Filet mignon and chocolate soufflé are fine and dandy, but when a burger and chocolate shakecraving strikes, only a diner will do. We consulted our friends at Yelp to uncover the best diner in every state (plus Washington, D.C.). Here, 51 greasy spoons around the country to put on your bucket list.
ALABAMA: UNCLE MICK’S CAJUN MARKET & CAFE
Cajun and Southern cuisine (think: seafood gumbo, boudin sausage and buttermilk pie) reign supreme at this casual spot.
136 W. Main St., Prattville; 334-361-1020 or unclemickscajun.com
ALASKA: LITTLE RICHARD’S FAMILY DINER
This North Pole (yep, that’s a real place) greasy spoon offers old-school vibes (like checkered tiles and retro posters) and local fare—try the reindeer sausage.
2698 Hurst Rd., North Pole; 907-488-2117
ARIZONA: WELCOME DINER
A friendly eatery that lives up to its name, this is hearty comfort food with a modern twist (try the jackfruit po’boy or the fried honey chicken biscuit sandwich).
924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix; 602-495-1111 or welcomediner.net
ARKANSAS: C-J’S BUTCHER BOY BURGERS
Retro ’50s decor and fresh dishes (the fries are hand-cut only after you order) make this a local favorite.
2803 N. Arkansas Ave., Russellville; 479-968-2300
CALIFORNIA: CARLITO’S DINER
Don’t be fooled by the no-frills interior. This family-owned restaurant is worth the trip for its tasty Mexican cuisine like huevos rancheros, tacos and chimichangas at bargain prices.
7451 Warner Ave., Ste. G, Huntington Beach; 714-841-9966 or carlitosdiner.com
COLORADO: THE LITTLE DINER
The hot chocolate with whipped cream and Dutch Baby are must-haves at this cozy gem.
616 W. Lionshead Cir., Ste 204, Vail; 970-476-4279 or thelittlediner.com
Locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal fare are the stars of this charming eatery, although the fresh baked goods, porchetta and breakfast burritos are (happily) always available.
239 West St., Litchfield; 860-361-9777 or merakifood.com
DELAWARE: FRANKFORD FAMILY DINER
Good quality food, fair prices (try the $20 dinner for two deal) and a relaxed atmosphere make this diner popular with locals.
34067 Dupont Blvd., Frankford; 302-732-9292 or frankfordfamilydiner.com
FLORIDA: JESSE’S PLACE
This family-owned joint may be small, but the menu is surprisingly extensive. (And the proximity to the beach isn’t too shabby, either.)
7008 Thomas Dr., Panama City Beach; 850-708-1356
GEORGIA: RICOS WORLD KITCHEN
They’ve got chicharrones, fried green tomatoes and po’boys, y’all.
306 W. Main St., Buford, 678-765-7518 or ricosworldkitchen.com
HAWAII: REBEL KITCHEN
Hang loose at this Big Island surfer-style diner that’s known for its juicy burgers, kombucha on tap and homemade ketchup.
79-7399 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua; 808-322-0616 or rebelkitchen.com
IDAHO: BUFFALO CAFE
This diner may be off the beaten path, but it’s worth the trek for the giant pancakes, homemade jam and freshly baked biscuits.
218 Fourth Ave. W., Twin Falls; 208-734-0271
Classic Peruvian dishes like empanadas, slow-cooked pork, fried yuca and quinoa burgers feature heavily on the menu but save room for the freshly baked alfajores cookies.
535 Fairway Dr., Ste. 115, Naperville; 331-701-7175 or sangucherestaurant.com
INDIANAPOLIS: INDIA CAFÉ
Fragrant spices, flavor-packed dishes and plenty of options for vegetarians make this Indian restaurant a worthwhile pit stop.
1450 W. 86th St., Indianapolis; 317-757-6204 or indiacafeindy.com
IOWA: SUZIE-Q CAFE
This red-and-white diner may be tiny, but the tenderloins are huge. Order one with a side of fries and let the owner wow you with his magic tricks as you wait.
14 Second St. NW, Mason City, 641-423-5021
KANSAS: DOO-DAH DINER
Did you know that “doo-dah” is a term used for Wichita residents with a laid-back attitude? It also perfectly sums up this friendly spot.
