The Best Diners in All 50 States
Who can pass up a good diner? The diner experience originated in the early 1900s in pre-made dining cars that resemble today’s motorhomes. The casual atmosphere, great prices and hearty American cuisine that define these eateries turned them into a nationwide tradition.
Whether you’re a local searching for a new favorite spot in your home state or planning your dining itinerary for your next family road trip, these diners are the best you can find in the U.S.
Alabama: Bob’s Downtown Diner
Nothing says Alabama like Southern comfort food. Known as the best bite in Mobile, locals and tourists alike flock to Bob’s for Southern classics like fried steak and eggs, grits and corned beef with home-fried potatoes.
Bob’s is also known for its fantastic lunch menu. Located at the corner of “fat and happy,” the restaurant touts that customers’ best memories are made at the bar.
Alaska: City Diner
Everything about the City Diner in Anchorage shouts the 1950s, from the red-and-white-checked menu to the tasty but affordable breakfast and lunch options.
Try a simple omelet or order of French toast. Or broaden your horizons — the menu boasts unique menu items like blueberry hotcakes and reindeer sausage.
Arizona: Coffee Pot Restaurant
If you’re looking for a Sedona staple, this is the place to go. The Coffee Pot Restaurant and Giftshop is named after Coffee Pot Rock, the stunning rock formation you can spot behind the diner.
From authentic Mexican cuisine to a fresh brew of Colombian coffee, there’s something for everyone at this family restaurant. Their biggest claim to fame is their remarkable assortment of not one, not two, but 101 different omelets. Yum!
Arkansas: Rolling Pin Cafe
At this Arkansas eatery, order its namesake dish, The Rolling Pin. It’s an open-faced biscuit topped with an over-easy egg, cheese, breakfast meat (sausage, bacon or ham) and your choice of gravy.
Tip: You might want to consider swapping your usual sausage gravy for the homemade chocolate gravy.
California: Breakfast Club Diner
Head over to Oceanside for a beachy, ’80s-themed family diner experience. It has seven skillets to suit every palate; waffles topped with strawberries, pecans or even bacon; famous flapjacks; and plenty of salads and sandwiches for lunch.
And if you have your pup along for the ride, they’re more than welcome to come along for brunch at the BCD!
Colorado: Sam’s No. 3
Sam’s No. 3 claims to be the cure for “resting brunch face.” With three locations statewide in Glendale, Aurora and Denver, it just might be. Best known for make-your-own breakfast burritos, country fried steak skillets and a pecan waffle sandwich, Sam’s is a local favorite.
It also has several intriguing coffee and espresso options, like the “Van Halen Latte.”
Connecticut: Elm Street Diner
In the heart of Stamford, Connecticut, the family-owned Elm Street Diner prides itself on providing great service and welcoming guests with warm hospitality. It has a full menu, from breakfast through dinner, but its biggest claim to fame is the milkshakes — and what’s a diner worth without a good milkshake?
Elm Street’s milkshakes are creative and addictive, including rice krispy treat, banana honey and special cake shakes that come with an entire slice of cake!
Delaware: Crystal Restaurant
In Rehoboth Beach stands this hidden gem: the Crystal Restaurant. The quaint hole-in-the-wall spot is well known for tasty breakfast and brunch.
Two popular favorites are the numerous omelet options and the crab benedict special. As an added bonus, the boardwalk is only a 20-minute walk away.
Florida: Peter Pan Diner
A family-owned classic, the Peter Pan Diner has been delighting diners since 1979, and it’s one of Fort Lauderdale’s best. Departing from the typical diner menu, this family restaurant serves authentic, flavorful Greek food to set it apart from the rest.
Many travelers have raved about the gyro sandwich with homemade tzatziki sauce. If you’d prefer a great burger, they have that, too!
Georgia: Marietta Diner
You want colorful? You got it. The Marietta Diner, named after the town in which it resides, is about as colorful as it gets, with old-fashioned neon signs and vintage decor.
The eclectic eatery serves diner classics from breakfast through dinner, plus remarkably tasty cakes. Did we mention it’s open 24 hours a day?
