From runny eggs to vintage booths where you can envision Frank Sinatra crooning over a fan in the corner of the diner, many diners offer a retro experience that’s worth stopping for. Here’s our roundup of the best diners on the East Coast of the United States.
1. The Historic Village Diner – Red Hook, New York
For excellent Americana-style dining, head to Red Hook, New York to get a great deal on delicious eggs and corned beef hash. The diner inside a train car from the 1920s and serves not only great food, but caters to your nostalgia.
2. Quaker Diner – West Hartford, Connecticut
This quaint diner in the state’s capital will serve you breakfast old-school style. The old-fashioned decor of immobile telephones and Frank Sinatra albums will take you back to the McCarthy era as you wolf down raspberry pancakes for a mere $4.99.
3. Modern Snack Bar – Aquebogue, New York
Forget meeting in Montauk, instead, head over to Aquebogue, a tiny hamlet in the neck of Long Island. Soft shell crabs, fried chicken and beer-battered onion rings are all found in this charming place. Despite its name, it’s far from being modern with its 50s decor of vinyl chairs and floral curtains you would expect to find in your grandma’s house. Oh, and you’ll want more than a snack there (their lemon meringue pie will have you begging for more).
4. Pink Cadillac Diner – Natural Bridge, Virginia
What’s more kitschy than a Pepto Bismol-pink building with robin’s eggs blue details, a giant statue of King Kong, and Elvis posters plastered across the walls? Nothing, we say. Pink Cadillac Diner will have you feeling like you just wandered inside Sandra Dee’s teenage bedroom. Be sure to order the Elvis burger — word has it, it’ll leave you barking like a hound dog.
5. Marietta Diner – Marietta, Georgia
This 24-hour diner tucked away in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta has a large intimidating menu. From seafood, to burgers, to pancakes, to anvil-sized cakes, we guarantee you’ll be combing over the menu for a good while before coming to your final decision (the veal piccata). Go after dark, that way you can’t miss its blinding lights that will put old-town Las Vegas to shame.
6. Empire Diner – New York, New York
This iconic diner has been the harbinger of many celebrities since 1946 when it first opened its doors. Famous chef, Amanda Freitag has been satisfying many bellies in Chelsea with glorious lamb burgers, fish n’ chips, and matzo ball soup. This diner has won many awards from magazines such as Time Out New York and The New York Times.
7. Egg N’ You Diner – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Get your sunny-side-up where the sun shines all year. At Egg n’ You Diner, you can feast on old fashioned chili dogs and cheeseburgers. This is an excellent stop for snowbirds longing for a bit of old-fashioned comfort.
8. A1 Diner – Gardiner, Maine
If you have an affinity for breakfast food and seafood, this is your place. Situated inside an old-fashioned cable car, A1 serves wide array of food from calamari salads to Mexican burgers to omelettes. You’re in Maine. What’s a more Maine thing to do than gobble up eggs with lobster fishermen just coming back from their duties?
9. Wellsboro Diner – Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
This diner will blow any Waffle House out of the water. Checkered floors, glistening vinyl barstools and a cable-car vibe will instantly put you in the mood for the prime rib. And because you’re in Pennsylvania, it’s an absolute must that you sample one of its famous pies (we recommend the peanut butter crumb).
10. Zip Diner – Dayville, Connecticut
Thriving since 1954, this diner is a family friendly-place to get your breakfast noms on. Their foot-long hot dog or turkey club will have you in awe of how delicious the food is for the prices. It doesn’t get more American than this.
11. Moody’s Diner – Waldoboro, Maine
In the quiet town of Waldoboro (the name rolls off the tongue nicely doesn’t it?), a popular diner has been catering to its hungry locals since 1927. Adjacent to a motel, you can drunkenly feast on lobster rolls (for a mere $9.99!) and any of its delicious berry pies before taking a few steps back into your motel room to reminisce over your meal. The owner’s names are Percy and Bertha, and I don’t know about you, but Bertha seems to be the most appropriate name for someone to make you old-fashioned chicken pot pies.
12. Summit Diner – Summit, New Jersey
The hometown of Meryl Streep offers a cutesy diner with its own charms. Yankee pot roast, chicken noodle soup or a monster omelette loaded with a pound of bacon will satisfy your hunger pangs. We now know the true origin of Meryl’s acting tears.
13. OK Cafe – Atlanta, Georgia
It’s Americana meets southern charm. When venturing inside, you’ll be pleased to find waitresses donning old-fashioned dresses as interiors of folk art stare back at you while you munch on buttermilk biscuits. Sadly, this famous diner burned down due to an electrical fire, but the owners promise its return in the near future. So hang in there and keep dreaming about the thick-sliced bacon that marries perfectly with your sweet tea.
14. Modern Diner – Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Nothing is modern about this diner (well except their Mozambique lobster grits). At Modern Diner, you’ll find yourself inside a historical stream liner car with checkered floors. This diner is not shy about using purple flowers to decorate your french toasts or omelettes with a signature style. And let’s admit it, you secretly love this extra detail.
15. Florida Avenue Grill – Washington, D.C.
In 1944, owners Lacey and Bertha (I’m telling you, those Berthas make the best eggs) opened its doors to the country’s capital. To get away from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C., you can tuck yourself quietly away in this diner over hot cakes or chitterlings. Enjoy!