Is there anything better than diving into stacks of pancakes covered with maple syrup? Or savoring a milkshake made with local ice cream after a cheeseburger and fries? With great food, a friendly atmosphere and the occasional award-winning chef behind the counter, diners and luncheonettes remain some of the best places to grab a bite in New York State. From New York City to the Adirondacks and everywhere in between, these family-friendly mainstays are the stuff of mouthwatering memories. Discover original diners, where the atmosphere has been generations in the making, as well as award-winning hot spots that welcome all to linger over a meal.
Original standing diners
This all-American eatery opened its doors in 1969, the same year Woodstock made its debut 20 miles down the road. Visitors are greeted with a glass dessert case filled with cakes, pies, and assorted homemade baked goods. Whether you take a seat at the counter or claim a table, this Trout Town USA hot-spot will serve up something fresh and delicious. Go for a mouth-watering burger piled high with fries or choose a Greek specialty like Moussaka—either way, you’ll leave satisfied. Kids will love their special menu, which offers standards like macaroni and cheese as well as mini pizzas and hot dogs.
What to order: Chicken Athenian with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, feta, and oregano.
When to go: Open 6 am–10 pm.
Credit: @manorys_restaurant on Instagram
Troy’s oldest restaurant for pickup was established in 1913, and has been hailed as a landmark place to dine ever since. Manory’s offers classic diner fare that will delight all ages. The menu covers everything from burgers to deli sandwiches to salads and wings, as well as ice cream and milkshakes.
What to order: A handspun milkshake with whipped cream and toppings. We recommend the Brown Sugar Poptart Milkshake.
When to go: Open seven days a week from 7 am–11 pm.
This 1950s-era diner in Johnson City is a hometown favorite that still offers a classic diner menu. Signature sandwiches and unique breakfast combos make this a fun place for the whole family to feast. Fish tacos share menu space with grilled Cubano sandwiches and eggs any style.
What to order: Root Beer Float Pancakes. They’re topped with vanilla bean ice cream and homemade root beer syrup.
When to go: Open 7 am–3 pm Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday.
Originally the Northport Diner, the landmark became Otto's Shipwreck Diner during the early '70s. Head to what's not known as Tim’s Shipwreck Diner in Northport in the summer and feast on classic diner fare while sitting out back on the terrace or inside the nautical-themed trailer-style dining room. Family-owned for half a century, Tim’s serves up mimosa flights made with different juices, decadent rice pudding, and heavenly cheese blintzes.
What to order: Cup of grits with cheese and bacon (only available on weekends), and a Nectar Mimosa.
When to go: Go for breakfast on Thursdays when the crowds are thinnest
Recently revamped or renovated locations
Hauppauge Palace Diner (Long Island)
For three decades, this Hauppauge mainstay has been serving up freshly prepared comfort food to the masses. Completely rebuilt in 2003, their extensive menu offers everything from traditional diner fare like Eggs Benedict and pancakes to Greek specialties such as gyros and souvlaki. Gluten-free options are available, as well as fountain milkshakes, pasta, seafood, steaks, and homemade desserts. Hauppauge is the place to go when your appetite strikes!
What to order: A cheeseburger. Toasted buns, ample fries, and a juicy burger. Can’t go wrong with this diner classic.
When to go: Go for lunch! Open Sunday-Thursday from 6 am–2 am and Friday-Saturday 6 am –3 am.
Credit: @howjudiofyou on Instagram
This fully restored 1930s diner is newly opened and ready to serve. Mahogany trim, a barrel-vaulted ceiling, and walls made of porcelain enamel create a cozy, upscale atmosphere, while hearty diner favorites like poutine with fresh cheese curds, and biscuits and gravy satisfy any appetite.
What to order: The meatloaf melt with muenster, red onion, spicy thousand island dressing, on a sourdough bun. Or the Chicken n’ Donuts when it’s on the menu!
When to go: Open seven days a week from 7 am–3 pm.
This circa-1925 diner has moved from Connecticut all the way to Chatham, NY, where owner Dan Rundell spent 12 years restoring it to luster and glory. Stop by for the Hot Mess breakfast featuring a delicious medley of eggs, peppers, onions, ham, cheese, and home fries for breakfast and stick around for lunch!
