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The Best Hole-in-the-Wall Diner in Every State

Did your favorite diner make the list? Thanks to our friends at Yelp, we were able to determine the best diner in every state!

There’s nothing like plopping into a booth at the diner. With a quick mug of hot coffee poured in front of you, you know a good meal is about to commence. However, not all diners are created equally, and some have been able to rise to the top, which is why we determined the best diner in every state for you right here!

Methodology: We worked with Yelp to determine which was the best. According to Yelp, “all the businesses on this list are in the Diners category on Yelp. ‘Best’ is measured using an algorithm that looks at the number of reviews and star ratings for a business.” We also decided that a diner must serve more than breakfast, that it needed to at least include a lunch meal on the menu, and be open for that lunch crowd.

With that in mind, here’s what we determined as the best diners in every state.

Salem’s Diner (Homewood, Alabama)

Known for their famous Philly Cheese Steak and The Trashcan breakfast plate (made with onions, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, and spicy sausage, over hashbrowns), Salem’s Diner, located in the Birmingham area, is a popular choice according to Yelp reviews.

Little Richard’s Family Diner (North Pole, Alaska)

While most foodie-favorites tend to be located in the bustling city of Anchorage, Alaska, this spot is actually located in the smaller town of North Pole. Open from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., customers on Yelp fawn over favorite menu items including the reindeer sausage and eggs and sandwiches with buffalo chips.

The Joy Bus Diner (Phoenix, Arizona)

Not only are the meals at Joy Bus Diner a favorite for the state of Arizona, but the touching mission behind this restaurant is one to celebrate. According to their website, The Joy Bus Diner is a non-profit restaurant that gives every cent to The Joy Bus, a local charity that brings chef-inspired meals to cancer patients in the Valley area. One Yelp reviewer wrote that the “mission of the Joy Bus is moving, and they even go as far as adding nutritional info, as it relates to cancer patients, next to certain menu items.”

The Lakewood Lounge (North Little Rock, Arkansas)

Even though Lakewood Lounge, located in the Little Rock area, has delicious breakfast, it is also known for their happy hour. One Yelp reviewer says “this place, hand down have the best happy hours.” Other Yelp reviewers say they like the variety of beers on tap, great to pair with their fried shrimp and the sweet potato fries.

Carla’s Cafe (Bakersfield, California)

If you’re looking for a spot that’s outside the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, head to Bakersfield and snag a booth at Carla’s Cafe. With a full 5-stars on Yelp and glowing reviews from customers, Carla’s Cafe is certainly a west-coast gem. Order a plate of their Biscuits and Gravy, which comes in three sizes: small, medium, or large.

The Little Diner (Vail, Colorado)

Planning on taking a ski trip to Vail, Colorado, any time soon? Make sure to stop into The Little Diner for a breakfast before hitting the slopes. If you’re stopping in for breakfast, be sure to order the German Pancakes—also known as a Dutch Baby. One Yelp reviewer says “the German Pancake was delicious. It was light and airy, so while it appeared huge, it was thin, so I didn’t feel ‘stuffed’ afterward.”

Sandy Hook Diner (Newtown, Connecticut)

Having a comforting old-school-style diner in town like the Sandy Hook Diner is a small way to bring a community together. One Yelp reviewer says “This place is such a gem! Stopped in for breakfast and what a cute, cozy place! Great atmosphere with very friendly staff and customers.”

Flip It LJ Diner (District of Columbia)

If you’re hanging in Washington D.C., make sure to stop into Flip It LJ Diner for an early breakfast or lunch. One Yelp reviewer says “I really enjoy the attentive nature of the staff and the Oaxaca Omelette is brilliant food!”

Angelo’s Luncheonette (Wilmington, Delaware)

Stepping into Angelo’s Luncheonette is like stepping into a time capsule. Along with this restaurant’s old school charm, Angelo’s Luncheonette is known for its scrapple and friendly customer service, according to a few glowing Yelp reviews.

