16 Of Our Favorite Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives Restaurants

A previous version of this article stated that The Beacon Drive-In was located in Spartenton. The Beacon Drive-In is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The hit show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," created and hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, brings restaurants from all over into viewers' homes. The show features a wide range of restaurants, from James Beard Award-winning establishments to old-school, down-home eats. If you have watched the show, it is inevitable that your mouth has watered with the sights of foods created at these restaurants.

For this reason, we've compiled some of our favorite restaurants featured in "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." While choosing just this handful out of all the show's seasons and featured restaurants throughout the United States is a daunting task and inevitably will leave out some excellent places, we did our best to show you places from all over that hit each of the categories in the show's title: diners, drive-ins, and dives. No matter what you like to eat or where you live, there's sure to be an amazing restaurant from the show out there for you.

1. Pagoda — North Pole, Alaska

When we say Guy Fieri has been everywhere, we mean it. He headed north for an episode called "A North Pole Christmas," bringing viewers treats from the home of the big guy in the red suit himself. Pagoda, a Chinese restaurant located in North Pole, Alaska, truly brings the flavor. Pagoda opened its doors in 1990 with Chef Benny Lin at the helm. The restaurant features both classic cuisines as well as new, custom-made culinary creations.

Special dishes include their Pagoda Steak, Alaskan King Crab Legs with Ginger, and Walnut Shrimp. The Walnut Shrimp, in particular, seems to be a hit, with reviewers on Food Network's website raving about it.

Fieri is so in love with Pagoda that he has continued to feature it in other series of his, including "Guy's Grocery Games" and "Takeout: Tastier at Home," where "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" locations compete and show Fieri and his viewers how to make their signature dishes at home. There is no denying that if you find yourself in North Pole, this is a must-try spot.

2. Duarte's Tavern — Pescadero, California

Heading back to the lower 48, we come to the most populated state in the U.S. — California. With so many people, it is inevitable that there will be a lot of good eats. All of these options make for fierce competition. That's why it speaks such volumes that Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero, California, has been open since 1894.

The restaurant has been featured in two "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” episodes: "Local Flavor" and "All Stacked Up." What started out as a bar and barbershop founded by Frank Duarte is now a restaurant that brings a Portuguese flair to its menu. Although the restaurant serves unpretentious food, do not mistake simplicity for being boring. Most of the produce used is grown in its own restaurant garden, with some items sourced from local farms. The fish they cook depends entirely on what is available locally, so you get the freshest catch. Duarte's Tavern is now in its fourth generation of Duarte ownership, with each generation learning and passing down recipes from the past. Specialties include crab cioppino, cream of artichoke soup, and various pies. All this hard work paid off, and in 2003 they won the James Beard award for "American classic restaurant."

3. Grammy's Goodies — Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Who doesn't dream about their grandmother's classic cooking? While not everyone is lucky enough to still have those old-school recipes and someone to cook them, you can always head to Grammy's Goodies, located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, for some home cooking. What started as a small business selling traditional Italian cookies at festivals has now morphed into a restaurant and bakery featuring Italian American dishes such as lasagna and pizzas, one that also includes a constantly changing assortment of pastries, cookies, cakes, and pies.

Grammy's Goodies was featured on an episode called "Savory with a Side of Sweet," and the delectable combination of foods perfectly fits that description. Not only are these goodies delicious, but Grammy, as it turns out, did not skimp on the sizes. Even Guy Fieri, whose own restaurants are known for going big, commented on the sheer size of the lasagna, saying that it is "exactly the kind of lasagna I would expect cooking at Grammy's house." So if you are looking for some good home cooking with grandma's recipes, look no further than Grammy's Goodies.

4. The Meatball Shoppe — Orlando, Florida

There is a little something for everyone at The Meatball Shoppe, located in Orlando, Florida, and featured in the episode "Wonder Women." This family-run restaurant serves up all kinds of delicious foods, but as the name implies, the meatballs are the big selling feature.

The Meatball Shoppe offers every kind of meatball you can imagine. Of course, they have to start with Nonna's traditional Italian meatballs, but they are not limited by any stretch of the imagination. Not only do they offer various flavors of chicken and pork meatballs but also a full selection of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan meatballs. In addition to being featured in "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," the meatballs also won "best of the best meatballs" in central Florida in 2016. So, for good food that can be both classic and a little out of the ordinary, head over to The Meatball Shoppe and try a little bit of everything.

5. Joey's Kitchen — Maui, Hawaii

Fusion is at the heart of Joey's Kitchen, which has two locations on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Chef Joe Macadangdand describes Hawaii as a big melting pot of cultures and studied under fusion chef Roy Yamaguchi for 20 years. With this background, he was able to open Joey's Kitchen, which features dishes inspired by Japanese, Portuguese, Filipino, and Chinese cooking.