What to order: A Patty Melt, made with swiss cheese, sauteed onions on grilled rye with pickles, followed by a chocolate sundae.
When to go: Open Monday-Saturday 7 am-2 pm, and Sunday 8 am-12 pm.
Crazy Otto's Empire Diner (Central NY)
“Home of the World’s Largest Omelet,” Crazy Otto’s in Herkimer is a 1952 Mountainview diner with neon lights and lots of counter space. Otto’s has several accolades to its name, but none is quite as unique as the World Record for the “Largest Omelette Pool Table,” where owners created an omelet spanning 2,2128,75 square feet.
What to order: An omelet, obviously! Scotty’s Chili Cheese Dog omelet features diced hot dogs, cheese, and chili. Healthier options are available.
When to go: Open 5 am–4 pm Sunday through Tuesday, and 5 am–9 pm Wednesday to Saturday.
This mom-and-pop eatery in Penn Yan is small but mighty, with five tables and 10 counter seats. Current owners Sean and Carrie Ahearn strive to offer great food and a great experience, and it shows. NYup.com has awarded several accolades to the diner, including the coveted Judges’ Choice Best Diner in Upstate NY, Best Pancakes, Best Home Fries, and Best Atmosphere. The diner itself dates back to 1925, and offers a “retro-licious” vibe to customers. Breakfast is served all day, and daily special dinners make this a must-stop.
What to order: Gluten-friendly pancakes, hot sandwiches, and diner-made pie a la mode!
When to go: Open from 7 am–2 pm, seven days a week On Sundays, breakfast is the only meal served.
Lake Effect Diner (Greater Niagara)
Credit: @brendanmonroe on Instagram
Featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” this 1950s-era diner was lovingly restored by the Curtin Family, and is a Buffalo favorite. The owners source most of their meats, fruits, and veggies from Western New York’s farmers, serving up wholesome and freshly prepared dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Homemade breads, including baguettes, as well as house-smoked and cured meats are available for purchase to take a taste of Lake Effect home.
What to order: The Vegan Eggs Benedict made with dairy-free hollandaise, tofu, vegan bacon, and grilled tomato.
When to go: Open daily from 7 am-10 pm.
Eveready Diner (Hudson Valley)
Two locations, one in Brewster and one in Hyde Park, make this a mainstay for hungry Hudson Valley residents and visitors alike, and scored the diner a mention on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” The menu is filled with recipes handed down from generation to generation, offering everything from street tacos to classic New York Deli-style sandwiches. Expect a 1950s vibe, complete with a jukebox and soda fountain treats.
What to order: Ed’s Famous Malted Waffles with ice cream and whipped cream.
When to go: Sunday-Thursday: 6 am–12 am, and Friday-Saturday, the diner is open all day and all night!
When you reach the level of renown that attracts the one-and-only Guy Fieri to your door, chances are you’re doing something right. Jimmy’s Diner in Brooklyn is a favorite neighborhood stop, offering decadent waffles, spicy empanadas, and mouth-watering burgers. Homemade tater tots, pulled pork hash, and fried okra with chipotle mayo are just some of the unique menu items you’ll find at Jimmy’s.
What to order: The Cornbread Bowl with eggs, cheese, and chopped tomatoes.
When to go: 9 am–10 pm Sunday-Thursday, and 9 am–midnight Friday and Saturday.
Mom & Pop/hometown/local favorite spots
Nestico’s Too (Finger Lakes)
This is the kind of place where regulars hang out, if not for the delicious food, then for the friendly banter with the staff. Owner Marty Richardson and her sister Ana lead the charge in serving up the “Best Central New York Breakfast.” The menu is straightforward, offering omelets and scramblers, pancakes and french toast, waffles, and other classic diner fare. This Syracuse favorite is renowned for its generous portions and friendly service.
What to order: Frittata Nestico’s Style. Made with four eggs, onions, peppers, veggies, pepperoni, homefries, and cheese, it might just fill you up for the day.
When to go: Open Monday-Saturday 6:30 am–2:30 pm and Sunday, 7 am–2:30 pm.