Southern Charm Cafe (Cape Canaveral, Florida)

If you’re looking for some classic southern comfort food, Southern Charm Cafe in Cape Canaveral is the place to go in Florida. Located on a small island strip outside of Orlando, this restaurant is known for its fast service and “country charm,” according to one Yelp reviewer.

Thumbs Up Diner (Atlanta, Georgia)

In Atlanta, Georgia, the Thumbs Up Diner gets two thumbs up from customers! Customers gave it a 4-star rating and 500 reviews on Yelp, and wrote about delightful dishes like the Sassy Scramble and the Smoked Wings.

Hawaiian Style Cafe (Waimea, Hawaii)

Located on the main island of Hawaii, the Hawaiin Style Cafe is a fan favorite. This cafe is known for its huge portion sizes, so one Yelp reviewer says you should “arrive hungry.” They serve dishes such as the Hawaiian-Style Loco Moco, the Teri-Hamburger, and the Kalbi Ribs.

Hoot Owl Cafe (Ponderay, Idaho)

How could you not love a place called Hoot Owl Cafe? While there are numerous dishes that Yelp reviewers rave about, the one to order is the full order chicken fried steak with a cinnamon roll.

Ray’s Family Restaurant (Elgin, Illinois)

Out in the suburbs of Chicago, you’ll find a spot called Ray’s Family Restaurant, which according to Yelp reviewers is the best in Illinois. Located in Elgin, this classic family restaurant is known as the place to be for breakfast or lunch.

Scrambled Diner (Dyer, Indiana)

Would you expect anything less from a place called Scrambled Diner? This quaint eatery, located in Dyer, is best known for its omelets, skillets, and Monkey Cakes, according to Yelp reviews.

Suzie-Q Cafe (Mason City, Iowa)

It may look small, but this little cafe in Mason City, Iowa, sure is mighty! Most reviewers on Yelp state they stumbled upon this restaurant while on the road, and couldn’t believe how delicious the food is for such a hidden gem. One reviewer says you “MUST” order the Spic-N-Span sandwich.

Doo-Dah Diner (Wichita, Kansas)

Located southwest of Kansas City, the Doo-Dah Diner is a beloved gem for the state of Kansas. With a 4.5 star rating and 692 reviews on Yelp, this restaurant is well known for their Crab Cake Benedict, served with grilled asparagus and jalapeño bacon crumbles.

Metro Diner (Louisville, Kentucky)

While Metro Diner is a chain with multiple locations, it is a favorite for those in Louisville. Yelp reviewers state that the Fried Chicken and Waffle, or the simple Fruity Waffle, are great options for breakfast.

Liz’s Where Y’at Diner (Mandeville, Louisiana)

In the picturesque town of Mandeville, located right on the coast of Louisiana, is the colorful Liz’s Where Y’at Diner. Yelp reviewers love to stop in for breakfast and order one of their Scramblers.

Palace Diner (Biddeford, Maine)

Whether it be a steaming pile of pancakes or the beloved cheeseburger, Palace Diner is the place to be in Biddeford. Not only was it rated the best diner in the state of Maine, one Yelp reviewer says “believe they hype, this place is great.”

Cindy’s Kitchen (Cambridge, Maryland)

It may look like a little shack on the side of the road, but don’t underestimate this tiny hole-in-the-wall in Cambridge, Maryland. Cindy’s Kitchen is known for its delicious home cooking and old-school charm. One Yelp reviewer says it’s “impossible not to like this place because it’s authentic and the people are so nice.”

The Little Depot Diner (Peabody, Massachusetts)

If you’re in Peabody, you can’t miss this charming little spot. The Little Depot Diner serves “breakfast with the blues” and Yelp reviewers, with a 4.5 rating and 249 reviews, are all about it. One Yelp reviewer says “set aside defunct train tracks which no longer carries trains, The Little Depot Diner harkens back to Americana with a blues theme and vibe from music to decorations.”

