26 Amazing Diners Across America

This uniquely American eating establishment lives on. Here are some of the most notable ones across the country.

Highlights
929 E Pierce St, Phoenix, AZ 85006, USA
Welcome Diner may be new to downtown Phoenix but it has quite a history. Built in the 1940’s in Kansas, it was trucked over to Arizona where it operated on Route 66 for 25 years before it moved to its current location on Roosevelt. By partnering up with the owners of Old Dixie’s Southern Kitchen, a former food truck, the diner was revived. The creative folks behind the grill cook up a special every night and serve locally brewed beers.
3322 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
The Garden District has a lot of things going for it but I’d put Slim Goodies at the top of the list. They’re renowned for their sweet potato pancakes (light, fluffy, amazing) and clever names for their breakfast mashups like the above Jewish Coonass with crawfish etouffee over eggs and potato latkes. They’re always busy and service is casual, relaxed New Orleans style but the food is worth the wait.
820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Stephanie Izard puts together a great restaurant. The Girl and the Goat has been hard to get into since it opened and Little Goat had a 90 minute wait when we went last month. 90 minutes for diner food! That’s impressive. Other things that were impressive? The Fat Elvis Waffles with crunchy bacon bits, sliced bananas and peanut butter sauce. Big enough for 2 people, but who wants to give up any of that deliciousness?? Little Goat is worth a visit but let the newness wear off a bit before you go.
4434 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75219, USA
Here are the rules for a good diner: Breakfast served all day and extra points are awarded for thick cut bacon and crispy hash browns. Busy waitresses who never get flustered are key—ideally she’ll be calling customers “honey” and keeping their coffee cups full. The walls should be covered with old photos of the owners and letters from ex-presidents—even better if the diner’s history stretches back into the mid 20th century. Homemade bread and pie served from a glass fronted pie case. Original Market Diner rocks each of these conditions and they believe that “pie fixes everything.” How can you not love that?
3411 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Boasting the slogan ‘Meat free since ’83,’ The Chicago Diner isn’t going to win everyone over. However, if you are vegetarian, or even want to get your vegan on, this is the place for you. With an extensive menu of food and drink, the friendly staff can cater to all of your comfort food fantasies, and even make it a bit healthy along the way. I, of course, opted for the Bloody Mary, thereby negating any and all health benefits derived from my meal. This is a Chicago culinary institution, and it will certainly be a meal to remember.
95 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
The Steelhead Diner was recommended to us by Charles Finkel, the owner of the Pike Pub and Brewery. He had a good reason for liking the place—one of the best dishes on their menu is fresh fish fried in Pike ale batter, and after eating it we were mighty pleased he sent us there. In fact the Steelhead is one of the most popular evening destinations in downtown Seattle and almost everything on the menu has something to recommend it, not least because the food tends to be locally sourced (“nothing east of Idaho, nothing south of Oregon”) and much of it will come from the Pike Place market mere meters away. Certainly, if you want to try the black cod or the Dungeness crab that the Pacific Northwest goes nuts for, this is as good a place as any, and their wine list also reflects the huge popularity of Washington county’s vineyards.
3203 West Bay to Bay Boulevard
If this breakfast sandwich picture doesn’t make you want to visit Pinky’s, I’m not sure what else I can tell you. But how about this: even if diners aren’t your thing, you should visit Pinky’s. They have cheap Cuban breakfast sandwiches and mismatched mugs, but they also have espresso drinks, vegetarian options, and their rosemary potatoes are perfectly crispy. They sweeten the deal with outdoor seating and parking in a neighborhood where it’s hard to find either of those things—and they’ve been voted best breakfast in Tampa for five years running. If you love breakfast, go to Pinky’s.
1807 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
Don’t let the name of the diner fool you- there’s no ocean view on Fourth Street in Berkeley, but after one glimpse at the menu, you won’t mind. Bette’s in an institution and many of my colleagues over on Cedar St will admit to being a patron even more than once a day, since Bette’s adjoining to go storefront hits the spot at any time of day. My favorite way to experience Bette’s is a weekend brunch and do know, that there’ll be a wait. There are worse things than being forced to wander the charming stores of Fourth Street, Bette’s coffee in hand, while waiting for your table. It’s more than worth the wait. Bette’s has been around for over two decades and I swear, those waffles, souffles and scones are only getting better. Be sure to come hungry and know that you’ll leave happy.
60 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA
Pamela’s is a Pittsburgh establishment through and through, and has been serving up classic breakfast fare done well since the 1980s. If you’re a hotcake lover, you owe it to yourself to check this place out—and make sure you order yourself a side of their famous potatoes. Get your name on the list early to avoid a long wait!
507 Main St, Waltham, MA 02452, USA
You might recognize this restaurant from the 2013 movie Labor Day. Enter Wilson’s Diner, and you’ve stepped back in time. Built in 1949 by the Worcester Lunch Car Company, it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Early risers: from 5am during the week you can get a no nonsense, well priced meal, filled with fresh ingredients. Wilson’s also serves great sandwiches for lunch.
300 East Adams Street
Elwood Bar and Grill now lies in the shadow of Comerica Park on Adams but it was built in 1936 by Charles Noble at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Woodward Avenue. Moved in 1997 to make way for the new Tigers stadium (Comerica Park) it was and still is downtown Detroit’s most recognizable art deco diner. Now restored following its move, it is the premier place for sports fans, history buffs, couples, singles, and anyone looking for a good time to hang out on game day or any other day of the year. Its proximity to Comerica Park and Ford Field (the latter is where the Lions play), also makes it ideal both for pre- and post-game enjoyment. A recently expanded menu also makes it a great place not just to drink, but also to eat.
30 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103, USA
Russell’s is my favorite breakfast place in Pasadena. The ambiance is casual but sophisticated, with classical music and fun decor, including Van Gogh prints and sparkling chandeliers—in some ways, it’s like a fancy European-style diner. They also have full lunch and dinner menus as well as a bar with a good selection of beer and wine. The atmosphere is calm and cozy, and the servers never rush you, even when there’s a crowd outside waiting for tables. (Go early if you want to beat that crowd.)
6201 N Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, USA
An old-fashioned, family-friendly diner that is as suitable for a late-night snack as it is for breakfast. Typical diner fare: The creamy chocolate shakes are delicious, as are the peanut butter pancakes. For something more substantial, the menu features a long list of sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Children accompanied by a paying adult eat for free until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
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