The restaurant is as much a part of the American experience as baseball and the SUV. Sure, they serve more grease than a garage, but there’s nothing like the convenience of pulling up a chair in a classic restaurant after a long car ride.
So grab a napkin or two and come with us as we explore 7 American diners to eat before you die. That is unless, of course, eating there kills you first.
1. Hillbilly hot dogs: Lesage, WV
Straight out of an RV park cliché, this West Virginia hot dog spot is down to earth and down to earth food. The husband and wife team Sonny and Sharie (not to be confused with Sonny and Cher) run the grill and bring you some of the tastiest dogs you’ve ever gotten your teeth in.
Go big or go home, we say. Order the “Junk Yard Dog,” a fully clothed little dog loaded with homemade chili sauce, mustard, onions, seasoning, salad, kraut, jalapeños, BBQ sauce and some scrumptious nacho cheese.
For the more adventurous, there’s the 15 “” Home Wrecker hot dog. Take out this beast in 12 minutes or less and you’ll walk away with a free Hillbilly Hotdogs t-shirt (not to mention a few extra pounds on your frame).
2. Mac & Ernie’s Roadside Eatery: Tarpley, Texas
Nothing but a wooden shack perched in a small town parking lot, you probably wouldn’t think twice about stopping by this South Texas restaurant. That is until you taste the food.
Walk to the ordering window, make your selection, and let Chef Naylene bring her culinary masterpieces to life. Choose from crispy tacos, grilled pork tenderloin, or even swordfish slathered with capers and olive butter. You won’t believe such great food can come out of the tiny 10 ‘X 16’ kitchen.
For burger lovers, the Mac & Ernie’s Cabrito burger is a must-see hit. People come a long way to enjoy juicy ranch-raised beef topped with Bermuda onions on a freshly baked bun. Gastronomic simplicity at its finest.
3. Eveready Diner: Hyde Park, New York
About the only thing bigger than the Eveready Diner menu is the gigantic portions they serve. Arrive at any moment and you will be greeted by the salivating aroma of freshly baked bread, pastries and old-fashioned cakes. Everything here is made from scratch. Hell, even the apples for apple pie are grown in the backyard.
For breakfast go with the Corned Beef Hash or Chevy Nova Omelet, 3 Loaded Eggs with Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon and Onions. If you’re going for lunch or dinner, order the chicken parm to die for, then cut the fat with a three-tablespoon chocolate milk shake. Go ahead and drink it as hard as you want.
4. Frank’s Diner: Kenosha, WI
Locals call this self-service restaurant a historic landmark; And once you taste the food, you will put it next to Mount Rushmore and the Washington Monument as well. Yes, it is just that good.
Breakfast is king at Frank’s; with the mammoth pancakes, freshly baked bread and hearty omelettes dominating the menu. And if there is a king among kings to name, Frank’s famous “junk dishes” certainly take the title: 5 eggs, grilled with fries, cheese, ham, bacon, and sausage. Simply put, royal treatment on a plate.
5. Baby Blues BBQ: Venice, CA
Grab a bib and get ready for authentic southern cuisine, in the heart of California. This is simply the tastiest soul food you’ll find west of the Mississippi, all of you.
Soak up the Memphis-style rib bone drop, savor a slow-smoked pork sandwich, or simply indulge in the nearly endless selection of classic Southern sides. Baked beans, neck veggies, sweet potatoes, fresh cornbread, and all the other usual suspects are here and they’re delicious. Almost the only part of the South missing here is General Robert E. Lee.
6. Triple XXX Restaurant: West Lafayette, Indiana
Don’t let the name Triple XXX fool you, this Hoosier State burger joint serves food appropriate to any audience. Grab 1/3 LB of 100% fresh ground sirloin, top with melted cheddar cheese and fresh grilled onions, toss it on a toasted sesame seed roll, and you’ve got one of America’s tastiest meals between two scones.
Enjoy it with Triple XXX’s Homemade Potato Salad or hearty chili made from scratch, then finish with an old-fashioned root beer soda. Halter.
7. Chef Point Cafe: Watuga, Texas
Part gas station, part dining room, the motto here is fill outside, fill inside.
Once your tank has been filled, sit down at a table and prepare for one of the greatest adventures your taste buds have ever seen. From freshly made pastas to drool-worthy burgers, Chef Point has you covered. Seafood is the star here, with the blackened catfish, perfectly crispy crab cakes, and hearty lobster bisque (complete with a bowl of handmade bread) stealing the show.
If it’s still nearly empty (we highly doubt it), fill yourself to the brim with a gallon or two of homemade bread pudding in a spicy cognac sauce. We guarantee you won’t have to eat again for miles.
Have an “eat-before-you-die American restaurant” of your own? Go ahead and share it with us, we are always hungry for more.