The Most Charming Retro Diner in Every State

Brent’s Drugs

Stephen S./Yelp

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Brent’s Drugs
Stephen S./Yelp

Turn Back the Clock

Diners hold a special place in America’s food history, becoming a popular restaurant choice in the first half of the 20th century but with few of them remaining in their original form today. Some diners have nailed their offerings so well that they’ve kept customers coming back for decades. Take a look at some of the most charming retro diners in each state, and Washington, D.C., where the food, atmosphere, and service will have you dining with a smile. Tell us about your favorite retro diner in the comments.

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Diner in Every State

Payne’s Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain
Jared M./Yelp
White Spot Cafe

Alaska: White Spot Cafe


This classic diner is known for offering American favorites and Alaskan specialties like fried halibut and reindeer sausage. The location has been a staple in Anchorage since 1946. Get the halibut sandwich and sink your teeth into flaky and crispy deep-fried local halibut topped with cheese, tartar sauce, and fixings on a soft bun, and enjoy a plate of crisp hand cut fries on the side.

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Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner

Arizona: Mr D’z Route 66 Diner

Stop into this retro diner (a popular landmark on Route 66) to enjoy homemade root beer floats and juicy burgers amidst lovely '50s decor and memorabilia. Brightly colored neon exteriors invite you in to enjoy thick milkshakes and root beer floats topped with homemade ice cream.

Related: Route 66: Then and Now

mel's diner in prairie grove, arkansas
Christa H.

Arkansas: Mel's Diner

Prairie Grove 

 Your poodle skirt and Fonzie jacket might not look so out of place at Mel's. The restaurant leans heavily on '50s themes with its decor, including checkered tables and floors, and nostalgic wall art. The menu features classic diner fare, burgers, fries, pancakes and such. Customers are advised that the food "is not fast food, so take time to relax. It's worth it." 

Inside of St. Francis Fountain San Francisco
Cliff F./

California: St. Francis Fountain

San Francisco
Step into San Francisco’s oldest ice cream parlor and one of the city’s eight oldest restaurants for retro candies, flavored sodas, and more. The creamy milkshakes have just the right amount of thickness and sweetness according to fans. Fountain soda flavors range from peach and cherry to pineapple and almond, while milkshakes come in everything from strawberry and banana to a vanilla and orange sherbet. Try a coffee milkshake for a breakfast pick-me-up with a delicious twist.

Related: Oldest Ice Cream Shops in America

Colorado: Pete’s Kitchen

Colorado: Pete’s Kitchen


This diner has become a Denver staple thanks to popular items like the breakfast burrito supreme, which has been served since 1989 and includes two eggs, hash browns, ham, bacon, sausages, and gyros covered in your choice of green or red chili, cheese, tomatoes, and onions.

Connecticut: Zip’s Diner
Martin S./Yelp

Connecticut: Zip’s Diner


Zip’s Diner got its start at its original location on Route 6 back in 1946, eventually moving to its current location in Dayville in 1954. The family-run spot, located inside of a dining car, serves breakfast all day long, with some of the favorite choices including the chicken fried steak, hearty breakfast omelets, and the homemade strawberry shortcake.

Inside Angelo's Luncheonette
Joe C./
District of Columbia: Steak-n-Egg
Jenifer S./Yelp

District of Columbia: Steak N Egg

Steak N Egg traces its roots back to 1931, when it previously operated as a Toddle House before becoming a Steak N Egg Restaurant. The location is known for its classic breakfast menu, including a country-fried steak and eggs platter and fluffy omelettes.

Inside Hawley's Restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida
Nancy K./

Florida: Howley’s Restaurant

West Palm Beach

Howley’s originally opened in 1950 and still holds its '50s era charm today, getting a restoration in 2004 to preserve remnants like its terrazzo floors and tin ceilings. The large portions of French toast with a slightly sweet batter are a favorite for breakfast, while the soft coconut cake is a must-try for dessert.

Clary's in Savannah Georgia interior
Scott B./

Georgia: Clary’s Cafe


This historic cafe featuring Southern diner staples has history dating back to the early 1900s and has been featured in both the book and film adaptation of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” One of the top items is the corn beef hash, though the decadent honey pecan pancakes and stuffed French toast selections don’t disappoint, either.

