The wait staff knows your name and order by heart. The coffee tastes like dirt some days, but you and your friends never seem to mind. And when your family comes into town for the holidays, you get excited to bring them to “your spot.”
Diners are an American tradition, and everyone thinks his or her hometown’s greasy spoon is the best.
For this list, we scoured Yelp reviews, local newspapers, and culinary awards to find the most popular and beloved diner in every state. We defined diner as a restaurant whose primary purpose is serving breakfast, and awarded bonus points to dives open 24-7.
Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments.
The 1950s-inspired 5 & Diner has six locations across the Grand Canyon state. Known for its shakes and malts, the 5 & Diner serves 12 signature burgers to choose from. The mouthwatering Big Bopper Burger contains double-decker beef patties, melted American cheese, and the special house sauce.
Old-school Lucy's Diner has three locations throughout Arkansas. The greasy spoon has mastered hashbrowns, with seven toppings to choose from. If you order 'smothered, peppered, and chunked hashbrowns,' your potatoes will be fried with onions, jalepenos, and ham.
The Fremont Diner is an authentic country diner settled in Sonoma's wine country. The small roadside diner opens up to a big patio to accommodate large crowds. Be sure to try the signature chicken and waffles or crispy bacon and grits.
The Village Coffee Shop is, as one Yelp reviewer said, 'a killer greasy spoon in, of all places, the Mecca of healthy organic eating!' The Boulder diner is famous for its fluffy pancakes and large portions. And if it's your first time eating there, the entire restaurant and staff welcome you with a round of applause.
Like the name suggests, The Parthenon diner incorporates Greek influences into its dishes, such as the Spanakopita and 'Kostas Special Omelet'; but maintains its retro American-diner feel with mini jukeboxes on the tables. The diner has locations in Branford and Saybrook.
Family-owned Toasted Mango Cafe in Sarasota has the best breakfast in the Sunshine State. Like its name suggests, the diner uses mangoes in its mimosas, waffles, and famous mango butter spread on freshly cooked biscuits.
Jimmy's Down the Street has been an Idaho staple for over 50 years. The Coeur d'Alene diner was featured on Guy Fieri's 'Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives,' and showed off its made-from-scratch pecan rolls, chicken fried steak, and chicken 'n' dumplings.
As you can guess, Maxine's specialises in its signature chicken and waffles. The Indianapolis diner serves up sweet and savory combinations, like a sweet potato waffle drizzled in honey butter and paired with crispy-fried chicken wings.
The Ankeny Diner, named after its town, ranked as one of the best burger joints in Iowa. It's home of the Hawkeye burger, which is topped with grilled onions, cheddar cheese, and mushrooms. And if you've whipped up an even bigger appetite after watching the University of Iowa game, we suggest you try the six-egg 'gut-buster' omelet.
There's no place like home -- although the Wichita family-owned Brint's Diner comes close, with comfort food as delicious as your mum makes. The country fried steak is a signature dish, as is the 'ultimate skillet' which scrambles ham, sausage, home fries, peppers, onions, and eggs in a pan.
Southern charm is in no short supply at The Camellia Grill, with its historic facade, homey atmosphere, and heart-warming food. Most of the New Orleans greasy spoon's wait-staff has been around for decades, so you will always be greeted by a familiar face. The diner's chilli omelet and pecan waffles are customer favourites.
Baltimore's Broadway Diner has an impressive 13-page menu including diner classics, such as omelets and waffles, and exotic delicacies like the Hungarian goulash. Guy Fieri deemed it 'goulishious' on an episode of 'Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.'
Fleetwood Diner, with locations in Lansing and Ann Arbor, is beloved by college students and locals alike for its Hippie Hash: hash browns tossed with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, mushroom, and broccoli topped with feta cheese.
