Best Greasy Spoon in Every State

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TASTY TRADITIONS

When it's time for a tasty, filling meal at a fair price, greasy spoons are there to satisfy the craving. Many of these unassuming joints aren't much to look at, but most are filled with local flavor and colorful history that can't be found at the chain restaurant down the block. Read on for some of the tastiest greasy spoons across the country, as recommended in online reviews and local "best of" rankings.

Andrew Lisa and Jeff Rindskopf contributed to this story.

Photo credit: Hank R./yelp.com

ALABAMA: BIG BOB GIBSON BAR-B-QUE

City: Decatur
Founded: 1925
Type of food: Barbecue
What people say: A huge, neon piggy beckons hungry diners to Big Bob Gibson, which has been around since 1925. Don't expect anything fancy inside -- the barbecue is the star, and most visitors to this iconic restaurant don't want it any other way.
What to order: Barbecue chicken with white sauce, which combines mayo, black pepper, and vinegar.

Photo credit: Jeannette G./yelp.com

ALASKA: DUNCAN HOUSE DINER

City: Homer
Founded: 2002
Type of food: Diner
What people say: The eatery has a dash of local flair, including Alaskan artwork and a traditional totem pole out front. There is also nostalgic, retro decor along with a breakfast and lunch menu packed with diner favorites.
What to order: When in Alaska, why not try the reindeer sausage? Reviewers also recommend the French toast.

Photo credit: John G./yelp.com

ARIZONA: ADRIAN'S MEXICAN FOOD

City: Mesa
Founded: 1996
Type of food: Mexican
What people say: The list of options at this yellow, brick hole-in-the-wall is overwhelming. Except for a few seafood entrees, all the dishes are wallet-friendly, at less than $10.
What to order: Try authentic favorites like chilaquiles in red tomatillo sauce, rich chicken mole, or a carne-asada-and-potato-stuffed Arizona burrito.

Photo credit: Dale R./yelp.com

ARKANSAS: LINDSAY'S HOSPITALITY HOUSE

City: North Little Rock
Founded: 1956
Type of food: Soul food/barbecue
What people say: This little, family-owned dive just off I-40 serves up Southern favorites at reasonable prices. Yelp reviewers say reliably friendly service is a given no matter when you go.
What to order: Try a chopped-pork sandwich topped with barbecue beans and slaw. Finish it off with a fried peach pie.

Photo credit: Keith N./yelp.com

CALIFORNIA: MILLIE'S CAFE

City: Los Angeles
Founded: 1926
Type of food: Diner
What people say: This Sunset Boulevard staple stands out for its down-to-earth grub. There's outdoor seating, and diners appreciate that there are plenty of choices for vegetarians, vegans, and others on restricted diets.
What to order: Several diners recommend the eggs Benedict -- there are nearly a dozen different varieties on the menu.

Photo credit: Johnny M./yelp.com

COLORADO: BIKER JIM'S GOURMET DOGS

City: Denver
Founded: 2005
Type of food: Hot dogs
What people say: Biker Jim's gives the humble hot dog a Colorado twist with exotic meats like rattlesnake, elk, and buffalo, then loads them up with unexpected toppings. Long lines may be part of the experience.
What to order: Reviewers say the wild boar dog is a good choice. Make it a Biker Jim's classic with cream cheese and caramelized onions on top.

Photo credit: Diana M./yelp.com

CONNECTICUT: LOUIS' LUNCH

City: New Haven
Founded: 1895
Type of food: Burgers
What people say: This unpretentious hole-in-the-wall claims to have invented the hamburger more than 100 years ago, and reviewers say time has stood still inside ever since.
What to order: A burger, of course. Just don't expect a traditional bun, as the burgers are served on toast. The potato salad and pie also come highly recommended by TripAdvisor reviewers.

Photo credit: Bruce K./yelp.com

DELAWARE: HOLLYWOOD GRILL

City: Wilmington
Founded: 2002
Type of food: Diner
What people say: It's hard to go wrong with the huge menu and hearty portions at Hollywood Grill, devotees say. Despite the name, there's nothing flashy about the decor and family-friendly atmosphere.
What to order: The large Greek salad comes highly recommended, as do most breakfast options.

Photo credit: Courtesy of wikimedia.org

FLORIDA: VERSAILLES RESTAURANT

City: Miami
Founded: 1971
Type of food: Cuban
What people say: This is a great place for a cheap, authentic, Cuban meal. Although tourists have found the restaurant, it's still filled with locals, and even gets the occasional stop from politicians for photo ops.
What to order: It's hard to beat the Cuban sandwich, and the roast pork and fried plantains also have a lot of fans.