Hawaii: Liliha Bakery
With three locations in Honolulu, Liliha Bakery does a heck of a lot more than bake. In addition to classic Americana, it serves up traditional Hawaiian meals like oxtail soup and mahi mahi.
If you have a sweet tooth, there’s also the “waffard”, a waffle with fresh fruit and custard and French toast made with homemade sweet bread. But for some real desert, try the world-famous puffs, cupcakes and danishes!
Idaho: Jimmy’s Down the Street
Travel to downtown Coeur d’Alene for a 50-year-old legend. With humble beginnings as a soda shop, it has since evolved into a hub of Southern comfort food, with specials including corned beef, chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and freshly baked pecan rolls.
Jimmy’s is a popular destination, so arrive early to avoid a long wait.
Illinois: The 50’s Diner
For a strong cup of nostalgia in Peoria, try The 50’s Diner. Sip bottomless coffee with the sweet sound of oldies playing in the background. Breakfast is served all day long, plus shakes and malts for a sweet treat.
Popular menu items include the Swiss steak, beef tips and noodles, and the famous Loosey Sammich. There’s also a small gift shop to browse after you’ve had your fill.
Indiana: Edward’s Drive-In
Whether you miss the days of drive-ins or have never been to one, Edward’s Drive-In in Indianapolis has been a Midwest treasure since 1957.
Popular for its grilled sandwiches, one of the tastiest menu items is the Hoosier breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Pair it with a fresh batch of painfully delicious onion rings and a refreshing glass of homemade root beer.
Iowa: Bluebird Diner
A quaint, classic diner in Iowa City, Bluebird is both relaxed and retro. Its menu features Midwestern soulfood, including everything from shrimp n’ grits to biscuits and gravy.
The buttermilk French toast also gets rave reviews, along with smoked pork and green chili soup. If you’re her for lunch, don’t forget to try the burgers, tenderloins and steak!
Kansas: Old Mill Tasty Shop
Old Mill Tasty Shop in Wichita, Kansas, packs big charm into a small package. Visitors love its sandwiches, especially the sliced BBQ beef brisket and the New York chicken salad. There’s also a few hearty Mexican dishes.
But dessert is where this popular diner really shines, with ice cream specials and fountain-style soda pop.
Kentucky: Rick’s White Light Diner
Next to the “singing bridge” in Frankfort, the White Light Diner is something special. Aside from being within walking distance of intriguing Frankfort attractions, it’s the oldest diner in town.
It has a quirky, cozy atmosphere (trust us, the restaurant is tiny!) and food that packs a punch. We’re talking authentic Cajun and Creole dishes, like chicken and sausage jambalaya, along with all of the standard breakfast and lunch favorites.
Louisiana: The Camellia Grill
Anyone visiting New Orleans can’t miss the Camellia Grill. It opened in 1946 and is a landmark to this day.
Cheerful servers in vintage uniforms give the place a retro vibe as they hand out classic, Southern fare. The omelets are positively huge, and the chocolate pecan pie is to die for (and we don’t say that lightly). Plus, Camellia Grill stays open late for those in need of a midnight snack!
Maine: Becky’s Diner
Resting on a picturesque wharf in a waterfront cottage, Becky’s Diner serves Portland, Maine, 362.5 days a year. Becky’s serves breakfast all day, plus lunch, dinner and dessert. The Hobson’s Wharf Special is an outright feast, with two eggs, two pancakes, your choice of meat, home fries and toast.
Plus, plates are reasonably priced, even when it comes to fresh seafood. Fried whole belly Maine clams are only $15!
Maryland: The Blue Moon Cafe
In search of a rockin’ breakfast? That’s how the Blue Moon Cafe describes itself, boasting breakfast with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. The Baltimore diner combines an upbeat, funky style with nothing but the freshest ingredients.
Try the old-fashioned potato cakes, G&G’s country scramble or a heavenly omelet for a savory treat. There are also eight different specialty pancakes!
Massachusetts: Mike’s City Diner
Hungry folks in Boston head straight to Mike’s City Diner. It serves massive portions of quality food, including shockingly scrumptious French toast. Thick slices of French bread are smothered in a concoction of spiced egg and cream and topped with fresh fruit.