Named after Noon Mark Farm and the eponymous mountain peak in the Adirondacks, this Keene Valley landmark has been serving up unfussy homemade goodness since 1981. Known for their homemade pies, the lengthy menu features everything from eggs and toast to gluten-free breakfast and lunch items. Noon Mark is the perfect stop for hikers, fishermen and women, and anyone who’s up for a great meal before heading out into the great outdoors.
What to order: Gluten-free lasagna or a slide of maple walnut pie. Pick up desserts, baked goods, and pies to bring home!
When to go: Open daily from 6 am–10 pm.
Triangle Diner (Capital-Saratoga)
On Maple Avenue in Saratoga Springs, this unassuming diner offers a cozy atmosphere and down-home cooking. Daily specials, homemade soups, and desserts keep the Capital Region coming back for ample breakfasts and satisfying lunches.
What to order: A homemade ice cream sandwich with whipped cream and strawberries on the side!
When to go: Open daily from 6 am–2 pm.
Rise N Shine Diner (Finger Lakes)
Credit: @risenshinediner on Instagram
All-natural, freshly prepared are the hallmarks of this Syracuse staple. The owner, Danielle Mercuri, shops local and buys from area farms as much as possible to create the breakfast, lunch, and early evening dishes that keep fans coming back for more.
What to order: With six different kinds of Eggs Benedict, you might be tempted to go for the Pork Belly Bacon Benny, but we recommend an order of Banana Foster Croissant French Toast with bananas and pecans caramelized in butter, brown sugar, and rum. If you’re not feeling like dessert disguised as breakfast, the Poppin Stuffed Jalapeno Burger might just be what you’re looking for!
When to go: Open from 6 am–2 pm.
Maureen’s Kitchen (Long Island)
This Smithtown local is the place for homemade cooking that sticks to your ribs and leaves you hooked. A rotating menu of family recipes means that you will find a new favorite every time you visit. Decadent stuffed French Toast, oatmeal made from scratch and baked to perfection, savory egg dishes topped with cheese and, sinfully rich pastries make Maureen—or Mo’s—Kitchen one of the best places to grab breakfast or lunch on Long Island.
What to order: Ricotta pancakes or the crabmeat omelet with scallion, tomato, and lacey Swiss cheese.
When to go: Open 6 am–3 pm weekdays, and 7 am–1:45 pm on weekends.
Located in Jamestown, this colorful diner offers a variety of traditional and non-traditional diner fare. Their dinner menu is extensive, offering everything from lasagna to roast beef platters. Their Italian-themed menu options include pizza, chicken parmesan, and spaghetti and meatballs.
What to order: The Reuben.
When to go: Open Monday-Wednesday from 7 am -3 pm, Thursday and Friday from 7 am -8 pm, and Sunday from 7 am-12pm.
Luncheonettes/ brunch/ breakfast locations
Gracie’s Luncheonette in Leeds (Catskills)
Credit: @gracies_ny on Instagram
Gracie’s is a tucked-away hot spot in Leeds, just a few miles from Interstate 87’s Exit 21. Since 2016, the luncheonette has been grabbing the attention of diners and making headlines for its delicious fare. Routinely acknowledged as one of the best restaurants in the Capital Region, Gracie’s actually started out as a food truck in 2014. Their made-from-scratch menu includes locally sourced products from area farms and purveyors.
What to order: Pimento Cheese Burger with fried green tomato, followed by a donut ice cream sandwich.
When to go: Open 11 am–9 pm Monday and Wednesday-Friday, and 10 am–9 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Base Camp Cafe and Camp Cocktail (Adirondacks)
Tucked away on Main Street in Lake Placid, enjoy Great Camp ambiance in this pocket cafe. Breakfast is served all day, and the menu features items inspired by the Adirondack Mountains, including the Paddler, Trapper, and Angler, all breakfast bagels made with delicious cream cheese blends. A cocktail menu offers more than Mimosas, and includes themed bloody marys, and a beer and wine menu. One of the specialty lattes is a must-order! Our personal favorite is the Fire Tower, which features a blend of cinnamon and cayenne with a caramel swirl.
What to order: Snow Shoe Grilled Cheese. It’s made with brie, cheddar, swiss, and you can add bacon and avocado. Or the 80 Rink, a nod to Lake Placid’s Olympic history, which features tuna salad with chili garlic cream cheese.
