The Most Beloved Diner in Every State (How Many Have You Tried?)

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Step inside the nostalgic embrace of America's beloved diners, one state at a time.
Updated Sept. 27, 2023
friends at table in restaurant

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Diners are a staple of American cuisine and culture. They tie communities together, reflecting local foods, traditions, customs, and history.

While there are staple diner foods and atmospheres, no two states will have identical diners — — unless it’s a chain franchise.

Most people will argue their state’s most famous diner is the best, taking pride in their local culture, cuisine, and low prices that help keep more money in your wallet. Here's the list. 

Alabama: City Cafe Diner (Huntsville)

Jacob Lund/Adobe romantic couples at restaurant

Kicking the list off in Alabama is City Cafe Diner in Huntsville, which is open seven days a week and won't require you to tap into a new source of income to go frequently. 

Their menu features classic diner food like breakfast, burgers, shakes, Greek cuisine, Italian, seafood, and more. They have a 4.3-star rating with over 1,000 reviews on their Facebook page.

Alaska: Snow City Cafe (Anchorage)

Kzenon/Adobe friends eating food in restaurant

Alaska’s most well-loved diner is Snow City Cafe in Anchorage, which has been open since 1998. Their menu features classic diner food, most of which can be made vegan or gluten-free.

Make sure to try their famous cinnamon rolls or sticky buns, and check out their brunch cocktail menu.

Arizona: Matt's Big Breakfast (Phoenix)

Peter Kim/Adobe bacon fried eggs pancakes on table

Matt’s Big Breakfast opened in 2004 in Phoenix but has since expanded to six locations. It’s even been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”

As the name suggests, the menu features mostly breakfast foods, but there is also a concise and classic lunch menu.


Arkansas: The Hive (Bentonville)

Zoran Zeremski/Adobe friends group enjoying at restaurant

For a more refined diner experience, head to Bentonville, Arkansas, where The Hive offers upscale but classic dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.

Located inside the local 21c Museum Hotel, you can enjoy staples like pecan pie, burgers, and grilled cheese paired with elegant cocktails.

California: Du-Par's Restaurant and Bakery (Los Angeles)

Peter Kim/Adobe french fries with club sandwich

Opened in 1938 at Farmer’s Market, California’s most beloved diner is Du-pars in Los Angeles.

Some of their staple dishes include hotcakes, California chicken sandwiches, patty melts, and other classic diner foods.

They also have an in-house bakery featuring goodies, including pecan pie, green apple pie, and homemade muffins.

Colorado: Sam's No. 3 (Denver)

primopiano/Adobe colorful milkshake containers in bar

Sam’s No. 3 opened in Denver in 1927 and has added two more Colorado locations. They serve over 2,800 people per weekday and 3,900 per weekend day.

Their menu is 16 pages long and features tons of egg dishes, breakfast burritos, burgers, sandwiches, and lots of Greek food.

Connecticut: O'Rourke's Diner (Middletown)

BGStock72/Adobe multi ethnic friends eating burgers

Enjoy a blend of Irish cuisine and diner food at O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, Connecticut. The restaurant opened in 1941 and has a concise and classic menu.

Dishes include a corned beef sandwich, Irish soda bread, omelets, and Brian’s Breakfast, which changes daily.


Delaware: Helen's Sausage House (Smyrna)

BGStock72/Adobe happy woman at restaurant with burger

Delaware’s most beloved diner is Helen’s Sausage House. Located in Smyrna on Route 13, it was opened in 1985.

The restaurant is still family-owned and, as the name suggests, is known for its sausages, prepared using a secret family recipe that has succeeded four generations.

Florida: The Floridian (St. Augustine)

Alfazet Chronicles/Adobe burger with fries at dining table

Aptly named, Florida’s favorite diner is The Floridian in St. Augustine. The restaurant has a seasonally adaptive menu that showcases Southern comfort food.

They have classic dishes like fried green tomatoes, Cuban sandwiches, and unique fusion meals like a banh mi po boy and southern brisket tacos.

