America's best diners

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
As synonymous with America as apple pie and the open road, diners have been an indelible part of our national consciousness for more than century. While many longstanding establishments continue to carry on the genre's rich traditions of affordable comfort food, Art Deco architecture and folksy service, ambitious newcomers are giving classic diner dishes chef-driven makeovers and expanding our understanding of what a diner can be. With a playing field this broad and diverse, definitiveness is an impossible goal, but these 23 spots represent a panoramic view of today's American diner. --Roger Kamholz

Check out the slideshow below to discover America's best diners:

11 PHOTOS
America's Best Diners
See Gallery
America's best diners

Fremont Diner; Sonoma, CA

Chef and owner Chad Harris taps into the agricultural gifts of the surrounding Carneros region to enliven his elevated take on comfort food, which at breakfast includes a fresh sunny-side up egg over house-smoked black-pepper brisket. A rusty pickup parked out front and walls lined with Harris's own antiques lend this tiny wine country waypoint—open since 2009—a throwback charm. thefremontdiner.com

Photo credit: Ryan Donahue/Food & Wine

Harry's Coffee Shop; La Jolla, CA

Sure, you can get a very SoCal breakfast of chicken salad-filled fresh Hawaiian papaya at Harry's. But we're guessing its 50-plus years of service is more thanks to the bacon-studded waffles, warm cinnamon rolls, old-fashioned milk shakes and famously strong joe. harryscoffeeshop.com

Photo credit: Carolyn Saylor/Food & Wine

Hopscotch; Oakland, CA

Touches like the checkered flooring and swiveling, vinyl-topped counter stools give Hopscotch its homey diner bona fides, as do menu favorites like buttermilk fried chicken and the First Base burger (it's layered with griddled beef tongue). But thoughtful cocktails and chef Kyle Itani's grounding in Japanese cuisine—evident in his elegant, roe-topped Yonsei oyster—make this modern diner a foodie destination to boot. hopscotchoakland.com

Photo credit: Lori Eanes/Food & Wine

Nickel Diner; Los Angeles

Chef Monica May and general manager Kristen Trattner took a gamble rehabbing a 1940s-era diner so close to Skid Row, but downtown L.A. has embraced Nickel and its refined (but no less hearty) approach to the classics of American diner-dom. Just try to finish the generous Double Stuffed Chicken. Or better yet, leave room for sweets like Nickel's beloved maple-bacon doughnut. nickeldiner.com

Photo credit: Kimberli Ransom/Food & Wine

Plow; San Francisco

Let's be honest, sometimes we seek out diners to nurse a hangover. At Plow, the airy space works in tandem with the comforting food to set you right again. The diner's eponymous dish provides a tour of Plow's breakfast-centric all-day menu, with a combination of two eggs, sausage or bacon, two lemon-ricotta pancakes and the diner's celebrated crispy potatoes. eatatplow.com

Photo credit: Peter Belanger Photography/Food & Wine

Florida Avenue Grill; Washington, DC

Since 1944, all of DC—from the political power broker to the value-conscious everyman—comes to the Florida Avenue Grill for a soul-food fix. Those in the know favor breakfast options (available all day) like hotcakes, biscuits, and fried catfish and grits. floridaavenuegrill.com

Photo credit: Tammy Gordon/Food & Wine

Au Cheval; Chicago

It appears rather fancy for a greasy spoon, but one look at Au Cheval's menu assures that you're comfortably in diner territory. And how: The lusted-for griddled cheeseburgers come with bonus patties (a single is a double, etc.), and eggs mingle with pretty much everything, from fries to foie gras. auchevalchicago.com

Photo credit: Kari Skaflen/Food & Wine

Little Goat; Chicago

Chef Stephanie Izard's follow-up to her reliably packed Girl & the Goat is a big, rich, satisfying update of the traditional diner concept, complete with a dozen inventive sandwiches and offbeat breakfasts like spaghetti with clams, eggs andguanciale. The attached bread shop supplies an array of fresh, crusty starches. littlegoatchicago.com

Photo credit: Huge Galdones/Food & Wine

Moody's Diner; Waldoboro, ME

Chef Stephanie Izard's follow-up to her reliably packed Girl & the Goat is a big, rich, satisfying update of the traditional diner concept, complete with a dozen inventive sandwiches and offbeat breakfasts like spaghetti with clams, eggs andguanciale. The attached bread shop supplies an array of fresh, crusty starches. littlegoatchicago.com

Photo credit: Lydia King/Food & Wine

A1 Diner; Gardiner, ME

Chef Stephanie Izard's follow-up to her reliably packed Girl & the Goat is a big, rich, satisfying update of the traditional diner concept, complete with a dozen inventive sandwiches and offbeat breakfasts like spaghetti with clams, eggs andguanciale. The attached bread shop supplies an array of fresh, crusty starches. littlegoatchicago.com

Photo credit: Courtesy of A-1 Diner/Food & Wine

For the full list of America's Best Diners, visit Food & Wine

Photo credit: Marty Madden/Food & Wine

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Related Video: America's favorite burger chains ranked by Foursquare

America's Favorite Burger Chains Ranked by Foursquare

More from Food & Wine:
America's Best Delis
Best Brunch Spots in the US
Best Burgers in the US
Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

People are Reading

Search Recipes