206 E. Kellogg, Wichita; 316-265-7011 or doodahdiner.com
KENTUCKY: SPARETIME BELLY & SOUL
This ’50s-style diner has been serving happy customers for decades and even featured in the 2014 Oscar-winning flick Carol.
7807 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria; 859-448-0523 or sparetimebellysoul.com
LOUISIANA: LIZ’S WHERE Y’AT DINER
A bright and cheery eatery with plenty of local seafood like Louisiana crawfish tails, shrimp and grits and gumbo.
2500 Florida St., Mandeville; 985-626-8477 or lizswhereyatdiner.com
MAINE: PALACE DINER
Built in 1927, it doesn’t get more charming than this historic spot that’s located in a Pollard car (one of only two remaining in the country).
18 Franklin St., Biddeford; 207-284-0015 or palacedinerme.com
MARYLAND: CINDY’S KITCHEN
Originally a general store and a service station, this relaxed Eastern Shore diner, with its quirky decor and hearty dishes (try the corn fritter pancakes), makes the perfect pit stop on your way to the beach.
3127 Aireys Spur Rd., Cambridge; 410-228-3830
MASSACHUSETTS: VILLATORO RESTAURANT & CAFE
This cozy neighborhood gem mixes New England favorites with Latin American classics. The result? Muy bien.
353 Lincoln St., Marlborough; 508-658-2380
MICHIGAN: ROSY’S DINER
Chances are you’ll meet Rosy herself at this old-school diner. If you do, be sure to ask for the mashed potatoes.
1313 Ludington St., Escanaba; 906-786-1983
MINNESOTA: OUR KITCHEN
For those who love hash browns (and who doesn’t?), this cute spot is for you.
813 W. 36th St., Minneapolis; 612-825-3718 or ourkitchenmn.com
MISSISSIPPI: THE TRACKS
Get the burger with melty pimento cheese on top and you’ll know why this no-frills Winona joint made the list.
100 C. N. Front St., Winona; 662-283-3505 or yelp.com/biz/the-tracks-winona
MISSOURI: Q39 MIDTOWN
Kansas City is all about the BBQ, and this industrial yet rustic joint is no exception. Headed by a national barbecuing champion, everything from the sauces and rubs to the sausages and coleslaw is homemade.
1000 W. 39th St., Kansas City; 816-255-3753 or q39kc.com
MONTANA: ROADHOUSE DINER
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the Atomic Sinatra burger, with pepperoni, red onion and jalapeños with spiked ranch sauce. You just haven’t.
613 15th St. N., Great Falls; 406-788-8839 or roadhousegf.com
NEBRASKA: DEBS DINER
Come for the sandwiches, stay for the house-made cinnamon buns.
817 Lake Ave., Gothenburg; 308-537-2575 or yelp.com/biz/debs-diner-gothenburg
NEVADA: SNS DINER
It’s attached to a car wash, but don’t judge a book by its cover. This joint serves up incredible waffles and eggs with house-made bacon.
1100 E. Colton Ave., North Las Vegas; 702-269-9696 or snsdiner.com
NEW HAMPSHIRE: THE WELLINGTON ROOM
It’s definitely fancier than your average diner, but this upstairs hideaway probably won’t mind if you eat these red pepper and manchego cheese balls with your hands.
67 Bow St., Portsmouth; 603-431-2989 or thewellingtonroom.com
NEW JERSEY: TOPS DINER
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at this East Newark spot, from rigatoni Bolognese to red velvet pancakes.
500 Passaic Ave., East Newark; 973-481-0490 or thetopsdiner.com
NEW MEXICO: PANTRY RESTAURANT
Need Mexican food immediately? (Hey, we’ve been there.) This fast-casual joint will hit the spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
1820 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe; 505-986-0022 or pantrysantafe.com
NEW YORK: THE VILLAGE DINER
If you need us, we’ll be headfirst in this French toast breakfast sandwich.
255 Floral Ave., Johnson City; 607-217-4134 or jcvillagediner.com
NORTH CAROLINA: CAUSEWAY GOURMET
Ordinarily, we’d be a little nervous about ordering fish in a diner, but the sautéed local flounder at this seaside spot in Ocean Isle Beach is a major exception.