Georgia: The Silver Skillet (Atlanta)

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If Georgia’s Silver Skillet Restaurant looks familiar, that’s because you’ve likely seen it onscreen in shows like “What Would You Do?” and “OZARK.”

Opened in 1967, the diner has a retro feel and classic southern diner menu, including country fried steak, catfish, burgers, lemon ice box pie, and more.

Hawaii: Eggs 'n Things (Honolulu)

Adriana/Adobe bacon with pancakes and scrambled eggs

The first Eggs ‘n Things opened in Waikiki in 1974 and now has four total locations across Hawaii, plus one in Japan and one in Guam.

The menu combines classic diner foods with Hawaiian cuisine, like Kalua pigs benedict, ahi and eggs, island fried rice, and more. However, their pancakes and omelets are their claims to fame.


Idaho: Big Jud's (Boise)

AnnaHar/Adobe woman with pink hair at restaurant

Idaho’s most beloved diner is Big Jud’s, with three locations in Boise, Meridian, and Archer. Their biggest ticket item is their burgers, but they also have a chicken menu and fish and chips.

Their sides obviously have to feature fresh-cut Idaho fries and tater tots. They also have two burger-eating challenges.

Illinois: Lou Mitchell's (Chicago)

Kzenon/Adobe waitress serving burger and fries

Lou Mitchell’s is a Chicago staple and Illinois’ most loved diner.

Opened in 1923, their menu features all the classics, including burgers, reubens, BLTs, club sandwiches, eggs and omelets, pancakes, and more.

Lou’s claims to have the world’s finest coffee and is well known for its donut holes.

Indiana: Nick's Kitchen (Huntington)

mdurson/Adobe colorful ice cream sundae at table

Indiana’s most cherished diner is Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington. The restaurant was opened in 1908 and has an extensive and classic diner menu.

Nick’s is also the originator of the breaded pork tenderloin, featured on its menu as-is or on a sandwich.

Iowa: Hamburg Inn No. 2 (Iowa City)

ktianngoen0128/Adobe burger and milkshake over dining table

Enjoy a classic diner menu and a retro 1950s vibe at Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City, Iowa. Opened in 1935, the diner has largely remained the same since, even after a change in ownership.

The menu features staples like eggs, omelets, sandwiches, melts, burgers, steaks, shakes, and more.

Kansas: Doo-Dah Diner (Wichita}

icsnaps/Adobe american breakfast at restaurant

Wichita, Kansas, is home to the state’s favorite diner, Doo-Dah Diner. The restaurant opened in 2012 and was ranked the city’s top restaurant in 2022.

Their most popular dishes include corned beef hash, chicken fried steak, maple pepper bacon, biscuits and gravy, and meatloaf.

Kentucky: Wagner's Pharmacy (Louisville)

Ixepop/Adobe roast beef sandwich on plate

Wagner’s Pharmacy combines delicious diner food with derby history in Louisville, Kentucky. The restaurant is right across from Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby.

Established in 1922, Wagner’s is largely synonymous with the annual horse race. Feature dishes include a derby sandwich, club sandwich, patty melt, and tuna melt.

Louisiana: Camellia Grill (New Orleans)

BGStock72/Adobe friends talking while eating at restaurant

The Camellia Grill in New Orleans, Louisiana, is not just a favorite of the state but a historic city landmark.

Opened in 1946, the diner still has a retro design and feel. Make sure to check out their all-day omelets, pecan pie, and double-scoop ice cream.

Maine: Palace Diner (Biddeford)

Avirut S./Adobe woman having milkshake in restaurant

Palace Diner in Biddeford, Maine, is built inside a Pollard car, constructed in 1927 in Massachusetts. It reopened in 2014 and has served as a classic and trendy diner since.

Their simple and concise menu features diner staples like french toast, flapjacks, burgers, chicken, fries, and more.

Maryland: Tastee Diner (Bethesda)

Kzenon/Adobe couple eating fast food in restaurant

Tastee Diner in Maryland is a much-loved staple, with the original Silver Spring location now closed, becoming a historical landmark in 1994.