For lunch, try the pilgrim sandwich, spread thick with homemade cranberry sauce.
Michigan: Leslie Depot Diner
True to its name, Leslie Depot Diner is parked at the site of a former train depot and sits right next to the Michigan Central Railroad tracks. The warm atmosphere feels like home, but it tastes a whole lot better.
The menu offers a wide range of classic diner food, including everything from farm-fresh omelets to chicken strips and onion straws. For those with a sweet tooth, try the BTS waffle. It’s covered in ice cream, whipped cream, pecans and more — a breakfast we can get behind!
Minnesota: Band Box Diner
Rich in history, the Band Box Diner in Minneapolis is the last remaining location of an old chain that was all the rage back in the ’50s and ’60s. It features burritos, burgers, homemade bread and jam, and sizable portions.
The Lunch Box burger is particularly popular with a side of fries, and a dish called the “Trainwreck” is big enough to fill you up for days.
Mississippi: Ajax Diner
In the Historic Square of Oxford is an award-winning restaurant: Ajax Diner. It was given the title of “Best Downhome Soul Food” by Mississippi three years running. Supposedly, it also has the best cornbread and best plate lunch.
You won’t find breakfast here, but you can find amazing salads, sandwiches, po-boys and, of course, plate lunches served with your choice of more than 20 sides.
Missouri: Crown Candy Kitchen
Featured on the Travel Channel, the Crown Candy Kitchen in St. Louis was named “Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America.” The cute candy shop is dubbed St. Louis’s oldest soda fountain shop — and for good reason, the place has been around since 1913!
A delicious lunch and dinner menu includes the Heart-Stopping BLT that’s packed with 14 slices of bacon. After lunch, don’t forget to explore the candy counter or try a shake!
Montana: Roadhouse Diner
Fondly nicknamed “the log cabin restaurant,” the Roadhouse Diner claims to have the best beef in Great Falls. All their burger patties are made in-house every few hours, so each burger is fresh. The restaurant also uses local vendors as much as possible, serving up Montana-ground coffee and sourcing ingredients in-state.
The burgers are as crazy as it gets, with one titled “Widowmaker” and another named “Sin City.” Both have a spicy kick that you won’t want to try unless you’re feeling brave!
Nebraska: Lincoln Hi-Way Diner
Nothing shouts “road trip” quite like a 24/7 diner. At the Hi-Way Diner in Lincoln, breakfast is served all day, plus all of your favorite comfort food. The hand-breaded chicken fried steaks are popular, as are their crispy grilled wraps and roasted hot beef sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy.
And the famous Hot Stripper sandwich? It’s only scandalous to your taste buds, exciting them with chicken strips and sausage gravy on grilled Texas toast.
Nevada: The Griddle
The Griddle has been around since 1948 and has grown to five locations throughout Nevada and Idao. Originally, the family restaurant only served breakfast. Today, it features a great breakfast and lunch menu with glittering customer service.
Offerings include “Dad’s Hotcakes” (a family recipe), fresh crepes, stuffed French toast and Auntie Mo’s Spuds. The breakfast quesadilla is another flavor-packed hit.
New Hampshire: Red Arrow Diner
Featured in the Food Network Magazine and rated New Hampshire’s business of the year, Red Arrow Diner is dressed to impress. With four locations in the state, the restaurant serves over 500,000 breakfasts a year and runs 24 hours a day.
If you go, check out the brand-new poutine menu, and try the homemade Twinkies! You won’t regret it.
New Jersey: Tops Diner
New Jersey is no stranger to the classic diner, but Tops is a fan favorite. The restaurant was established in 1942 in Newark, and the family-owned diner has remained a local staple. Their commitment to quality ingredients has something to do with that, not to mention the spectacular menu.
The family diner serves up almost everything you can think of, including flame-grilled burgers, steaks and ribs, fresh seafood dishes and, of course, hand-spun milkshakes. We feel stuffed just thinking about it!
New Mexico: The Pantry
Dubbed “Santa Fe’s Meeting Place,” The Pantry has a long history with Southwestern cuisine. The family-owned eatery has been around since 1948, and they’ve learned a thing or two.