Photo credit: The-Silver-Skillet/facebook.com

GEORGIA: THE SILVER SKILLET

City: Atlanta
Founded: 1967
Type of food: Southern
What people say: Featured in movies, TV shows, and commercials, the Silver Skillet looks every bit the old-fashioned Southern diner. The menu of tried-and-true favorites matches the retro atmosphere.
What to order: Regulars love the country ham and red-eye gravy. Finish off with a slice of lemon ice box pie.

Photo credit: Mark S./yelp.com

HAWAII: HAWAIIAN STYLE CAFE

City: Waimea
Founded: 1993
Type of food: Hawaiian
What people say: This is the spot for Hawaiian favorites in huge, family-friendly portions at prices that aren't as inflated as other restaurants in this tourism hotbed. Travel + Leisure gives it a shout for "biggest pancake in the tropics."
What to order: Loco moco -- a Hawaiian mashup of white rice, egg, gravy, and a hamburger patty.

Photo credit: Bar-Gernika/facebook.com

IDAHO: BAR GERNIKA

City: Boise
Founded: 1991
Type of food: Basque
What people say: This staple on Boise's Basque block serves cheap craft beers and authentic specialties in impressively large quantities.
What to order: Rich, meaty sandwiches like the spicy lamb grinder served with croquetas, fried balls of onion-crusted chicken. Feeling adventurous? Come on Saturday for the beef tongue.

Photo credit: Daleys-Restaurant/facebook.com

ILLINOIS: DAILEY'S RESTAURANT

City: Chicago
Founded: 1892
Type of food: Soul food
What people say: One of Chicago's best greasy spoons, according to Eater Chicago, Dailey's boasts some truly old-school favorites and a dizzying list of daily specials.
What to order: Reviewers recommend starting (or ending) your day with the can't-miss chicken and waffles.

Photo credit: oasisdiner/facebook.com

INDIANA: OASIS DINER

City: Plainfield
Founded: 1954
Type of food: Diner
What people say: Built in New Jersey and shipped via railroad to its Indiana home, the Oasis Diner beckons from its National Road address with old-school neon signs.
What to order: Breakfast specials include country-fried tenderloin and biscuits and gravy. Reviewers also love the butterscotch root beer.

Photo credit: Todd H./yelp.com

IOWA: CANTEEN LUNCH IN THE ALLEY

City: Ottumwa
Founded: 1927
Type of food: Diner/fast food
What people say: This odd restaurant is actually in an alley but is easy to find, thanks to the neon sign. The tiny interior features an old-school lunch counter. If there's a wait, it's worth it, devotees say.
What to order: A loose-meat sandwich, washed down by a malt and followed by a slice of homemade pie.

Photo credit: John C./yelp.com

KANSAS: THE COZY INN

City: Salina
Founded: 1922
Type of food: Burgers
What people say: The Cozy Inn has been slapping sliders down on wax paper for decades, and reviewers say sitting down at the small lunch counter still feels like a time warp. The smell alone is worth the trip -- just don't expect extras like cheese, lettuce, or tomato.
What to order: The cozy burgers served only with onions. The neon sign commands visitors to "buy 'em by the sack."

Photo credit: Pat J./yelp.com

KENTUCKY: RICK'S WHITE LIGHT DINER

City: Frankfort
Founded: 1943
Type of food: Cajun/Creole
What people say: Prices are a bit higher here than at a typical greasy spoon, but devotees say the food and charming atmosphere are worth it for those who love Cajun fare.
What to order: Diners rave about the crawfish pie and po' boy sandwiches. For something sweet, grab some beignets.

Photo credit: Robert R./yelp.com

LOUISIANA: CLOVER GRILL

City: New Orleans
Founded: 1939
Type of food: Diner
What people say: The Clover Grill is a Bourbon Street staple for greasy eats no matter the hour. It's open 24/7 for early birds and night owls alike.
What to order: Grab a burger, the self-proclaimed "world's best." Other favorites include the tater tots and grits.

Photo credit: RunAway B./yelp.com

MAINE: PALACE DINER

City: Biddeford
Founded: 1927
Type of food: Diner
What people say: Made from one of two existing Pollard railroad cars in the United States, the Palace Diner is said to be the oldest restaurant in the state and has only 16 seats. TripAdvisor reviewers warn that there may be a wait, but the food is worth it.
What to order: The Lumberjack Breakfast of silver dollar flapjacks, two eggs, potatoes and ham, and bacon or sausage.