Established in 1935, there’s now a location in Bethesda and Laurel. Enjoy eggs, hot cakes, burgers, sandwiches, fresh seafood, and other diner classics.

Massachusetts: Mike's City Diner (Boston)

BGStock72/Adobe multi ethnic couple eating fast food

Mike’s City Diner in Boston is Massachusset’s most beloved diner, opening in South End in 1995. The extensive menu has tons of classic diner breakfast and lunch/dinner options.

However, there’s one dish that makes Mike’s famous — his turkey dinner. The Pilgrim Sandwich, featuring the aforementioned turkey, is also noteworthy.

Michigan: The Fleetwood Diner (Ann Arbor)

Jacob Lund/Adobe couple having fun at restaurant

Michigan’s most loved diner is The Fleetwood Diner, with locations in Ann Arbor and Lansing.

It’s open 24 hours a day and features a variety of classic diner and Greek dishes. There are also plenty of vegetarian options.

Fleetwood is famous for its Hippie Hash, which includes hash browns, veggies, and feta cheese.

Minnesota: Mickey's Diner (St. Paul}

Fitz/Adobe beautiful woman smiling in restaurant

Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul, Minnesota, is also known as Mickey’s Dining Car, as it’s built to resemble an Art Deco railroad car.

Almost all of Mickey’s ingredients are locally sourced, including meat, bread, and eggs. Their food is also all housemade, including their hand-shredded hash browns.

Mississippi: Brent's Drugs (Jackson)

BGStock72/Adobe multi ethnic friends eating lunch

Brent’s Drugs opened in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1946, as a pharmacy doubling as a soda fountain. It now operates as a diner with tons of vintage charm.

The back of the pharmacy is now a cocktail bar called The Apothecary. The restaurant itself still sells classic soda fountain drinks and diner food.

Missouri: Broadway Diner (Colombia)

Hatia/Adobe tray of hot wings on counter

Broadway Diner in Columbia, Missouri, has operated for over 60 years. It’s a classic Valentine Diner featuring staple menu items and a few feature standouts.

One of their feature meals is The Stretch, a meal named after a regular patron. Another patron-inspired dish is Matt’s Dilemma.

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Montana: Paul's Pancake Parlor (Missoula)

Олександр Пшевлоцьки/Adobe completed orders punched in restaurant kitchen

Paul’s Pancake Parlor opened in Missoula, Montana, in 1963. And, as the name suggests, it features a wide variety of pancakes.

Patrons can also enjoy waffles, omelets, burgers, sandwiches, dinner dishes, and soups and salads with a classic diner feel.

Nebraska: Hi-Way Diner (Lincoln)

Peter Kim/Adobe fries with club sandwiches at table

The most popular diner in Nebraska is Lincoln’s Hi-Way Diner. Operating for over 30 years, this restaurant is located just off the Nebraska Parkway, hence the name.

The menu is stacked full of diner staples, including breakfast meals, omelets, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and more. They also serve fajitas.

Nevada: Peg's Glorified Ham n Eggs (Reno)

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Head to Nevada to enjoy Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs, with multiple locations throughout Reno, Las Vegas, Henderson, Sparks, and Carson City.

The diner has been open since 1999, with a menu naturally featuring dishes with ham and eggs, including Hawaiian meals and vegan options.

New Hampshire: Red Arrow Diner (Manchester)

Chet Wiker/Adobe old school restaurant in uptown Newyork

The first Red Arrow Diner opened in 1922 in Manchester, New Hampshire, and has since expanded to three other locations in the state. Two of these locations have a drive-thru.

You’ll find classic diner menu items with Northeastern flair — eggs, omelets, burgers, pasta, seafood, and poutine.

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New Jersey: The Ritz Diner (Livingston)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe breakfast plate with eggs and sausages

Head to Livingston, New Jersey, to visit the Garden State’s most beloved diner — The Ritz.

Operating for over 40 years, this diner is family owned and aims to provide a similarly familial setting for guests.

The menu is quite diverse, with classic diner staples and Italian and Jewish cuisine.

