November 16 2009 by Matthew Clyde
From the classic stainless steel car to the bright neon lights to the smell of apple pie and malts - the diner has officially made a comeback. Made trendy again by the popular show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and new generations seeking a retro flashback, diners have been an essential part of urban culture for over 50 years. Defined as quintessentially "American", they've been illustrated by pop culture artists and featured as a staple hang-out in numerous movies and television shows. Most diners are small businesses and family owned, which always adds to the character of the atmosphere, food and service. So, the next time you're traveling, be sure to stop by these unique, fun and delicious American classics.
Blue Benn Diner (Bennington, Vermont)
Many popular diners today offer a true culinary experience by providing non-traditional diner food in the same retro atmosphere. One of the country's most well-known diners is Blue Benn Diner in Bennington, Vermont which offers the traditional fare, but also unexpected dishes such as Syrian roll-ups and vegetarian enchiladas. If you take a look at the Diner Section of any restaurant review, you'll most likely find people raving about this little gem with fabulous food.
Mickey's Dining Car (St. Paul, Minnesota)
If you're looking for a traditional diner experience, this is it. Often referred to as the birthplace of the diner, Mickey's is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been featured in several movies and listed on almost every Top 10 Diner list known to man. With traditional diner eats, this place has it all including the large neon sign stating "Free Parking" on the top of the conventional stainless steel car.
66 Diner (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
When I think of diners, I think of Route 66. They just seem to go together so well. The retro look and feel, the fast food travelers eating while driving across the country to visit the west coast - it just seems appropriate to mention the 66 Diner. Determined to bring back a little nostalgia, 66 Diner offers all the food that you crave. Deliciously greasy food and thick malts make eating on Route 66 just perfect.
Fog City Diner (San Francisco, California)
Fog City Diner is definitely not your traditional diner. Sure, they have the neon signs, the stainless steel look and the retro feel, but you won't find greasy breakfast food here. In fact, you won't find breakfast at all - just brunch, lunch and dinner, along with a full wine list. Lunch fare includes ahi tuna tartare on avocado bruschetta and grilled filet mignon with blue cheese. If you're at Fog City for dinner, try the buffalo burger with Humboldt Fog cheese and wild arugula. Non-traditional, but very yummy.
Whatever kind of food you might be in the mood for, it's most likely that a diner will have what you want - not to mention the great retro atmosphere. The next time you're traveling, don't miss these American classics.