Photo credit: Andrew S./yelp.com

MARYLAND: CHAP'S PIT BEEF

City: Baltimore
Founded: 1987
Type of food: Barbecue/sandwiches
What people say: Praised as "carnivore heaven" in the Zagat guide, Chap's is the place for unbelievably tender meat. There isn't much ambiance, but fans say the food is so good that no one cares about the atmosphere.
What to order: A pit beef sandwich is a must, but it's highly customizable. Choose from four kinds of beef, five breads, and a slew of toppings.

Photo credit: Jared G./yelp.com

MASSACHUSETTS: SOUTH STREET DINER

City: Boston
Founded: 1947
Type of food: Diner
What people say: Open 24/7, South Street Diner is the place for people of all walks of life to grab some comfort food. The ambience of the Worcester Dining Car can't be beat either.
What to order: The Monte Cristo is the way to go for breakfast, according to Thrillist. The site also recommends the banana bread and grilled cinnamon rolls.

Photo credit: Jimi R./yelp.com

MICHIGAN: POLISH VILLAGE CAFÉ

City: Hamtramck
Founded: 1976
Type of food: Polish
What people say: For years, the Polish Village Café has provided a culinary taste of home for Detroit's Eastern European immigrants. TripAdvisor reviewers say it's still the place to come for authentic Polish cooking at a great price.
What to order: Try any of the pierogis, the stuffed cabbage, or the kielbasa.

Photo credit: Courtesy of wikimedia.org

MINNESOTA: MATT'S BAR AND GRILL

City: Minneapolis
Founded: 1954
Type of food: Burgers/sandwiches
What people say: Yep, it's a dive, but in this case that's a high compliment. Despite the name and vibe, it's family-friendly. There may be a line at popular times, and be sure to bring cash.
What to order: Try the Jucy Lucy (the misspelling is intentional), a burger with the cheese stuffed inside.

Photo credit: Jessica R./yelp.com

MISSISSIPPI: MAMA HAMIL'S

City: Madison
Founded: 1977
Type of food: Southern
What people say: This barbecue joint has a buffet setup that lets diners fill up on hearty soul food specialties that devotees say are a cut above. Smoked meat offerings like fried liver and pulled pork change daily, while sides like sweet barbecue beans are always available.
What to order: All the classics come highly recommended, including fried chicken, black-eyed peas, and bread pudding.

Photo credit: RunAway B./yelp.com

MISSOURI: EAT RITE DINER

City: St. Louis
Founded: 1957
Type of food: Diner
What people say: There's often a wait for a stool at this tiny time warp of a diner, which is open 24/7. The cooks still wear paper hats, and devotees say the atmosphere hasn't changed since the place opened its doors.
What to order: Try a slinger, a breakfast concoction of meat (usually sausage), eggs, potatoes, chili, cheese, and onions.

Photo credit: Courtesy of tripadvisor.com

MONTANA: MUZZ AND STAN'S FREEWAY TAVERN

City: Butte
Founded: 1962
Type of food: Sandwiches/seafood
What people say: Reportedly once Evel Knievel's favorite haunt, this cash-only dive has been a grub spot and watering hole for travelers on nearby I-90 for decades. It also recently attracted the attention of Food Network's Adam Richman.
What to order: Try the famous wop chop, a fried pork-chop sandwich served with fries.

Photo credit: CaliforniaTacosandMore/facebook.com

NEBRASKA: CALIFORNIA TACOS & MORE

City: Omaha
Founded: 1995
Type of food: Mexican
What people say: Featured on Food Network, California Tacos & More is a great place for reliably good Mexican fare. Though the decor is well-worn, this local gem is clean and the prices are cheap, diners say.
What to order: The namesake California Taco is a massive, doughy shell filled with beef, refried beans, lettuce, cheese, and homemade salsa.

Photo credit: eatdtlv/facebook.com

NEVADA: EAT

City: Las Vegas
Founded: 2012
Type of food: Contemporary diner
What people say: Want to leave the "greasy" part out of greasy spoon? Eat serves unassuming breakfast and lunch favorites that are a step above typical diner fare.
What to order: Time Out recommends the shrimp and grits, while TripAdvisor reviewers like the truffle egg sandwich.

Photo credit: 33445721@N04/flickr.com

NEW HAMPSHIRE: LINDY'S DINER

City: Keene
Founded: 1961
Type of food: Diner
What people say: Lindy's has been at the center of New Hampshire's presidential primaries, hosting George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Fortunately, most reviewers say the food lives up to the political hype.
What to order: Lindy's says its famous patrons gravitate toward clam chowder, mac and cheese, and Salisbury steaks.

