The Best Diner in All 50 States
By Suzanne Raga
Diners have played a big part in the history of American culture, 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
Salem's Diner has delighted customers with staples such as hot cakes and Philly cheesesteaks since 2006. Be sure to also get the hashbrowns, which online reviewers describe as perfectly seasoned.
2. Alaska // Sami's City Diner
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
The good food, friendly service, and '50s vibe make Sami's City Diner the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing meal. You can chow down on everything from blueberry pancakes and grits to corned beef 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 you feel like ordering, from ham and cheese to peanut butter and jelly.
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 breakfast burritos, country-fried steak, and pecan waffles.
7. Connecticut // Vernon Diner
Location: Vernon, Connecticut
The 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 to choose from, there’s even an espresso milkshake, 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 grilled honey barbecue wings and Argentinian skirt steak.
10. Georgia // Marietta Diner
Location: Marietta, Georgia
This large, bustling, 24-hour restaurant serves upscale specials ranging from lamb chops to chicken fettuccine alfredo to broiled salmon, though you might not guess it from the multi-colored neon lighting outside. Open since 1995, the diner also has an impressive dessert case with cakes, pies, and cheesecakes galore.
11. Hawaii // The Other Side Diner
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
The Other Side serves the classic burgers and omelets you'd expect from a diner, along with Hawaiian favorites like loco moco. Best of all, there's no shortage of vegan options, including soy-based spare ribs and Beyond sausage breakfast burritos.
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 '50s Diner
Location: Peoria, Illinois
When you’re in the mood for Americana nostalgia, head to The 50's Diner, a spot that plays the oldies and serves bottomless coffee. Daily specials include meatloaf and beef tips and noodles, which you can finish off with gravy fries or a classic chocolate malt.
14. Indiana // Oasis Diner
Location: Plainfield, Indiana
When you close your eyes and think of a diner, chances are it looks something like the Oasis in Plainfield, Indiana. Known for its pork tenderloin sandwich, this establishment has been operating in some capacity since 1954, when the prefabricated building was shipped to the Hoosier State on a railcar from the Mountain View Diner Company in Singac, New Jersey. According to its website, "the exterior and interior of the Oasis Diner have been restored back to their original appearance," so it's as authentic to that classic experience as you can get.
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 // Dagwood's Cafe
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Whether you want to start your day with a belly-busting breakfast skillet or top off your evening with some roast beef and mashed potatoes, you'll find it all at this classic Kansas City eatery. The real treat here, though, is the various Dagwood breakfast sandwiches, highlighted by the Irish-themed handheld complete with Swiss cheese and corned beef on rye.
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' 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 more than 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 // Good Truckin' Diner
Location: Lansing, Michigan
This small diner is bursting with big flavors—and boasts an enormous menu. Good Truckin’ Diner offers visitors a smorgasbord of breakfast and lunch options. Indulge in breakfast sandwiches slathered in gravy and tacos packed with savory delights. Those with a sweet tooth can try the “bonuts” —biscuit doughnuts and doughnut holes covered with cinnamon-sugar—or tuck into some deliciously creative waffles while sipping on a cereal-themed milkshake. For those with dietary restrictions, the diner also features vegan and gluten-free options.
23. Minnesota // Duluth Grill
Location: Duluth, Minnesota
This diner has served Duluth for over 20 years. For breakfast, visitors will find diner classics like biscuits and gravy, plus Asian-inspired dishes like miso pork belly Benedicts and Korean toast. The lunch menu features an array of cheesy, spicy sandwiches and flavorful bowls.
24. Mississippi // Ms. Candia's Café
Location: Foxworth, Mississippi
Customers rave about the roadside Ms. Candia's Café—formerly known as the Country Diner—as the best spot to find authentic, homestyle Southern cooking. It’s not fancy, but the friendly atmosphere and otherworldly flavors of the fried chicken, collard greens, and cornbread 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. People also love the raisin toast—which has mounds of peanut butter topped with bananas, caramel syrup, and brown sugar—and the hard times patty melt, with the special secret sauce served on the side. Leave room for dessert, as the ice cream menu is enormous.
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 an omelet, breakfast burrito, 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 beloved dishes like its signature corned beef hash and the Yankee breakfast: two eggs, baked beans, potatoes, and toast, plus an optional slice of apple pie topped with cheese.
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. Our recommendation? Start with the disco fries, 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 huevos rancheros with perfect proportions of eggs, fries, beans, chiles, and cheese.
32. New York // Roscoe Diner
Location: Roscoe, New York
A favorite of Hudson Valley locals and daytripping Manhattanites, the Roscoe Diner has been serving a multi-page menu of diner favorites and Greek specialties since 1969. Have a hankering for a short stack of pancakes at an odd hour? The diner serves breakfast all day, along with a huge array of burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads, pasta, and more.
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? Its weekend brunch menu is stuffed with authentically Southern dishes, like the blueberry and pork sausage biscuit drizzled with icing, a four-egg omelet filled with delectable chunks of Cajun-spiced salmon, and spiced honey chicken and waffles.
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 in the military, 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 // Punky's Diner and Pies
Location: Medford, Oregon
The staff at Punky's serves an eclectic menu of gut-busting Southern favorites—think chicken-fried steak with sausage gravy—along with gluten-free pancakes and fresh salads using produce from the diner's garden. Don't miss Punky's made-from-scratch, deep-dish pies in delectable varieties, such as huckleberry, peach-strawberry, and cherry-rhubarb.
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 chips, and bananas.
40. South Carolina // Early Bird Diner
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Located on the Savannah Highway, Early Bird Diner serves Southern comfort food such as steak and eggs, a catfish po' boy, and chicken and waffles. 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 see Burger Madness, 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 80 years, the biscuits are warm and the service is friendly. Grab a seat at the counter to enjoy a butterscotch malt, or get some fried green tomatoes with a special Soda Shop sauce and a pimento cheese sandwich 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 Frito pie, which features a chili cheese and onion topping, served with crispy French fries.
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 like blueberry and mocha malted milk ball.
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 chicken salad club sandwich, and check out the on-site bakery for a variety of pastries, cakes, and pies.
47. Washington // Hal's Drive In
Location: Sedro-Woolley, Washington
Located in northern Washington, Hal's Drive In serves up classic diner eats with some '50s-era flair. Open for nearly 70 years, this popular spot is a great joint if you're in the mood for burgers, chili dogs, milkshakes, and more.
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 other diner staples. 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’s 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
Located 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.
A version of this article was originally published in 2017. It has been updated for 2022.