restaurant in Maine without it serving lobster in some form. At Maine Diner, they turn their lobster into lobster pies with flaky, delicious crusts and covered in a buttery crumble. They also make a rich and hearty clam chowder.
Silver Diner (Baltimore, Maryland)
When it comes to the best diners in Maryland, Silver Diner is the clear winner. With an extensive menu that serves both incredibly healthy and unhealthy foods and a closing time of 2:00 am, Silver Diner is always there for you and your cravings. Who said “healthy diner” was an oxymoron?
Mike’s City Diner (Boston, Massachusetts)
Located in Boston, Mike’s City Diner is used to serving college students. And it knows what they want: cheap prices and enormous serving sizes (read: goodbye meal plan). Also, freshly made French toast sprinkled with just the right amount of powdered sugar and a side of maple syrup and butter.
Fleetwood Diner (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
A favorite of University of Michigan students and Ann Arbor residents, Fleetwood Diner serves their signature Hippie Hash, hash browns topped with grilled green peppers, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and lots of feta cheese.
Al’s Breakfast (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Located in Dinkytown, Al’s Breakfast fits right in with the quirky environment of the neighborhood. Literally. It’s wedged between a Chinese restaurant and a coffee shop, and it’s easy to mistake for a small magazine stand. But after visiting this hole-in-the-wall restaurant and trying their world-famous pancakes, you’ll never drive by this place again.
Ajax Diner (Oxford, Mississippi)
With chicken fried steak, chicken and dumplings, and cornbread, Ajax Diner takes Southern comfort food to another level. This is the place locals go to eat home-cooked meals away from home. The food is so good and so authentic to the South that the diner has become a major part of the Oxford culture.
Iggy’s Diner (Carthage, Missouri)
I’m not sure who Iggy is, but she’s great at capturing the feeling of friendliness once you enter. In addition to quick service, they make great burgers paired with onion rings. Next time you’re on Interstate 49, take an exit to Iggy’s.
Western Cafe (Bozeman, Montana)
You don’t need to be a cowboy to enjoy some of the best parts of the West. Just ride on over to Western Cafe where they’re serving up hospitality and cinnamon rolls made fresh from the oven. If you’re looking for something a little more hearty, you can’t go wrong with their biscuits with sausage gravy.
Fuller’s Family Restaurant (McCook, Nebraska)
Who needs to come home for dinner when you’ve got Fuller’s Family Resturant? This dive is a hidden gem, well-known only to locals in the area. Come for the Mexican breakfast and leave with a pecan pie made from scratch.
Roxy’s Diner (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Vegas is known to do things epically, even their classic diners. Roxy’s Diner goes all out with their glowing neon signs and endless entertainment options (including DJs and waiters who sing). It’s located on The Strip, inside of a casino, so you’ll never be bored while waiting for your steak and eggs to arrive.
Red Arrow 24 Hr. Diner (Manchester, New Hampshire)
With three locations in New Hampshire, The Red Arrow Diner captures the spirit of the state with their Jumbo Franks & Beans and their homemade meatloaf (their first location on Lowell Street is the oldest one of the three). It’s also a famous stopping ground for celebrities like Adam Sandler and Bill Clinton.
Broad Street Diner (Keyport, New Jersey)
Broad Street Diner is relatively new (a little over a year old) but it knows what it is doing. It elevates mediocre diner food in a way that will make you want to become a regular. Their chocolate babka French toast puts ordinary diner French toast to shame and almost everything on the menu is worth ordering at least once.
Cecilia’s Cafe (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
It’s a crime to visit New Mexico without trying Mexican food in some form (after all, Mexico is in the name). The Mexican food at Cecilia’s Cafe is authentic. Their Carne Adovada is savory, slow-cooked pork spiced with chile peppers that pack a punch. If you’re afraid of spicy foods, get a quesadilla with their handmade guacamole on the side.
Tom’s (Brooklyn, New York)
Though New York City has a lot of competition, including Tom’s Restaurant, the place where Seinfeld was filmed, Tom’s (not to be confused with Tom’s Restaurant or Tom’s Diner) is even better. This place serves a wide variety of pancakes and waffles (the best being their Lemon Ricotta pancakes). Plus, it’s vegetarian-friendly.
Poole’s Downtown Diner (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Poole’s Downtown Diner is run by James Beard award-winning chef Ashley Christensen who reinvents the diner in the best way possible. Unlike most diners, dinner is what Poole’s does best. In fact, it’s the only meal they serve, but you’re not going to miss chocolate chip pancakes once you take a bite into their macaroni au gratin (a fancier take on mac & cheese).
Kroll’s Diner (Minot, North Dakota)
With four locations and a seasonal food truck, Kroll’s Diner is the best diner in North Dakota because it prides itself on high-quality ingredients. Its original location in Minot serves up both traditional American diner food and German food. That means you can order a Knoephla Soup with a chocolate milkshake at the same restaurant.