A St. Paul landmark, Mickey's Diner is the 'greasiest of greasy spoons,' according to Yelp reviewers -- but in the best way possible. Located in an art deco railroad car, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and was the setting for scenes in 'The Mighty Ducks, 'Jingle All the Way,' and 'A Prairie Home Companion.'
Big Bad Breakfast, or 'BBB' as its known, cooks up a mean southern-style breakfast. Meats smoked in-house are the stars of the plate at the Oxford diner, although you'll want to make room for the creamy grits and biscuits with sausage gravy.
Like the name suggests, St. Louis' Uncle Bill's knows how to make a good pancake. The pancake house offers 15 different kinds of pancakes ranging from classic buttermilk to pineapple-filled pancakes served with Hawaiian syrup.
Considered an Omaha landmark for decades, Lisa's Radial Cafe is the kind of place where the waiters knows your order by heart, particularly if it's the Radial Raft: two eggs, biscuits, and hash browns in a 'sea of gravy.'
Located down the street from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerqe, the five-room barn house has the best breakfast burrito, hands-down. Frontier stuffs its homemade flour tortillas with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, crispy hash browns, and green chilli.
While North Carolina is hardly a mecca of diners, Elmo's in Durham and Carrboro serves up mouthwatering Southern-inspired breakfast specials like sweet potato pancakes, shrimp and avocado quiche, and a classic biscuit topped with sausage gravy.
With locations in Fargo, Bismarck, Mandan, and Minot (and a food truck that roams the state in warmer weather), Kroll's Diner is bringing back the retro diner feel. Famous for its Knoephla Soup and hand-scooped malts, its menu includes American and German specialties.
Norman's '50s-style The Diner has appeared on boxes of Cain's tea, in Playboy magazine, and on 'Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.' Revered for its two-time state of Oklahoma championship chilli recipe, the restaurant has been around for more than 100 years.
A Southern landmark since 1946, The Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg claims to serve more tea than any single restaurant in the US. The signature item is a chilli-cheeseburger buried underneath piles of sweet onion rings and French-fried potatoes.
According to the most recent US Census, the town of Isabel is home to just 135 residents. Still, Sparky's Bar & Grill is packed any day of the week. It's run by Ryan Maher, a young Republican state senator.
Pancake Pantry, a Nashville tradition, grew out of the idea to build a reputation and menu around uncommonly good pancakes. Pancakes range from the island-inspired buttermilk pancakes topped with banana, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans, to the award-winning sweet potato pancakes drizzled with cinnamon cream syrup.
Salt Lake City has oodles of brunch spots -- none more kitschy-hip or satisfying than the Blue Plate Diner. The 1950s-inspired greasy spoon has perfected the homemade meal, from the skillets and omelets to the corned beef hash.
The milkshakes and 'trailer-park pancakes' (made with peanut butter and bananas) are the local favourites at this Richmond joint. Plus, the space-themed Galaxy Diner is the go-to place if you need massive amounts of crispy cuisine, like fried pickles or fried Oreos.
The Skillet brand has evolved from a chef-driven street food experience to a full-blown restaurant chain, with three locations in Seattle. The food uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients and continually redefines the meaning of comfort. The maple-braised pork belly and waffles, topped with a fried egg, is a must-try.
OK, so maybe Tudor's Biscuit World isn't 'technically' a diner -- but it seems wrong to pick any other restaurant or franchise that serves breakfast. A Tudor's biscuit sandwich, piled high with bacon, egg, cheese, and a hash brown patty, is as central to West Virginia as any other state symbol.
Franks Diner in Kenosha is world famous for its 'Garbage Plates,' or scrambles made with five eggs. But fair warning: At Franks, which is celebrating more than 80 years in business, the motto is always, 'Order what you want; eat what you get.'
Located in the heart of Jackson Hole, this blacksmith shop-turned-bakery serves the most wholesome and nutritious breakfasts possible. Be sure to take home a bag of The Bunnery's signature 'O.S.M.' bread mix, made with oats, sunflower, and millet.
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