The restaurant was featured in the episode "Pig's Feet, Mojo, and Chow-Chow." Joey's Kitchen uses local ingredients that showcase the best of Hawaii agriculture, such as eggplant, okra, and long beans (via Food Network). Featured food includes Crispy Pata, which is made from deep-fried pork knuckles and is served with spicy vinegar, green papaya atchara, and white rice. The food exudes classy gourmet eats, and the restaurant describes itself as affordable for the whole "ohana," the Hawaiian word for family. Guy Fieri was substantially impressed with the food and praised Macadangdand for his delicious representation of Filipino cooking — which is one of the reasons Joey's Kitchen made our list of favorites. 

6. 3 Sisters Cafe — Indianapolis, Indiana

3 Sisters Cafe in Indianapolis, Indiana, is another restaurant that has the honor of being showcased in two "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" episodes. It was first featured in "Signature Sandwiches," followed by a spot in "Dynamite Desserts."

This cafe, located in an 1896 farmhouse, offers Southern-inspired food (via Food Network). Guy Fieri was particularly taken with the ham and cheese sandwich with wilted kale and bacon, which he called "outstanding." But if you are making the trip there, you cannot miss out on their homemade desserts. Fieri tried the blueberry goat cheese pie and the raspberry lemon corn cakes, and those would be at the top of our list, too. If you don't think you can fit dessert after a meal, there is no shame in grabbing the corn cakes for breakfast, too.

3 Sisters Cafe is only open until mid-afternoon, so this is definitely someplace you want to hit early in the day. Its quaint appearance and plethora of both meat and vegan options make it the perfect casual breakfast or lunch spot.

7. The Seafood Lady — Louisville, Kentucky

It is all about seafood at The Seafood Lady in Louisville, Kentucky. Featured on the episode "Mega Mouthfuls," if you go to The Seafood Lady, you will not leave hungry.

The restaurant was founded by Florida native Nichelle Thurston, who brought her grandfather's recipes with her to Louisville. Thurston started by selling food via social media with her husband. The food was a huge hit, and soon Thurston purchased a food truck to keep up with demand. This was not enough, though, and they moved the restaurant into their first brick and mortar location.

One of their featured foods is the fried lobster and waffles, which Guy Fieri practically scarfed down. He complemented not only the food flavors but also Thurston's cooking abilities, which he called the "seafood touch." Since the episode's airing, the business has only continued to expand, and they now have two locations in the Louisville area. So if you find yourself in that neck of the woods, it's worth the stop for some top-quality seafood.

8. Miss Shirley's Cafe — Baltimore, Maryland

Miss Shirley's Cafe was founded in 2005 as a way to honor the owner's food professional friend, Miss Shirley. The restaurant was featured in two different "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" episodes, "Family Legacies" and "Rockstar Chefs." This breakfast and lunch spot serves up a plethora of Southern-inspired foods, including a Crab Cake Po' Boy, which Guy Fieri described as "outrageous" and "next level," as well as delicious breakfast and brunch treats such as the coconut cream-stuffed French toast (via Food Network).

In addition to praise from Fieri, Miss Shirley's Cafe has also been awarded "America's favorite family friendly restaurant" and "best pancakes in the country," among others. If that doesn't get your mouth watering, nothing will.

What started as a small cafe in Roland Park has since spread to multiple locations around the Baltimore area, making it easier than ever to find their delicious food.

9. Firehole Bar-B-Que Company — West Yellowstone, Montana

Guy Fieri got in early on Firehole Bar-B-Que Company when he found them four days after they opened. Firehole Bar-B-Que Company was featured in the episode "Triple D Nation: From Brisket to Bison." Started by father-son duo Big Mike Shults and Little Mike Shults, Firehole Bar-B-Que Company features smoked meats and their own blends of barbeque sauces.

Located outside Yellowstone National Park, Firehole Bar-B-Que Company has everything you could want from a barbeque-based eating establishment. They have ribs, nachos, and smoked meats by the pound. The food is incredible, and as one commenter on Food Network points out, even the corn salad is terrific.

Doors open for this restaurant at 4 p.m., and if you want your pick of the menu, you better get there soon — they sell out quickly. Another commenter on Food Network mentioned that by 7:30 p.m., there was a line out the door, and the ribs were gone. But even so, the food made the trip worth it. Plus, if you want to experience the flavors at home, they bottle and sell their barbeque sauce, which can be purchased in-store.

10. Red Arrow Diner — Manchester, New Hampshire

The Red Arrow Diner is a classic diner established all the way back in 1922. The original diner, which is now one of several locations, is open 24 hours a day and offers traditional diner fare, such as classic breakfast food and burgers, as well as more off the wall items such as American Chop Suey and handmade twinkies. The restaurant was featured in the episode "House Specials," where, in addition to other foods, Guy Fieri tried the pork pie, which he described as "comfort food."

With multiple locations, one of which is open 24/7, you are bound to be able to get this old-school diner food whenever you need it. However, be forewarned that, as the episode shows, if you arrive during the busy hours, you may have a long way before making it to the counter, as this restaurant gets packed. It's all worth it, though, for the food and the ambiance that awaits.