New Mexico: Tia Sophia's (Santa Fe)

BGStock72/Adobe friends at restaurent table with food

New Mexico’s favorite diner can be found in Sante Fe at Tia Sophia’s, which specializes in authentic Southwestern cuisine.

Some of their standout menu items include giant breakfast burritos and sopaipillas, though you’ll be sure to find tons of delicious Southwestern staples like huevos rancheros and enchiladas.

New York: Tom's Restaurant (New York City)

Terry Davis1/Wirestock/Adobe plate of hot beef sandwich

“Seinfeld” fans should be sure to check out New York’s favorite diner, Tom’s Restaurant on Broadway in Manhattan.

Tom’s Restaurant has been family owned since the 1940s and serves up all the classic diner dishes you could hope for.

North Carolina: The Roast Grill (Raleigh)

Hy-Dp studio/Adobe bar stools in que at restaurent

The Roast Grill in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a great spot for hotdog lovers. Operating since 1940, this diner specializes in hotdogs, though there are other classic diner dishes.

Some of their other menu items to look out for include homemade desserts and grill-blackened chili.

North Dakota: Kroll's Diner (Fargo)

Anna/Adobe syrup being dripped over pancakes

North Dakota is home to Kroll’s Diner, a German-American diner established in 1969 with a retro ‘50s feel.

You can find tons of diner comfort staples on their menu, plus German meals, including cabbage rolls, knoephla, and German twists on omelets and burgers.

Ohio: Tommy's Diner (Columbus)

Alexey Kuznetsov/Adobe fried egg plate with orange juice

Ohio’s most popular diner is Tommy’s Diner in Columbus. Established in 1989, the restaurant is still family-owned and serves a mix of classic diner eats and Greek cuisine.

Menu options include an extensive all-day breakfast menu, standard sandwiches and burgers, gyros, and more.

Oklahoma: Tally's Good Food Café (Tulsa)

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Tally’s Cafe in Tulsa, Oklahoma, opened in 1987 just off Route 66 and has been a community staple since.

Breakfast is served all day, including classic eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and French toast.

Check out their burgers, steaks, sandwiches, chicken, chili, fish, and more for lunch and dinner.

Oregon: The Original Hotcake House (Portland)

Mat Hayward/Adobe plate of eggs bacon and toast

Enjoy hot cakes 24 hours a day at Hot Cake House in Portland, Oregon. The diner opened in 1963 and is a favorite for locals and tourists alike.

As the name would suggest, this diner’s biggest ticket menu item is pancakes. However, other options include omelets, breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches, burgers, and steaks.

Pennsylvania: Penrose Diner (Philadelphia)

BGStock72/Adobe multi ethnic friends enjoying at resturent

Penrose Diner is a much-loved, family-owned eatery in South Philadelphia serving up delicious and classic diner food.

Feast on delicious, fresh baked sweets (including a family baklava recipe), omelets, sandwiches, seafood, steak, Italian cuisine, burgers, paninis, and Philly steak sandwiches.

Rhode Island: Modern Diner (Pawtucket)

Julia/Adobe chef preparing customer food order

Modern Diner in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is anything but. It was established in the late 1930s/early 1940s as a Sterling Streamliner converted into a diner.

It was actually the first diner in the United States to join the National Register for Historic Places, and patrons can still enjoy delicious diner food.

South Carolina: Stax's Original Restaurant (Greenville)

Hatia/Adobe hot crispy wings at retro table

Greenville, South Carolina, is home to Stax’s, one of the state’s most cherished and popular diners since the 1970s.

Head inside for breakfast or lunch, where you can enjoy an array of delicious staple comfort items. If you’re not local, you can enjoy any of Stax’s seasoning flavors, available in-store or online.

South Dakota: Phillips Avenue Diner (Sioux Falls)

Kzenon/Adobe handsome man eating hamburger in restaurent

Head to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Phillips Avenue Diner for a retro-inspired eatery. The restaurant opened in 1996, but it’s built inside a vintage-inspired silver Airstream trailer.

They have all the diner staples you’d expect, plus some Midwestern comfort classics, including cheese curds and fried pickles.