Photo credit: Tops-Diner/facebook.com

NEW JERSEY: TOPS DINER

City: East Newark
Founded: 1942
Type of food: Diner
What people say: This diner gets the nod as one of America's best from Food and Wine magazine, which praises its "novel of a menu" and long list of cheesecakes. Portions are huge, devotees say.
What to order: Before diving into the cheesecake, try a burger or the chicken and waffles.

Photo credit: Robert H./yelp.com

NEW MEXICO: HARRY'S ROADHOUSE

City: Santa Fe
Founded: 1992
Type of food: Southwestern
What people say: Harry's serves up a menu of familiar favorites, but many have a Southwestern twist that fans love. The service also wins raves.
What to order: The vegetarian Buddha Bowl gets plenty of praise, but so do the burritos.

Photo credit: Tommy W./yelp.com

NEW YORK: TOM'S RESTAURANT

City: New York City
Founded: 1940s
Type of food: Diner
What people say: Tom's is one of the most famous greasy spoons anywhere because it stood in for the diner on "Seinfeld" and served as inspiration for Suzanne Vega's hit "Tom's Diner." It's cash-only, so hit an ATM before going.
What to order: The New York Times recommends sticking to a classic bacon-cheeseburger deluxe and a milkshake.

Photo credit: Michael C./yelp.com

NORTH CAROLINA: BAR-B-Q KING

City: Charlotte
Founded: 1959
Type of food: Barbecue/Southern
What people say: Featured on Food Network, this drive-in has been a staple in Charlotte for decades. Comfort food is served at your car window on paper plates and in Styrofoam containers.
What to order: It's hard to go wrong with the namesake barbecue chicken, which is fried and tossed in the restaurant's special sauce. The hush puppies also get raves.

Photo credit: Jason B./yelp.com

NORTH DAKOTA: RED PEPPER

City: Grand Forks
Founded: 1961
Type of food: Mexican
What people say: Proclaimed the "best late-night food in the USA" by Esquire, Red Pepper has been a standby for students at nearby University of North Dakota when they want tasty, cheap Mexican food.
What to order: Try a grinder sub made with taco meat or a garbage plate, which is taco meat piled high with lettuce, Colby cheese, "mexi" meat, and three different sauces.

Photo credit: Imre A./yelp.com

OHIO: THE SPOT

City: Sidney
Founded: 1907
Type of food: Diner
What people say: The kitschy sign shines brightly at this time-warp local favorite, which has hosted presidents including George W. Bush. The Trump campaign also visited in 2016.
What to order: Regulars recommend visitors not miss the homemade onion rings or the pies.

Photo credit: Brian C./yelp.com

OKLAHOMA: CLANTON'S CAFE

City: Vinita
Founded: 1927
Type of food: Diner
What people say: Need a break from cruising historic Route 66? This is the place to stop. Despite its unassuming interior, it's been featured on Food Network and patrons say the food is worthy of the attention.
What to order: Don't leave without trying the chicken fried steak.

Photo credit: Viggo B./yelp.com

OREGON: OTIS CAFE

City: Otis
Founded: 1920s
Type of food: Diner
What people say: It's not often that an unassuming little greasy spoon can wrangle a James Beard award, but this one has. Reviewers are complimentary of nearly all of the made-from-scratch food the Otis churns out.
What to order: Reviewers say the German potatoes (hash browns fried with onions, baked, and topped with cheddar and green onions) can't be beat.

Photo credit: Dana R./yelp.com

PENNSYLVANIA: D'S SIX PAX AND DOGZ

City: Pittsburgh
Founded: 1999
Type of food: Hot dogs/wings/sandwiches
What people say: This neighborhood favorite knows exactly how to please its many regulars. Quality hot dogs and a beer cave that boasts a staggering 1,000 microbrews, imports, and domestics are always a hit.
What to order: The Big Ben dog topped with fries, cheddar cheese, and slaw. For a more adventurous meal, the Angry Tiki dog features pineapple, bacon, hoisin sauce, and a special sauce.

Photo credit: Bermie H./yelp.com

RHODE ISLAND: FLO'S CLAM SHACK

City: Portsmouth
Founded: 1936
Type of food: Seafood
What people say: One of Coastal Living's "Best Seafood Dives in Rhode Island," Flo's Clam Shack is a great place to indulge a craving for fried seafood.
What to order: The fried clams are hard to beat. Want to try everything? Order the Fisherman's Platter, which has fried clams, clam strips, calamari, shrimp, scallops, fish, and a clamcake.

Photo credit: Gina K./yelp.com

SOUTH CAROLINA: MARTHA LOU'S KITCHEN

City: Charleston
Founded: 1983
Type of food: Soul food/Southern
What people say: This salmon-colored dive is an absolute must for inexpensive soul food classics, devotees say. It's small, so expect a wait at popular times, but the friendly staff and good eats quickly make up for it.
What to order: Don't miss the fried chicken, mac and cheese, or collard greens.