11. Florence's Restaurant — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Florence's Restaurant in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been serving it up for over 70 years. The restaurant is a family business and was founded by Florence herself. It has since been passed down to her daughter Victoria.

Florence's Restaurant was featured in the episode "Down-Home Flavors," and that really is the best way to describe the food. Florence's Restaurant makes a combination of soul food as well as some of Florence's own creations using unique flavors and ingredients to create "good country food for the soul," as Florence describes it. Some of her own creations include Yammed Fried Chicken, which is a fried chicken coated in a candied yam sauce that Guy Fieri called "fantastic."

The owners are not the only people who've enjoying Florence's for generations. By their estimations, there are fourth-generation customers who just can't get enough of this classic cooking. Yet, over the years, Florence's Restaurant has maintained its same quality, and in 2022, they were named the James Beard "America's classic" winner.

12. Big Jim's — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

If you are looking for a classic dive bar, look no further than Big Jim's, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Big Jim's has been serving up traditional American Italian fare since 1977. Located in a small hideaway known as "The Run" beneath the I-376 Parkway, Big Jim's serves up portions worthy of its name. Food Network notes that the veal parmesan sandwich "nearly matches the width of Guy's head," and Fieri himself described the size as "ridiculous" (in a good way).

Big Jim's was featured in the episode "Long Time Legends." Walking in, you feel instantly transported back in time as the wood paneling and old-school bar cement its status as a dive. Do not mistake old for bad, though. If "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" has taught us anything, it is to look past appearances and enjoy the delicious and abundant foods. For decades, Big Jim's has provided big portions with big hearts from their friendly staff. In addition to the veal parmesan, try their mammoth calzones, the Reuben, and the Big Jim's Club.

13. The Beacon Drive-In — Spartanburg, South Carolina

For a show called "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," finding drive-ins is a rarity in this modern world. However, Guy Fieri has done it and brought us to The Beacon Drive-In, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

This restaurant technically features two of the show's themes as, despite being more than 70 years old, this diner remains a drive-in to this day. The Beacon Drive-In was featured in two episodes: the eponymous "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," and "Diners A-Plenty."

The Beacon Diner is known for their Chili Cheeseburger A-Plenty, which features chili, onion rings, and fries, as well as ice cream and Beacon Iced Tea. According to the company, they sell "more tea than any other single restaurant in the U.S.A.," and it is no wonder why. Their iced tea is sweetened, with a hint of lemon, and served on shaved ice, making it a cool and sweet treat somewhere between a dessert and a drink.

As one of the few drive-ins still operating, it's worth the stop for this retro treat.

14. Pieous — Austin, Texas

Pieous is a family-owned restaurant located in Austin, Texas. Featured in the episode "Mega Meat and Sweet Treats," Pieous brings an array of foods together in a way that can not be beaten. As Guy Fieri notes in the episode, the name and reputation say "pizza," but the company does so much more.

As shown in the episode, co-owners Josh and Paige Kaner started out in the music industry, but, unhappy there, they had the dream of opening a restaurant and finally made the leap. Now the restaurant offers pizza, freshly baked bread, pastries, and pastrami which one customer interviewed described as "in a world of its own." Fieri took one bite and, clearly agreeing, asked for "three to go." The homemade caramel rolls are made with a croissant base and homemade caramel, and after one bite, Feiri said it is what "every cinnamon roll wants to be."

Finding a restaurant that can do it all is rare, and Austin's Pieous is one of the best there is.

15. Red Iguana — Salt Lake City, Utah

For Mexican food that is "killer," check out Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah. Red Iguana was featured in the episode "Smothered and Covered," and it lives up to the episode title.

Red Iguana was founded in 1985 by Ramon and Maria Cardenas, who had been in the restaurant business since 1965. The establishment features its own spin on traditional Mexican recipes and has received much praise over the years. Now the Cardenas children have taken over and are keeping the family traditions going.

The restaurant makes seven different kinds of mole sauce, and when Guy Fieri tried one, he said it was a "fantastic mole" and described it as "hot and sweet." Other signature foods include their nachos quesadillas, cochinita pibil, and enchiladas suizas.

Reviewers on Food Network rave about the Red Iguana, with one commenter saying that even though they are from southern California, this is still the best Mexican food in the United States. For those near Salt Lake City, a trip to the Red Iguana is a no-brainer.

16. Delta Diner — Delta, Wisconsin

If you are looking for a retro diner, the Delta Diner in Delta, Wisconsin, is the way to go. The chrome-covered exterior lures you in, and you will not be sorry for it. The diner is featured in the episode "Old School Joints," and while it first opened in 2003, they clearly went to great lengths to preserve that 1940s diner appeal.

On the show, Guy Fieri tried both the Norwegian pancakes with jalapeños and the red-eye gravy on biscuits, made with ground espresso beans in the gravy. Of the pancakes, Fieri said, "This is probably in the top three best pancakes I've ever had ... if not the best." That is high praise from a man who has been everywhere.

The menu operates on a rotating basis, so it will take multiple trips to taste everything it offers. But given the high praise from Fieri, we know it will be worth multiple trips.