Diners – the savior of hungry and road-weary travelers, the unofficial ambassadors of comfort food, and the best place to experience a slice of Americana (with a side of fries, of course!). Recently, industry experts conducted a poll of 3,000 travelers to find out the top diner locations in the country.
#1 NEW YORK CITY, NY
New York City takes the top spot on the list of the best diner destinations in the country, with diners that never seem to sleep and always serve up delicious food. From classic pancakes and eggs to juicy burgers and fries, diners in the Big Apple offer a diverse range of American cuisine that is sure to satisfy any traveler’s appetite. For decades, diners have been an integral part of the city’s culture, providing a gathering place for people from all walks of life to come together and enjoy a meal. New York City boasts some of the most iconic diners in the United States, including the Empire Diner, Tom’s Restaurant, and the Tick Tock Diner, all of which continue to draw crowds with their delicious food, unique atmosphere, and historic charm.
#2 HONOLULU, HI
Taking the second spot on the list is the tropical haven of Honolulu, Hawaii, where diners reflect the unique blend of cultures that make up Hawaii’s diverse population, including Japanese, Filipino, and American influences. The diner culture in Honolulu is renowned for its varied and exciting menu, featuring dishes that combine the traditional American diner fare with Hawaiian flavors. This blending of culinary styles has given rise to dishes such as loco moco (a Hawaiian dish made with rice, hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy), Spam musubi (a sushi-like snack made with spam and rice), and pancakes served with tropical fruits like guava and pineapple.
#3 DALLAS, TX
At number three on the list is Dallas, the Lone Star State’s very own hub of culinary diversity, where diners play a significant role in the city’s culinary scene. Some of the diners in Dallas have stood the test of time, having been around for decades and becoming an integral part of the city’s fabric. These iconic diners have garnered a loyal following over the years, with customers who have been frequenting them for decades, creating a sense of familiarity and comfort that is hard to replicate. As a result, diners have become a beloved part of Dallas’ cultural landscape, offering classic American fare with a Texas twist that is sure to leave any traveler with a lasting impression of the city.
#4 MIAMI BEACH, FL
In fourth place is the vibrant Miami Beach, with its stunning ocean views, bustling nightlife, and diverse culture that draws tourists from all over the world. The diner scene in Miami Beach is an integral part of its unique cultural landscape and has grown in popularity over the years. The city is home to a variety of diners that serve up classic American cuisine in a fun and nostalgic setting, including the 11th Street Diner and the Big Pink. These popular diners offer visitors a taste of classic American fare amidst the lively and colorful backdrop of Miami Beach, making it a must-visit destination for any lover of diners and all things American.
#5 ROSCOE, NY
Finally, in fifth place is the charming small town of Roscoe (NY), known for its unique and interesting diners that have been in operation for decades, despite its small population of only a few thousand. Roscoe’s location at the intersection of several major highways makes it a popular stopover for travelers looking for a bite to eat and a chance to stretch their legs. Furthermore, Roscoe’s proximity to the Catskill Mountains and other outdoor attractions makes it an ideal destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts who are in search of a hearty meal before or after a day of outdoor activities.
6 Albuquerque, New Mexico 7 Nashville, Tennessee 8 Santa Fe, New Mexico 9 Boston, Massachusetts 10 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 11 Portland, Maine 12 Durham, North Carolina 13 Hilo, Hawaii 14 Lafayette, Louisiana 15 Atlanta, Georgia 16 Yermo, California 17 Memphis, Tennessee 18 Seattle, Washington 19 Portland, Oregon 20 Lancaster, Pennsylvania 21 Charleston, South Carolina 22 Baltimore, Maryland 23 Salt Lake City, Utah 24 Kansas City, Kansas 25 Richmond, Virginia 26 Mandeville, Louisiana 27 Farmers Branch, Texas 28 St. Louis, Missouri 29 Lexington, Kentucky 30 Phoenix, Arizona 31 Anchorage, Alaska 32 Durango, Colorado 33 Fayetteville, Arkansas 34 Lusby, Maryland 35 Plymouth, California 36 Boulder, Colorado 37 Sedona, Arizona 38 Easton, Pennsylvania 39 Bennington, Vermont 40 Fargo, North Dakota 41 Pompton Plains, New Jersey 42 Branson, Missouri 43 Cleveland, Ohio 44 East Greenwich, Rhode Island 45 Marietta, Georgia 46 Arlington, Virginia 47 Littleton, New Hampshire 48 Sioux Falls, South Dakota 49 Detroit, Michigan 50 El Reno, Oklahoma 51 Rowley, Masschusetts 52 Boies, Idaho 53 Charlotte, North Carolina 54 Exeter, Rhode Island 55 Lansing, Michigan 56 Manchester, New Hampshire 57 St. Paul, Minnesota 58 Tulsa, Oklahoma 59 Seaford, Delaware 60 Frankfort, Kentucky 61 Des Moines, Iowa 62 Great Falls, Montana 63 Harrison, New Jersey 64 Indianapolis, Indiana 65 Boulder City, Nevada 66 Iowa City, Iowa 67 Winnemucca, Nevada 68 Bismarck , North Dakota 69 Newberry, South Carolina 70 Springfield, Illinois 71 Waldoboro, Maine 72 Charles Town, West Virginia 73 Foxworth, Mississippi 74 Kimball, South Dakota 75 Medford, Oregon 76 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 77 West Brattleboro, Vermont 78 Wilmington, Delaware 79 Casper, Wyoming 80 Cheyenee, Wyoming 81 Pataskala, Ohio 82 Southbury, Connecticut 83 Wichita, Kansas 84 Huntsville, Alabama 85 Omaha, Nebraska 86 Peoria, Illinois 87 Duluth, Minnesota 88 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 89 Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 90 Havre, Montana 91 Homewood, Alabama 92 Sedro-Woolley, Washington 93 Moab, Utah 94 Vernon, Connecticut 95 Greenbrier, Arkansas 96 Harrison, Arkansas 97 Plainfield, Indiana 98 North Platte, Nebraska 99 Oxford, Mississippi 100 Sedro-Woolley, Washington
Respondents were quizzed further about their love of diners… 2-in-3 professed their love for classic diners with a vintage feel, proving that old is indeed gold. And it’s not just the food that’s got them hooked – a whopping 77% have fond memories associated with diners, whether it’s catching up with friends or spending quality time with family.
So what is it about diners that keeps them coming back for more? The survey revealed the top five reasons: classic American comfort food, retro vibes and decor, 24-hour service, affordable prices, and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. It’s like stepping back in time to a simpler era where the only worry was whether to order pancakes or waffles (or both!).
And when it comes to road trips, diners are the go-to for 84% of respondents. Who needs fancy restaurants when you can have a plate of pancakes at a roadside diner? In fact, 1 in 4 said they’re willing to travel interstate just to experience a new diner scene. Now that’s what we call dedication to good eats!
Coffee that’s always hot, plates that are always full, and a warm welcome no matter who you are – that’s what diners are all about. They’ve been a part of American culture for generations, and that’s because they offer a timeless experience that’s hard to find anywhere else. Whether you’re a local regular or a weary traveler passing through, diners make you feel like family. It’s that sense of comfort, familiarity, and community that keeps people coming back, and will continue to do so for years to come.