They’ve perfected huevos rancheros with just the right amount of everything, and their cornflake-coated, stuffed French toast is chock full of cream cheese and fresh berries. The buttermilk pancakes are the stuff of dreams, too.
New York: Stella’s Diner
Stella’s was founded by three sisters in upstate Syracuse, with a charming, vintage, Betty Boop theme. The most noteworthy aspect of Stella’s menu is the sheer size of the dishes. They’re all massive, and the menu is as varied as it is delicious.
Choose from one of 15 omelet options, try a breakfast sandwich, or wait until lunch and order the new pizza burger — yes, you read that right. This spot is so beloved by locals that it opened a second location.
North Carolina: True Flavors Diner
In Durham, North Carolina is a unique little spot offering inventive twists on all your diner favorites. There’s duck hash, for one, and the house special called Howling Moon French. A base of buttermilk battered French toast is topped with French vanilla ice cream, brown sugar and a magical moonshine sauce from a North Carolina distillery.
True Flavors is a fresh new take on the traditional dinner, so stop by if you’re prepared to try something new, like the duck crackle club sandwich.
North Dakota: The Shack on Broadway
In North Fargo, The Shack on Broadway delights visitors with homestyle cooking and three specials every day. The menu pricing is hard to beat, and it features everything from corn beef hash, breakfast muffins and French toast to soups and salads.
The homemade chili is particularly noteworthy, as are the fresh shakes and malts.
Ohio: Big Al’s Diner
With more than 50 menu options, Big Al’s has a fantastic selection including a bacon-tomato-cheese omelet and waffles packed with pecans. The corned beef has earned it the most notoriety, however, with Food Network chef Michael Symon voting the corned beef at Big Al’s as the best he’s ever had.
But the most popular dish, surprisingly enough, is the liver and onions. Who knew?
Oklahoma: Sid’s Diner
In El Reno, Sid’s Diner doesn’t mess around when it comes to burgers. A crowd favorite is the fried onion burger, which has caramelized onions fried into the beef and is topped with pickles and mustard.
There’s also standard breakfast items in addition to breakfast sandwiches, chef salads and thick, creamy milkshakes.
Oregon: Banning’s Restaurant & Pie House
For an award-winning pick, Banning’s can’t be forgotten. Cooking up deliciousness for 40 years in Tigard, Bannings was voted the best diner, best pie place and best restaurant in town, plus earned a few other awesome titles.
The restaurant and pie house is open 24/7, so you can grab an order of cheddar-bacon potato pancakes, a Philly sandwich and hand-cut fish n’ chips all in one go. But did we mention the pie? You can’t skip dessert here — there’s more than 20 different kinds from which to choose!
Pennsylvania: Pamela’s P&G Diner
Traveling to Pittsburgh? Try Pamela’s! Reviews show a particular hankering for the Tex-Mex omelet, Pittsburgh hash and light, crepe-like pancakes.
At Pamela’s, you’re welcome to get creative with your pancakes, too, piling them with thick-cut bacon, bananas or nuts. For an even sweeter treat, try the croissant French toast topped with caramel sauce.
Rhode Island: Modern Diner
Walking into the Modern Diner in Pawtucket is like taking a step back in time. It was the first diner nationwide to be accepted on the National Register for Historic Places. This all-American classic was created back in the ’40s in a customized Sterling Streamliner.
True to its name, the Modern Diner likes to change things up, offering more than 30 unique specials each day. Have a hankering for lobster cheese grits or a Canadian bacon apple brie omelet? Maybe a massive Belgian waffle? This is where you’ll find it.
South Carolina: Early Bird Diner
In the middle of West Ashely, the Early Bird Diner serves breakfast all day, with fun spins on timeless classics — pecan-crusted chicken with a piping-hot cinnamon waffle, for one.
Another special is the fried pork chop with red pepper jelly. The atmosphere is warm and has a community-friendly feel thanks to the work of local artists lining the walls. If you’re a pancake fiend, Early Bird doesn’t disappoint either — they serve all-you-can-eat pancakes every Friday!