Tennessee: Pancake Pantry (Nashville)

Cheyenne/Adobe butter on pancakes at wooden table

The Pancake Pantry has been a Nashville staple since opening in 1961, since adding another location in Hillsboro Village.

They serve both breakfast and lunch, but their breakfast menu is the more extensive of the two — especially their pancake menu. They even offer rolled pancakes filled with fruit and topped with whipped cream.

Texas: Blue Bonnet Café (Marble Falls)

AlphonseLeong.Photos/Adobe hash brown and beneddict eggs plate

Blue Bonnet Cafe has been serving delicious diner eats to the people of Marble Falls, Texas, since 1929 and is known for their world-famous pies.

Aside from pies, patrons can also enjoy breakfast foods, sandwiches, burgers, and Mexican cuisine.

Utah: Ruth's Diner (Salt Lake City)

Peter Kim/Adobe breakfast table having eggs and sausages

Ruth’s Diner opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1930 and is the second oldest restaurant in the state. In keeping with Ruth’s love for music, the diner still regularly features live music and delicious food.

Visit Ruth’s for a wide array of diner eats, many of which can be prepared vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.

Vermont: Dot's Restaurant (Wilmington)

Fanfo/Adobe israel egg in challah toast

Wilmington, Vermont, is home to the state’s most popular diner, Dot’s Restaurant. The family-owned restaurant serves all you could want at a cozy diner.

Visit for breakfast to enjoy their omelets, waffles, pancakes, french toast, and Vermont maple syrup. Or, head over for lunch for haddock sandwiches, clam rolls, and more.

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Virginia: The Virginia Diner (Wakefield)

Ken Hurst/Adobe plate of benedict eggs for breakfast

Virginia Diner is the aptly named favorite diner of the state, located in Wakefield. It opened in 1929 and still serves patrons delicious, comforting dishes.

They’re most famous for their Virginia peanuts, which can be enjoyed in-house or delivered nationwide.

Washington: Beth's Cafe (Seattle)

Jason A. Bleecher/Adobe english muffin with sausages for breakfast

Beth’s Cafe in Seattle, Washington, opened in 1954 but started as a gambling parlor. Today, it’s a staple diner in the state and beyond.

They have an extensive omelet menu, and each dish can be made extra hearty with 12 eggs.

West Virginia: Tudor's Biscuit World (Charleston)

vm2002/Adobe strawberry jam spread on cornmeal biscuits

Tudor’s Biscuit World is a West Virginia-based chain of diners, though other locations exist in neighboring states.

Their menu features four main categories — biscuits, breakfast platters, sandwiches, and dinner plates. Sandwiches include a stacked ham sandwich, burgers, BLTs, and hotdogs.

Wisconsin: Mickey-Lu-Bar-B-Q (Marinette)

Peter Kim/Adobe hand holding bacon piece at breakfast

Marinette, Wisconsin, is home to Mickey-Lu-Bar-B-Q, a small diner that opened in the 1940s and still has much of its original vintage charm.

Their menu is small, concise, and incredibly affordable. Enjoy charcoal grilled burgers starting at just $3. They also serve hot dogs, fried eggs, malts, and shakes.

Wyoming: Luxury Diner (Cheyenne)

Mat Hayward/Adobe breakfast of eggs bacon and toast

Wyoming finishes off this list with Luxury Diner in Cheyenne. Built within a dining car, the diner opened in 1926, with some recipes as old as the restaurant itself.

Their menu features staple diner classics as well as wildcards like pierogies. Make sure to check out their green chili and their sausage gravy.

Pro tip: Planning out your trip beforehand and knowing which diners you're going to stop at could eliminate a lot of financial stress from your trip if you instead choose to just wing it. 

Bottom line

Jennifer/Adobe french toast with butter scoop melting

Few things represent American cuisine and culture as authentically as a diner. They reflect local traditions and foods, provide hubs for people to gather, and often hold lots of history.

Whether you check out your state’s most beloved diner or venture out, you’re sure to enjoy delicious dishes and cozy atmospheres and avoid wasting money on expensive restaurants.

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Lucy Clark Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.

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