Tasty Crust Restaurant Hawaii

Hawaii: Tasty Crust Restaurant


Pancakes are the must-order item at Tasty Crust, which has been open since 1942. Breakfast is served all day, including their fluffy plate-sized pancakes which feature local specialties like macadamia. The loco moco is also a popular choice here, with a breakfast version available for those looking for a savory bite to start the day.

Jimmy's Down the Street

Idaho: Jimmy’s Down the Street

Coeur d’Alene

This historic diner has won various accolades for its freshly made, hearty plates, including a feature on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” to showcase its pecan rolls and chicken-fried steak skillet. The joint started out as a tiny soda shop and breakfast spot, and now offers everything from breakfast classics and twists like stuffed hashbrowns to house-made pies, breads, and the must-try caramel pecan rolls.

Lou Mitchell's in Chicago
Jessica F./

Illinois: Lou Mitchell’s


Lou Mitchell’s has been serving its noted breakfast fare since 1923, with breakfast favorites including country-fresh eggs, large omelettes, fluffy pancakes and waffles, and an assortment of freshly baked pastries and breads. The coffee here is award-winning, enjoyed best with the signature donut holes served as a complimentary treat for breakfast. Since its early days, the diner has offered women and children Milk Duds when they enter the restaurant as a welcome treat, while the homemade marmalade with honey, orange, spices, and fresh orange juice served with their freshly baked bread is a can’t miss.

Oasis Diner

Indiana: Oasis Diner


This classic diner, known for its hand-breaded Indiana pork tenderloins, got its start in Signac, New Jersey, where it was manufactured and shipped by railroad to Plainfield in 1954. The diner is the only one remaining on the Historic National Road in Indiana. The tenderloin is the must-try dish here, breaded and served either fried, grilled or blackened based on your preference. Pair it with one of their handcrafted sodas, like the cherry cola, and save room for their made-in-house desserts, with pies ranging from strawberry rhubarb to cinnamon peach.

Canteen Lunch in the Alley
Ricky D./Yelp

Iowa: Canteen Lunch in the Alley

This tiny diner has been serving up its signature sandwich since 1927. The Canteen is a loose meat sandwich featuring juicy meat topped with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions and your choice of cheese. Enjoy it with a signature root beer float, which comes topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Related: 30 of the Smallest Restaurants Around the World

Hanover Pancake House
Alisha M./Yelp

Kansas: Hanover Pancake House

For four decades, Hanover Pancake House has been one of the best spots in the Sunflower State for lip-smacking breakfast favorites like chicken and waffles, cinnamon roll French toast, and mini M&M pancakes. There are also lunch staples like patty melts and pork tenderloin sandwiches. Look for the retro sign and exterior — it's a local landmark.  

Related: Best All-Day Breakfast Spots in Every State


Kentucky: Wagner’s Pharmacy

Wagner’s started as a pharmacy and breakfast and lunch location back in 1922, growing into a popular location for horse racing — collections of past Kentucky Derby winners are still up on the walls today. The local favorite has gained national esteem for its history and spot-on meals, including sandwich favorites like the Derby Sandwich — honey glazed ham, melted Swiss cheese, and mayo on a bun—to its fluffy biscuits served with gravy.

Strawn's Eat Shop

Louisiana: Strawn’s Eat Shop


First opened in Shreveport in 1944, Strawn’s Eat Shop still serves up classic favorites like their icebox pies. The strawberry icebox pie made with fresh whipped cream and strawberries is the one you’ll want to try, while the biscuits are also a favorite, with some diners saying they’re the best they’ve ever tasted.

Maine Diner

Maine: Maine Diner


This iconic diner has been featured on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” “The Today Show,” and more, with its signature seafood dishes the highlight of the menu. While the seafood chowder and codfish cakes are staple items, the lobster pie is the most well-known dish. It features large chunks of fresh lobster topped with a buttery crumb mix, all of it baked to crunchy goodness. For breakfast, sample the large blueberry pancakes, stuffed full of local Maine blueberries with your choice of pure maple syrup on the side.

Tastee Diner

Maryland: Tastee Diner

Bethesda, Laurel 

Starting in 1935 in Washington, D.C., Tastee Diner now offers an authentic American railroad car-style diner experience at its locations in Maryland. Breakfast is served all day and it’s done right, from fluffy hotcakes and French toast to omelettes. Try the bread pudding or rice pudding for a decadent dessert.