South Dakota: Phillips Avenue Diner
Phillips Avenue Diner claims to be the best place to visit in Sioux Falls, and who are we to argue? It has weekly specials, like Burger Monday and Waffle Wednesday, and you can watch your milkshake masterpiece being made at the counter.
The huevos ranchero burrito is stuffed with sausage, pepper jack, hash browns and caramelized onions, then smothered in ranchero sauce and avocado. You can even order a waffle named after Elvis!
Tennessee: Arnold’s Country Kitchen
Arnold’s Country Kitchen serves casual but tasty comfort food in a cafeteria-style setting. After 30 years serving homemade meals to Nashville, it’s earned a James Beard award for the quality of its food.
Within the bright red walls, you’ll find something different every day. Most visitors get the “Meat & 3,” which — wait for it — includes one meat dish, like blackened trout or sugar-cured ham, and three sides.
Texas: Original Market Diner
Opened in 1954, Dallas’ Original Market Diner was once a drive-in. It tried on many different shoes over the years, but today, it specializes in classic diner fare. The menu is enormous, allowing diners to choose from Belgian waffles or chicken fried steak and everything in between.
The old-fashioned sugar cane soda is particularly nostalgic, and the chocolate hazelnut banana bread French toast sounds too good to resist.
Utah: Ruth’s Diner
A Salt Lake City tradition since 1930, Ruth’s Diner is the second-oldest restaurant in Utah. While the fiery cabaret singer who gave the iconic restaurant its name is no longer with us, her legacy lives on in the diner she built from the ground up.
The shady, outdoor patio is gorgeous, and the menu would impress even the harshest of critics. The salmon or pulled pork benedict is particularly delicious, as is the cinnamon roll French toast.
Vermont: Chelsea Royal Diner
Vermont is known for maple syrup, and the Chelsea Royal Diner is just the place to satisfy your maple craving. At the base of the Green Mountains, the diner has been around for 29 years.
It serves up local brews alongside daily, grass-fed burger specials. But its trademark item is the Cajun skillet breakfast, which the diner claims to be the best breakfast in town.
Virginia: Galaxy Diner
This stellar starscape of a diner will leave you starstruck. The space-themed Galaxy Diner in Richmond sells tons of quirky meals, like black hole pancakes, trailer park pancakes, space juice and an intergalactic basket of chicken tenders, fried zucchini and cheese sticks.
The menu also features several salads for a light bite as well as steamy-hot sandwiches, plus homemade crab cakes!
Washington: 5 Point Cafe
Open 24/7 in Seattle near the historic Pike Place Market, The 5-Point Cafe serves breakfast happy hour every day from 6 to 9 a.m. for fresh mimosas. The diner is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in town, and they’re proud to serve Seattle’s biggest chicken-fried steak, weighing a whopping 11 ounces.
The smoked salmon scramble is a Northwest classic, too.
West Virginia: Mountain View Diner
If you’re looking for a great place to grab a bite in Charles Town, the retro Mountain View Diner has fresh-baked bread, made-to-order fried chicken, and homemade chips and sweet potato fries.
It was voted the best of the best for its breakfast menu a few years back, also serving authentic Greek specialty dishes. There’s an in-house bakery, too, so save room for pie or cake!
Wisconsin: Rudy’s Drive-In
There aren’t many drive-in diners left, but Rudy’s is one of the best. It opened in 1933 and still has roller-skating carhops at both locations in Sparta and La Crosse. The restaurant makes its burgers fresh, along with its famous hot dogs and sides.
For a shot of caffeine, we love the mocha cappuccino shake or cool mint if you want something refreshing. If you share your suggestions online, you even get a free root beer float!
Wyoming: Jody’s Diner
The friendly staff at Jody’s Diner in Evanston serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to daily specials. With affordable combos, it’s hard to go wrong. Get two slices of French toast with your choice of meat and two eggs for just $8 or chicken fried steak and eggs for just $2.50 more.
For those who just can’t wait until Thanksgiving, their dinner menu includes roasted turkey loaded with stuffing and cranberry sauce. Mm, mm, good!