Krystal Jo’s Diner (Flint, Michigan)

If going to Krystal Jo’s Diner in Flint, Michigan, for their coveted Hook Burger doesn’t sound appealing to you, at least go for the friendly service. One Yelp reviewer says “service was so friendly, and several people checked on us throughout our meal to make sure we were good. You can tell the employees (and Krystal herself) really care about their jobs and want everyone to be taken care of.”

Our Kitchen (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

It may be a small restaurant in a big city, but Our Kitchen, located in Minneapolis, is full of charm. Our Kitchen is known for their “world famous hashbrowns,” and cinnamon french toast, according to Yelp reviewers.

Abe’s Grill (Corinth, Mississippi)

At Abe’s Grill, you can dine among numerous signs and collected license plates while enjoying those classic American dishes: Cheeseburgers, fries, and Coca-Cola. The best thing about Abe’s? According to Yelp, it opens its doors at 5 a.m. for those early birds looking to get a bite before starting their day.

Southwest Diner (Saint Louis, Missouri)

If you’re hanging out in St. Louis, you have to stop into the Southwest Diner—rated the best diner in the state of Missouri! One Yelp reviewer says “While small and frequently packed for brunch, Southwest Diner is hands down my most frequently craved brunch stop. I will happily indulge in their grits on fire and a beer-mosa (made with Avery’s white rascal)!”

Sykes Diner (Kalispell, Montana)

You know the restaurant is good if a Yelp reviewer says “probably one of the best breakfast-diner experiences I’ve had the pleasure of having!”

Leo’s Diner (Omaha, Nebraska)

Tucked inside the busy city of Omaha, Nebraska, you’ll find Leo’s Diner. Full of that small-town charm in a big city, Leo’s Diner is known for its delicious Roxi Burrito, according to Yelp reviews.

Lou’s Diner (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Open as early as 5:30 a.m. for hungry customers, Lou’s Diner, located in Las Vegas, is a delicious spot to grab breakfast or brunch in the city. Yelp reviewers can’t stop talking about (and taking pictures of) their Monte Cristo sandwich.

Rosie’s Restaurant (Tamworth, New Hampshire)

When you think of a classic hometown diner, you probably think of a place like Rosie’s Restaurant. One Yelp reviewer says “the food is wonderful and the staff is even better. Please do yourself a favor if you’re ever in the area and stop in for breakfast….or lunch!”

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Tops Diner (East Newark, New Jersey)

New Jersey may be known for their classic diners, but the best-of-the-best was rated Tops Diner on Yelp. Located in East Newark, this place is known for serving unique dishes such as tacos and lobster macaroni and cheese.

Pantry Restaurant (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Tex-Mex may be the food of choice in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but you may just want to stop into the Pantry Restaurant if you get the chance! They give the classic American foods a Tex-Mex twist with their Green Chile Stew and Chile Relleno Omelette, a few favorites from Yelp reviewers.

Brian’s USA Diner (Mount Morris, New York)

That’s right! According to Yelp reviews, the best diner in the state of New York isn’t actually in New York City. Brian’s USA Diner, located in Mount Morris, is beloved by numerous customers for all of its U.S.A charm.

Metro Diner (Huntersville, North Carolina)

Metro Diner has yet again taken the top spot, but this time in Huntersville! Located north of Charlotte, this restaurant is “the best breakfast spot ever,” according to one Yelp reviewer.

Deaner’s Diner (West Fargo, North Dakota)

While Deaner’s Diner is known for their scrumptious selection of pies, it is also rated highly on Yelp because of its delicious food and charming staff. The best part? They serve breakfast all day!

Scott’s Diner (New Concord, Ohio)

If you ever find yourself traveling to (or from) Colombus, Ohio, you should take a pit stop at Scott’s Diner. A few Yelp reviewers recommend ordering the sausage and cheese omelet with their sourdough toast.

