The classic, old-school diner is a dying breed. Once ubiquitous from coast to coast, these no-frills temples to simple, home-style American fare are today going the way of the dodo, replaced by an endless variety of trendier and healthier options. But thankfully, there are still plenty of these shrines to old-fashioned dining out there if you know where to look, and we’ve tracked down the top 15.
The huge, gleaming diners with menus that read like an encyclopedia that can be found along New Jersey’s highways are on one end of the diner spectrum, but on the other end you’ll find a completely different animal altogether: the hole-in-the-wall.
America’s best holes-in-the-wall are small, unassuming, and in many cases completely unchanged over the (oftentimes many) decades since they opened. Some might call them “greasy spoons,” but the best of the bunch serve an unchanged menu of expertly-prepared classics like burgers, eggs, pancakes, hash browns, and meatloaf. Many have counters where regulars can sit and watch their food being prepared by nimble cooks on a flat-top griddle.
The best hole-in-the-wall diners are places where time stands still, where the food is delicious and inexpensive, where the menu is chock-full of tried-and-true classics, and where a visit is like stepping into a time capsule of American culinary history.