Casey’s Diner
Dan K./Yelp

Massachusetts: Casey’s Diner


Originally started in 1890 with just four stools inside a horse-drawn wagon, Casey’s Diner has been in downtown Natick since 1927, with its renowned, steamed hot dogs (known to snap when bitten) bringing in customers for years. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and noted as one of the state’s oldest operating diners, the diner is also known for serving delicious hamburgers and fresh slices of pie.

West Bay Diner

Michigan: Archie's West Bay Diner & Delicatessen

Grand Marais

Step inside this tiny diner and you won’t want to leave, thanks to it being a cozy space where you can peruse books and enjoy plates ranging from pizza and hearty sandwiches like a reuben to the desserts baked in-house diners adore. Homemade pies served a la mode, large cookies from lemon to chocolate chunk, fluffy muffins, and homemade jams are some of the sweet treats you can look forward to at this seasonal location which will open back up in the spring.

Our Kitchen
Brandon R.

Minnesota: Our Kitchen


Hash browns and made-from-scratch fluffy pancakes are the specialties at this 1940s diner. The diner is small, with food prepped right in front of you at the counter. Get the Kitchen Special to sample the crispy hash browns, eggs, and juicy sausage patties. Make sure to try the pancakes; they’re as big as your plate and packed with flavor.

Brent’s Drugs
Stephen S./Yelp

Mississippi: Brent’s Drugs

Brent’s started out as a pharmacy and soda fountain back in 1946. The original soda fountain and classic diner stools remain today. Ice cream is delicious here and features generously in the rich milkshake selections. Keep an eye out when you visit, as one of the city’s best cocktail bars — the Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs — is located in the back.

Broadway Diner

Missouri: Broadway Diner


Step into the Broadway Diner, a favorite breakfast stop for locals since its opening in 1989, and you’ll get a look into a vintage '60s Double Deluxe Valentine Diner, a type of portable smaller and often wider diner with just a few stools created for small businesses back in the day. The charming interior and the friendly staff just add to beloved dishes like French toast served with warm maple syrup and The Stretch— hash browns topped with scrambled eggs, chili, cheddar cheese, and diced green peppers and onions.

The Western Café
May A./Yelp

Montana: The Western Café

The Western Café is one of the few buildings that remain from Bozeman’s village days, originally a residence for 60 years before transforming into a restaurant where it changed names for over 80 years. The structure itself dates back to the early 1870s, and it took the name The Western Café in 1956. Today, it is known for dishes like its biscuits and gravy, its chicken fried steak, and the Bobcat French Toast—two cinnamon roll slices served French toast style.

Hi-Way Diner
Sondra Z./Yelp

Nebraska: Hi-Way Diner

Hi-Way Diner has been serving its breakfast, lunch, and dinner selections for 35 years. Some of its most popular dishes include the crispy hand-breaded, chicken-fried steak, breakfast selections like the Haystack  — two eggs over hash browns, sausage gravy, and “magic” toast — and the Hot Stripper sandwich featuring chicken strips and sausage gravy.

Coffee Mug Restaurant

Nevada: Coffee Mug Family Restaurant

Coffee Mug has been a family-run establishment since it opened on New Year’s Day of 1987. Today, the grandson of the diner’s original founders runs the spot, where breakfast is a hit. The chorizo skillet is a favorite, served with diced potatoes and your choice of eggs any style, as are their fluffy pancakes.

Red Arrow Diner

New Hampshire: Red Arrow Diner

Concord, Londonderry, Manchester, and Nashua

First opened in Manchester in 1922, the Red Arrow Diner now has several locations and has been a favorite among celebrities like Adam Sandler and Paul Newman. Blue plate specials here are served on signature blue plates, while dessert is served all day. The cream pies and whoopie pies are noted items here, including the coconut cream pie which has several inches of fresh whipped cream, while the Dinah Fingers — homemade Twinkies featuring golden fluffy cakes filled with sweet vanilla cream-cheese frosting — are the one dessert you won’t want to miss.

Summit Diner
Megan Z./Yelp

New Jersey: Summit Diner


Originally built in 1929 with its current location opening in 1939, Summit Diner now stands as the state’s oldest diner. The sliders, which are ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches featuring crisp Taylor ham on a roll, are the iconic dish you’ll want to try here.