Photo credit: Jean L./yelp.com

SOUTH DAKOTA: NICK'S HAMBURGER SHOP

City: Brookings
Founded: 1929
Type of food: Burgers
What people say: The only thing that's changed about the burgers is the price: They were 5 cents in 1929, now they're $2. They're still served up at a U-shaped counter on a piece of wax paper, and regulars wouldn't have it any other way.
What to order: The burgers, of course -- they're the only main dish on the menu. Come in for breakfast and eat one topped with a fried egg.

Photo credit: Belly G./yelp.com

TENNESSEE: GUS'S WORLD FAMOUS FRIED CHICKEN

City: Memphis
Founded: 1984
Type of food: Chicken
What people say: There's no pretense at Gus's, a neighborhood joint where fried chicken and homestyle sides are served up on Styrofoam plates and red-checkered table cloths.
What to order: The fried chicken, which reviewers say has a kick but isn't too spicy. The baked beans also come highly recommended.

Photo credit: Brett C./yelp.com

TEXAS: MARIA'S TACO XPRESS

City: Austin
Founded: 1996
Type of food: Mexican
What people say: This colorful spot, topped with the likeness of Maria herself, looks nothing like an inconspicuous taco joint. Visitors say the restaurant, like Austin itself, is charmingly weird -- and they wouldn't have it any other way.
What to order: The breakfast tacos have a lot of fans, so it may be worth getting up early.

Photo credit: RuthsdinerSLC/facebook.com

UTAH: RUTH'S DINER

City: Salt Lake City
Founded: 1930
Type of food: Diner
What people say: The ambience at Ruth's is far above most diners, with a patio that wows nearly all reviewers. There may be a wait, but most agree it's worth it.
What to order: The Mile-High Biscuits and Country Gravy is a no-fail breakfast pick.

Photo credit: Matt S./yelp.com

VERMONT: PENNY CLUSE CAFE

City: Burlington
Founded: 1998
Type of food: Breakfast/lunch
What people say: This homey gem is always warm and welcoming, and it draws large crowds on weekends. Still, reviewers say it's worth waiting, because the food is so good and the service is spot-on.
What to order: The gingerbread pancakes and French toast are top-notch.

Photo credit: texastavern/facebook.com

VIRGINIA: TEXAS TAVERN

City: Roanoke
Founded: 1930
Type of food: Hamburgers/hot dogs
What people say: No matter the hour, Texas Tavern is open to satisfy cravings for burgers, hot dogs, and chili. The recipes haven't changed, and neither has this tiny, 10-stool dive.
What to order: Fans recommend grabbing a chili dog.

Photo credit: RaysDriveInRestaurant/facebook.com

WASHINGTON: RAY'S DRIVE-IN

City: Everett
Founded: 1962
Type of food: Burgers/sandwiches/seafood
What people say: This family-run joint has been a longtime contender for best greasy spoon in the Seattle area. Regulars say everything has tasted the same since the place opened -- and that's a good thing.
What to order: Skip the typical burger and go for the fish and chips.

Photo credit: netbrewery/facebook.com

WEST VIRGINIA: NORTH END TAVERN AND BREWERY

City: Parkersburg
Founded: 1899
Type of food: Pub fare
What people say: "This place isn't flashy or stylish," one customer writes on TripAdvisor, but the simple menu of burgers, sandwiches, and fries has its devotees. Prices are low, with Braunschweiger (sausages) or grilled cheese costing just $4.
What to order: Try a burger and some beer-battered onion rings. Wash them down with homemade root beer.

Photo credit: Peter Q./yelp.com

WISCONSIN: FRANK'S DINER

City: Kenosha
Founded: 1926
Type of food: Diner
What people say: "Be nice or leave!" That's the motto at this unpretentious spot, housed in a converted railcar. Reviewers say it can get crowded, but it's worth the wait.
What to order: The garbage plate of eggs mixed with hash browns, green peppers, and onions. It's served with a choice of meat or corned beef hash and cheese -- as well as toast.

Photo credit: Kevin W./yelp.com

WYOMING: NORA'S FISH CREEK INN

City: Wilson
Founded: 1982
Type of food: Breakfast/lunch
What people say: This unassuming, cabin-like joint has created plenty of buzz. It's been featured on Food Network and even won a James Beard Award as an American Classic in 2012.
What to order: The banana bread french toast gets Guy Fieri's nod, while other reviewers recommend the huevos rancheros.