Buckeye Express Diner (Bellville, Ohio)
Though the prospect of eating food in a train car might seem touristy, you have to admit that it also seems like a lot of fun. Embracing their Ohioan heritage, the owners of this diner are avid Ohio Buckeye fans (“Go Buckeyes!”) And, unlike a lot of restaurants with fancy decor, the food is good too. They’re most famous for their BBQ ribs and their half-pound cheeseburgers.
Good Gravy! Diner (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Good Gravy! Diner does breakfast best: with a lot of different gravies and buttery, fluffy biscuits. If you’re feeling indecisive over which one of their over 40 varieties of gravies to top your biscuits with, try the maple bacon gravy for a hint of sweetness or the sausage and jalapeno gravy for a spicy kick.
The Good Earth Cafe (Portland, Oregon)
Portland is known for serving good coffee, having some of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the nation, and inventing new delicious foods that push the envelope. The Good Earth Cafe meets all these expectations and more, including unlimited self-serve coffee, vegetarian options, and low prices.
P&G’s Pamela’s Diner (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Diners don’t always have to resemble the 50’s to be good. Pamela’s Diner mixes the modern and the old to capture the best of both time periods. While enjoying the atmosphere, munch on one of their famous thin crepe-like hot cakes or their corned beef hash.
Seaplane Diner (Providence, Rhode Island)
Diners without the frills are often the best ones. At Seaplane Diner, you can enjoy their signature omelets or meatloaf in view of a scrap metal yard for under ten bucks. Though it’s quick and cheap, you can also order fresh seafood since it’s located near the Port of Providence.
Early Bird Diner (Charleston, South Carolina)
You don’t have to be an early bird to enjoy Early Bird Diner. In fact, they stay open until 10:30 pm from Mondays to Thursdays and until 4:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays. They’re best at Southern cooking, which includes chicken and waffles, grits, gravy, and their $1 biscuits.
Phillips Avenue Diner (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
It turns out that you can order poutine without having to travel to Canada. Phillips Avenue Diner serves a breakfast poutine, which is a great excuse to eat fries topped with bacon, cheese curds, tomatoes, and an egg, all drenched in gravy for breakfast. This is just more proof that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Mel’s Diner (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee)
Mel’s Diner brings the classic diner experience with neon lights, banana splits topped with maraschino cherries and whipped cream, and plenty of booths to dine in. It’s the perfect place to crash after going see-sighting at Dollywood or taking a tour around Gatlinburg.
Stevie’s Diner (Fort Worth, Texas)
From the outside, Stevie’s Diner doesn’t look much like one, but once you walk inside, you’ll enter a 50’s oasis with jukeboxes, RC cola boxes, and retro arcade games. If you’re unsure what to get, order the blue plate special which varies on the day, but it’s always a good deal.
Ruth’s Diner (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Being located just outside of Salt Lake City gives Ruth’s Diner a small-town charm and allows it to be surrounded by nature while also allowing it to be driving distance from all of the excitement of the city. It is also the second oldest restaurant in Salt Lake City, so it has had lots of time to perfect its world-famous “mile high biscuits and country gravy.”
Chelsea Royal Diner (Brattleboro, Vermont)
One great feature of Chelsa Royal Diner is their rotating menu: come on Fridays and Saturdays for Mexican food and ribs and anytime from April to October for soft serve ice cream. But your favorite breakfasts, including pancakes, Belgian waffles, and eggs Benedict, will be here for you 24-hours a day.
Millie’s Diner (Richmond, Virginia)
Since 1989, Millie’s Diner has been serving up delicious dishes that go beyond your diner classics. They’re best at Saturday and Sunday brunches, but they serve everything you can think of, from corned beef brisket hash to soft scrambled eggs with lobster.
Twede’s Cafe (North Bend, Washington)
Get your phones ready because Twede’s diner is incredibly photogenic — after all, it is where Twin Peaks was filmed. Besides being home to Instagrammers with aesthetic cafe photos and Twin Peaks fans, it’s also home to their damn good cherry pie and black coffee. If you don’t live nearby, they will also ship their cherry pie to you.
Dem 2 Brothers And A Grill (Charleston, West Virginia)
Maybe dem 2 brothers don’t always spell everything properly, but they’ve uncovered the equation for creating the best food in West Virginia: BBQ + Soul Food + Diner + Big Serving Size + Low Prices = Perfection.
Franks Diner (Kenosha, Wisconsin)
Diners should be simple and delicious. They should be cheap. And, they should have large portion sizes. Franks Diner follows this philosophy. Their specialty, the garbage plate, consists of eggs cooked with hashbrowns, peppers, onions, and whichever meat or cheese add-ons you order. Even a half order of their garbage could serve two.
Our Place (Cody, Wyoming)
Good coffee is essential to every diner experience. At Our Place, they one up other diners’ coffee by selling theirs for 25 cents. Besides coffee, they sell breakfasts under $6, including pancakes covered in syrup, eggs with hash browns and toast, and biscuits and gravy.