Move over, avocado toast. An enormous platter of breakfast is here. The classic all-American roadside diner has been a fast food favourite for generations. With generous portions, deep fried side dishes, deep fried mains, and deep fried desserts, diner food is classic comfort food. Here are 9 of our favourite classic American diners:
Since 1958, Pann’s has been serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch daily. Pann’s was designed by California-based Armet Davis Newlove Architects, who gave storefronts and eateries in Southern California a distinct look with a particular type of design called Googie architecture. Sloped roofing, geometric shapes, boomerangs, Space Age symbols like starbursts, comets, and flying saucers were prominent features in Armet Davis’ modern architecture.
In the 1920s, drug store soda fountains were a popular gathering place for people to meet over a drink. In 1946, pharmacist Dr. Alvin Brent opened up Brent’s Drugs which quickly became a successful pharmacy and soda shop. If it looks familiar, you may recognize it from a scene in the 2011 movie The Help, starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone. Today, you can still sit on a bar stool at the counter and order breakfast, lunch, and of course, banana splits, malts, floats, and pie.
Serving the Mission district since 1918, St. Francis Fountain is one of San Francisco’s oldest diners. Open for breakfast, lunch and brunch, this classic soda fountain offers everything from eggs and toast, to burgers, to vegan rancheros, to banana splits and milkshakes.
The Summit Diner first opened its railcar-style doors in 1938, when Northern Jersey was known as the diner capital of America. The Summit Diner is a New Jersey diner staple. The NJ-based O’Mahony Company were the main manufacturers behind most of the diners that were popping up all over the east coast. They manufactured over 2,000 of them between 1917 and 1941. Although these long, narrow metal rooms look like train dining cars, they never actually were.
Since 1942, Tel-Wink has greeted guests with a warm “welcome home!” Owners Dimitri and Peggy Bokos have been making guests feel at home on Telephone Road in Houston with biscuits made from scratch, big fluffy pancakes, and rich dark coffee. Breakfast is served all day.
Established in 1960, Harry’s is one of San Diego’s best breakfast and brunch spots. Open at 6 a.m., patrons can get their first orders of coffee before sunrise. The New York-style diner serves greasy spoon favourites and all-day breakfast.
7. Tom’s Restaurant, New York City, NY
Tom’s reputation precedes itself. Whether you’re familiar with the 1982 pop hit by Suzanne Vega, (“Tom’s Diner,”) or its iconic signage that opens every episode of Seinfeld, chances are you know Tom’s Restaurant even if you’ve never been there. Open late until 1:30am during the week and open 24-hours from Thursday to Sunday, Tom’s is especially popular with Columbia University students who can just pop around the corner for a nearby spot to study and re-caffeinate. Tom’s has been serving burgers and milkshakes in Morningside Heights since the 1940s.
The second oldest restaurant in Utah, Ruth’s Diner has been serving comfort food classics since 1930. In 1949, Ruth’s closed down the original downtown Salt Lake City location (the building was sold and demolished). Ruth’s was transformed into a Salt Lake trolley car and driven out to its new location in Emigration Canyon. Ruth’s was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri if you needed an official greasy spoon certificate of authentication. The menu is for those who aren’t afraid to indulge. Order a cinnamon roll dipped in vanilla egg batter, grilled and served with lemon cream cheese and warm maple syrup. Or, go all out with Ruth's chocolate malt pudding with rich semi-sweet chocolate, barley malt syrup, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla served with "a generous swirl of whipped cream." Aside dessert, Ruth's also serves breakfast, burgers, beers as well as a few vegan and veg-friendly options to choose from. But with a dessert menu like Ruth's - there might not be any room.
MadMen fans may recognize Rod’s Grill from an episode called “Far Away Places” where Don and Megan argue over orange sherbet at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge. They sat in a booth, a conversation rich in metaphor and symbolism took place, and Megan stormed off. Conveniently located right off Historic Route 66 near Los Angeles, Rod’s Grill has been an Arcadia staple since 1946. The diner fare is exactly what you hope for and the price is right. Order up a short stack of flapjacks for only $2.75, or a full stack of ‘jacks for $2.95! (Prices are subject to change, of course.)