When to go: Open daily from 8 am–2 pm.
Rated as one of the best breakfast spots in the state, Koffee Kove is a must-visit for coffee and breakfast lovers everywhere. Sit down for a CITAVO coffee and feast on old-fashioned favorites like Liver and Onions, ale battered shrimp, pancakes, and more.
While the restaurant is not a gluten-free facility, they will do everything they can to accommodate sensitivities.
What to order: The Crabby Patti Eggs Benedict features two handmade crab cakes with homefries.
When to go: Open Sunday from 6 am–2 pm, Tuesday through Saturday from 6 am–8 pm. Closed Mondays.
Grazin' (Hudson Valley)
The Hudson Valley is known for its farm-to-table restaurants, and Grazin’ is one of them. The restaurant serves up local, sustainable, grass-fed and finished, organic, biodynamic, animal welfare-approved dishes with ingredients sourced from the owners farm, Grazin Angus Acres, the first NYC Green Market farm to become Animal Welfare Approved (AWA). The menu is a mouth-watering meander from field to stream that includes burgers, fries, and sandwiches, as well as a full brunch menu.
What to order: Their Challah French Toast is made with a citrus and cinnamon-scented custard. For something more savory, the Breakfast Burger topped with ham, cheese, and an over-easy egg is the way to go.
When to go: Sunday 9 am-6 pm, Monday-Thursday from 12- 8 pm, Friday from 12-9:30 pm, and Saturday 9am-9:30 pm.
West Taghkanic Diner (Hudson Valley)
Credit: @poordevilpepperco on Instagram
The original diner opened in 1953 as one of four such diners, and to this day, it still offers that original 1950’s spirit with a decidedly retro twist. Chef and owner Kristopher Schram is a CIA graduate with a Michelin Star and James Beard Award–winning restaurant pedigree. He was also the force behind the internationally acclaimed Bæst in Copenhagen. Lucky for us, he’s returned stateside to bring his culinary philosophies to Ancram’s finest.
What to order: Northwind Farms Turkey Pot Pie with homemade puff pastry from the dinner menu with a glass of Hudson Standard Raspberry Verbena Shrub.
When to go: Open from 8 am-3:30 pm Thursday. On Friday and Saturday from 8 am-3:30 pm and again at 5 pm-9 pm on Friday, and from 8 am-3:30 pm on Sunday.
The Black Sheep Restaurant and Bar (Greater Niagara)
Credit: @blacksheepbuffalo on Instagram
For farm-to-table dining in downtown Buffalo, visit the Black Sheep Restaurant and Bar. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are used in all dishes on their “global nomad” menu, made by award-winning chefs Steve and Ellen Gedra. Sip a carefully crafted cocktail by the bar or enjoy one with your meal.
What to order: For brunch, we recommend the BS-Griddle, a pancake sandwich with bacon or sausage, egg, cheese, and hash brown. For dinner, start off with the Pierogi with sour cream, followed by the Fried Chicken with chicken gravy, biscuit, green salad, and citrus honey chile vinaigrette.
When to go: Wednesday–Saturday from 5 pm–10 pm and Sunday from 11 am–2 pm.
Phoenicia Diner (Catskills)
Credit: @newyorksherpa on Instagram
Featuring locally sourced ingredients and top-notch dishes, the Phoenicia Diner is a gem in the Catskills. Seating is on a first come, first served basis, so plan accordingly—we promise, even if you do have to wait, it’s worth it! After you’ve indulged at the diner, explore the surrounding Catskill Mountains, any time of the year.
What to order: With breakfast served all day, try the Taco Skillet with scrambled eggs, chorizo, crispy corn tortilla, pico de gallo, crema, refried beans, salsa verde, and queso fresco. For something a little sweeter, get the French Toast with toppings, such as fresh fruit, maple syrup, berry jam, chocolate hazelnut spread, or cream cheese.
When to go: Weekdays from 7 am–5 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 7 am–8 pm, closed Wednesdays.
Hungry? We certainly are. Don’t forget to share your experiences with #ISpyNY and #ILoveNY.