Western View Diner and Steakhouse
Tena S. / Yelp

New Mexico: Western View Diner and Steakhouse


Opened in 1937, you'll still feel like you're walking back in time when you step into the Western View. Its retro diner interior isn't original, but it's cozy and welcoming. The mosaic tile on the wall behind the register area is original, though, so keep an eye out for it. The cuisine served includes diner favorites, steaks, New Mexican, and Greek, thanks to a succession of Greek owners. Don't miss the homemade biscuits and gravy, breaded steak fingers, or the savory stuffed sopapilla smothered in red or green chile. 

Historic Village Diner

New York: Historic Village Diner

Red Hook
Stepping into this diner gives visitors a chance to peek into a popular 20th century-style railroad dining car, a prefabricated Silk City Diner, which was made in Paterson, New Jersey from the 1920s through the 1950s. The diner has been in its current location since 1950 and offers hearty breakfast and lunch plates. Popular choices at the Historic Village Diner include the eggs Benedict, which doesn’t skimp on Hollandaise sauce, as well as freshly baked desserts like the gooey cinnamon buns, homemade muffins, and the dunker donuts.

North Carolina: Snappy Lunch
ChowHound Z./Yelp

North Carolina: Snappy Lunch

Mount Airy
Andy Griffith was from Mount Airy, and Snappy Lunch is the only real restaurant from the city ever mentioned on the Andy Griffith Show. The century-old restaurant that only serves until 1:45 p.m. is known for its iconic pork chop sandwich, which you can watch being made in the window. A thin, tenderized pork chop is lightly battered and cooked on an oiled griddle, then placed on a bun and topped with thick tomato-based chili sauce, chopped coleslaw, yellow mustard, onion, and tomato.  

Related: Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in America

Kroll's Diner

North Dakota: Kroll’s Diner

Fargo, Bismarck, Mandan, Minot
Kroll’s Diner has been combining German specialties and American diner flare since it opened in 1969. Now offering several locations, the stop has an extensive breakfast menu, burgers, hand-scooped shakes and malts, and German dishes like the dumpling-filled and creamy Knoephla soup.

Hamburger Inn Diner

Ohio: Hamburger Inn Diner


This old-school restaurant has been known for its juicy burgers since 1932, but the spot doesn’t just offer great burgers. It also has a bakery where it creates homemade breads, pies, gravies, and more, with cinnamon rolls so loved that diners will often ask if they can have them shipped to locations throughout the U.S.

Sherri's Diner

Oklahoma: Sherri’s Diner

Oklahoma City

This family-owned diner has been serving fresh, daily breakfast and lunch dishes for over 30 years. Inside, the decor takes you back to the '50s thanks to neon-red Coca Cola signs and trims and colorful posters lining its walls. The onion rings and pancakes win rave local reviews, while the chicken fried steak is also a popular choice. Make sure to grab a cinnamon roll on your way out.

White’s Restaurant
Greg L./Yelp

Oregon: White’s Restaurant


White’s Restaurant is Salem’s oldest diner, operating since 1936. The Don’s Big Mess is the most famous dish, combining bacon, sausage, ham, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and hash browns that get grilled together and topped with sausage gravy for a bite that goes beyond just skillets and scrambles.

Pamela’s Diner
Evie T./Yelp

Pennsylvania: Pamela’s Diner


Pamela’s Diner has become known for dishing out Pittsburgh’s most famous hotcakes, serving breakfast specials since 1980. It’s known for the crepe-style hotcakes, which you can get in varieties that include strawberry versions stuffed with fruit and topped with brown sugar, sour cream, and whipped cream. There are blueberry- and banana walnut- stuffed varieties, too.

Modern Diner

Rhode Island: Modern Diner


Don’t let the name of The Modern Diner fool you, as the location is steeped in history. It was the first diner in the nation chosen for the National Register for Historic Places, and stands today as an example of a Sterling Streamliner, a type of diner made in the late '30s and early '40s. The menu features decadent choices like a custard French toast with strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, glazed pecans, a warm custard sauce, and strawberry drizzle.

Summer’s Restaurant
John B./Yelp

​​South Carolina: Summer’s Restaurant


Summer’s Restaurant is Newberry’s oldest diner, opening in 1954. The family-run establishment became known for its burgers, with the Tom Burger still considered one of the best in the area today. Get it with a side of beer-battered onion rings for the ultimate meal.