Sid’s Diner (El Reno, Oklahoma)

Looking to enjoy a chocolate malt and cheeseburger at a 1950s-themed restaurant? Sid’s Diner is the place to go! It has a 4.5-star review on Yelp, and according to one reviewer, it’s well known for its famous Onion Burger.

Mom’s Kitchen (North Bend, Oregon)

Completely hugged by water, the town of North Bend seems like a hidden gem of a town. Little did they know they also had a hidden gem right in town—Mom’s Kitchen! According to one Yelp reviewer, Mom’s Kitchen’s “atmosphere is like being at a family members house and the staff is friendly.”

David’s Diner (Springdale, Pennsylvania)

After hearing a lot of hype about this popular spot, one Yelp reviewer says “I believe the hype I was given now and highly recommend this diner. If Guy Fieri is every in the area this is a fantastic diner for his show!”

J P Spoonem’s (Cranston, Rhode Island)

According to one Yelp reviewer, they had “the best corned beef hash” they ever had. With a 4.5-star review on Yelp, this restaurant is beloved by the Cranston community, especially after ordering their Portuguese Sweet Bread French toast.

Early Bird Diner (Charleston, South Carolina)

With 945 reviews and a 4.5-star rating, no wonder Early Bird Diner is rated so highly! One Yelp reviewer says “I got the Blueberry Stuffed French Toast and WOW was it good.”

Phillips Avenue Diner (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

If you find yourself in the city of Sioux Falls—maybe for some shopping or picking someone up from the airport—pop into Phillips Avenue Diner for a bite. According to Yelp reviewers, their poutine is to die for.

Old Lighthouse Diner (Bristol, Tennessee)

One Yelp reviewer says “this place is run by a wonderful family that cares about people. The location cannot be beat & the atmosphere is unique (change is good). The service is very good and you receive your meal fairly fast. We’ve been here several times because of the owners!”

Starwood Diner (Lewisville, Texas)

You’ve probably never been to a diner quite like this one! Starwood Diner has all the charm of a diner, but it certainly has an upscale feel. One Yelp reviewer even said they would give this place 10 stars if they could!

El Bambi Cafe (Beaver, Utah)

With a name like El Bambi Cafe, did you really expect anything less than cute for this diner? Located in Beaver, Utah, this restaurant is, according to one Yelp reviewer, “The food was great, especially the cottage fries. I’d get them over fries any day.”

Dot’s Restaurant (Wilmington, Vermont)

Dot’s Restaurant in Wilmington, Vermont, is nothing short of charming. According to Yelp reviewers, this little restaurant is usually packed with customers and best known for their homemade bread and cinnamon rolls.

Mel’s Cafe (Charlottesville, Virginia)

Mel’s Cafe may be the best diner in Virginia, but it’s also known for its incredible soul food, according to Yelp reviewers. Specifically their fried chicken!

The Stilly Diner (Arlington, Washington)

Sure, you could head to The Stilly Diner for a regular meal. But what you really want to order is their giant cinnamon rolls, which look like huge loaves of bread made fresh every day, according to Yelp reviewers.

F O P Mountaineer Lodge 78 (Clarksburg, West Virginia)

Whether it be for an early morning meal or a late-night snack, F O P Mountaineer Lodge 78 is where to go in Clarksburg! One Yelp reviewer says “great food, amazing food, prices are MORE than reasonable. Service is outstanding and there’s a parking lot. What more can anyone ask for.”

Joni’s Diner (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin)

If you find yourself in Lake Geneva, maybe for a trip or a retreat, you’ll want to grab a bite at  Joni’s Diner. First known as the best breakfast spot in town, now known as the top in the state, Joni’s Diner has a 4.5-star rating on Yelp.

Jody’s Diner (Evanston, Wyoming)

Your kids are going to love Jody’s Diner in Evanston, Wyoming! Have them order pancakes, which comes in a Mickey Mouse shape with a bacon “smile.” Numerous Yelp reviews refer to it as a “little gem.”

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more