100 Causeway Dr. SW, Ste. 7, Ocean Isle Beach; causewaygourmetoib.com
NORTH DAKOTA: RANDY’S UNIVERSITY DINER
The Day Breaker comes with “golden hash browns,” aka taters topped with lots of cheese. Best of all, it’s served all day long.
2130 University Dr. S., Fargo; 701-280-0414 or yelp.com/biz/randys-university-diner-fargo
OHIO: SOUTHSIDE DINER
It’s time you’ve met the corned beef stacker, a meaty breakfast monstrosity featuring a potato pancake, horseradish mayo, sauerkraut, hot corned beef, Swiss cheese and a sunny-side-up egg.
10705 W. Pleasant Valley Rd., Parma; 440-842-6888 or southsidediner.net
OKLAHOMA: SID’S DINER
Grilled onion burger + fries + malt = the world’s most perfect meal.
300 S. Choctaw Ave., El Reno; 405-262-7757
OREGON: ADDI’S DINER
What’s the only thing better than a gigantic pancake? A gigantic pancake and a gigantic serving of hash browns.
207 S. A. St., Springfield; 541-747-9482
PENNSYLVANIA: DAVID’S DINER
If you’re hungry enough to eat a bear, order this plate featuring four eggs, three meats and veggies with cheese. (It’s called, appropriately enough, the Bear Hungry.)
2800 Freeport Rd., Springdale; 412-463-8482
RHODE ISLAND: OLLIE’S DINER
It’s alllll about the pancakes at this Cumberland joint. (Or if you’re a savory gal, get the corned beef hash.)
802 High St., Cumberland; 401-830-9402
SOUTH CAROLINA: IRON DOG DINER
Any meal that comes with maple syrup and hot sauce isn’t kidding around. Case in point: this amazing chicken and waffles.
4245 Rivers Ave., North Charleston; 843-203-4682 or irondogdiner.com
SOUTH DAKOTA: ROSIE’S CAFÉ
You might have to wait for a seat in this postage-stamp-size restaurant, but one bite of those crispy hash browns, and it’ll be so worth it.
2200 W. Madison St., Sioux Falls; 605-334-7928
TENNESSEE: OLD LIGHTHOUSE DINER
Now that’s a cheeseburger. Anemic-looking round patties need not apply.
2520 W. State St., Bristol; 423-274-0200
TEXAS: SYLVIA MAE’S SOUL FOOD LLC
We’re dreaming of chicken-fried steak, fried okra and mac and cheese.
564 Main St., Jacksonville; 903-658-3122 or sylviamaessoulfood.com
UTAH: CACTUS ROOM
Don’t even think about leaving before you try the farm-raised buffalo burger.
771 W. Highway 9, Virgin; 435-635-7872
VERMONT: DOT’S RESTAURANT
A dinner-plate-sized cinnamon roll counts as lunch, right?
3 W. Main St., Wilmington; 802-464-7284 or dotsofvermont.com
VIRGINIA: LEGRAND KITCHEN
This place just oozes cool, whether it’s serving up a double-decker burger or duck breast with foie gras gnocchi.
4515 Colley Ave., Norfolk; legrandkitchen.com
WASHINGTON: THAI WOK KITCHEN
This casual spot refuses to let burgers and fries have all the fun. One order of chicken pad thai, please.
5000 E. Fourth Plain Rd., Ste. A101, Vancouver; 360-852-8103
WASHINGTON, D.C.: KINSHIP
Lobster toast, beef rib eye and fig tart—this isn’t your grandpa’s diner. Before tucking in, be sure to soak up the elegant ambiance with a craft cocktail or two.
1015 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C.; 202-737-7700 or kinshipdc.com
WEST VIRGINIA: DEM 2 BROTHERS AND A GRILL
Soul food at its finest. (Pass the sweet potato casserole.)
423 Virginia St. W., Charleston; 304-400-4977 or dem2brosgrill.com
WISCONSIN: HARRY’S DINER
Just give us a plate of steak, eggs, hash browns and a seat at this low-key Sheboygan spot and we’re set.
2504 Calumet Dr., Sheboygan; 920-458-5200 or yelp.com/biz/harrys-diner-sheboygan-2