Phillips Avenue Diner
Mary B./Yelp

South Dakota: Phillips Avenue Diner

Sioux Falls

Retro vibes surround you at the Phillips Avenue Diner, from its soda fountain tri​​mmings to the greasy-spoon staples on its menu. The waffles are great for breakfast, from Belgian waffles with sweet whipped butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup, to the Sunrise featuring strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. The poutine, topped with pulled pork, cheese curds, and gravy, is a lunchtime star.

Elliston Place Soda Shop, Nashville, Tennessee
Elliston Place Soda Shop/Yelp

Elliston Place Soda Shop

Nashville, Tennessee
The Elliston Place Soda Shop, operating since 1939, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular spot for photo shoots, movie filming, and music videos due to its vintage charm. Each booth has a mini jukebox on the wall, but if you sit on a red vinyl stool at the counter, you'll have to use the jukebox at the back.

Original Market Diner

Texas: Original Market Diner


Started as a drive-in back in 1954, the diner has undergone various name changes throughout its history, but the staples remain as crave-worthy as they were in its opening days. Specialties here include chicken-fried steak, Belgian waffles, and French toast, which comes in versions that include raisin bread, banana bread, iced cinnamon roll, and chocolate hazelnut banana bread.

Ruth's Diner in Emigration Pass, Utah
Bruce M./

​​Utah: Ruth’s Diner

Emigration Canyon

Ruth’s Diner is the state’s second-oldest operating restaurant, dating back to 1930. Besides its award-winning food, the diner is also known for hosting magnificent views over Emigration Canyon, which can be enjoyed from its creek-side patio. The dishes here come from family recipes, with favorites including their biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak and eggs, and a pulled pork Benedict served on green Chile cheese cornbread.

Counter at Blue Benn Diner in Bennington, Vermont
Bruce K./

Vermont: Blue Benn


Dine inside of a Silk City Diner railcar model created in the 1940s. The historic diner, which has won various accolades for its design and food, was almost closed for good during the pandemic, but thankfully reopened to serve favorites like the Benedict and chicken fried steak. Make sure to save room for a homemade donut that comes grilled and dusted with cinnamon sugar.

Wright’s Dairy Bar
Mimi S./Yelp

Virginia: Wright’s Dairy Bar


Wright’s is a drive-in with seating available inside, and its history, hand-pattied burgers, crispy onion rings, and cozy interiors make it a can’t miss when in the state. The location started as a frozen custard store back in 1952, eventually expanding into a full menu drive-in where you can enjoy its burgers and footlong hot dogs alongside creamy malts and ice cream sundaes.

Twede’s Cafe
Arnel E./Yelp

Washington: Twede’s Cafe

North Bend

Twede’s Cafe sits in a building dating back to 1941, and was the selected Double R Diner to feature in “Twin Peaks” — which is why it is so fitting that the diner is known for its cherry pie and coffee. You can grab the famous pie by the slice (with ice cream) or whole to take home after your meal.

Dolly's Diner

West Virginia: Dolly’s Diner


Dolly’s Diner, previously called the Omelet Spot, has been serving American classics since 1975. The current owners, who took it over in 2016, still serve the hearty breakfast omelettes, juicy burgers, steaks, and homemade desserts the former diner was known for. Try the Butterscotch Lush for dessert, featuring layers including cookie crust, creamy filling, cake, butterscotch, nuts, and a whipped topping.

Franks Diner in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Juveriya M./

Wisconsin: Franks Diner


It would be an oversight to leave Franks Diner, the oldest continuously operating lunch car in America, off this list. The 1926 diner truly features a memorable atmosphere, and its garbage plates have continuously ranked as a must-try breakfast dish for years. They feature hash browns, peppers, onions, and eggs with your choice of extra fixings. The best part is that they come with the diner’s famed homemade bread, made from a combination of wheat bran, yogurt, and honey.

Luxury Diner, Cheyenne, Wyoming
Terra S./

Wyoming: Luxury Diner


Everything at Luxury Diner, an old trolley car that got its start in the 1800s, is handmade, with the restaurant opening in 1926. Today, its design remains exactly the same, and classics like the chicken fried steak are done right. Keep an eye out for their four-layer carrot cake when perusing through the rotating homemade desserts.