10 Best Retro Diners in America for Vintage Lovers

Retro dinner parties are a novelty for those who appreciate all things vintage. There’s something nostalgic about walking into a dining establishment that’s been around since the 1950s or earlier, when the golden age of diners was truly at its height. These continue to exist today and are presented in all their vintage glory in the United States.

The list of top ten retro restaurants that everyone should visit at least once are these, which are perfect for those who appreciate their vintage charm (and great food).

ten Sami’s City Diner in Spenard, Alaska

Sami Town Dinner is family owned and has been a long standing tradition in Spenard, Alaska for quite some time now. With retro 1950s details that are unmistakable from the outside in, Sami’s offers a classic menu as well as Alaskan favorites. If the neon sign doesn’t attract a restaurant, then the soft light shining from inside this 50s style restaurant certainly will. With delicious entrees such as reindeer sausage, chicken and waffles, a number of skillets and a classic chili burger with ‘grandma’s chili’, this menu is sure to warm anyone up with a cold day or night in Alaska.


9 The 59er restaurant in Leavenworth, Washington

If this restaurant sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because it was also featured in an episode of Dinners, drive-ins and dives. However, this retro restaurant had a reputation long before its episode even aired. Not far from the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, this restaurant features a classic menu preceded by incredible decor – which looks like it’s straight out of a 50s kitchen. Diners can opt for a world famous burger or try one of their monster shakes, while surrounded by curtains red checkerboards, decade-accurate cookware and classic Formica tables.

Related: Diner Devotion: Ranking the country’s best dine-in dishes, by popularity

8 The Dutch Mill Diner in Tillamook, Oregon

The Dutch mill restaurant is famous for its burgers, considered the best on the West Coast. Their 50s style decor will surely transport diners to a time and place where things were simpler and diners were the first place to socialize. With a delicious burger, side dish of fries and a classic milkshake or float, it’s impossible not to evoke some serious nostalgia for one of the defining decades of the 20th century.

seven University dinner in Moscow, Idaho

It’s not hard to fall in love with Idaho’s Varsity Diner, especially with a whole array of (homemade!) baked goods like these. Not only is the decor entirely 50s style, but the menu – and the desserts – reflect that iconic flair as well. While many people obsess over its cakes, Finnish pancakes, cinnamon rolls and other local delicacies, the entire menu is everything a person could want in a retro restaurant.

6 Pann is in Los Angeles, California

panns first opened its doors in 1958 and has been serving classic dishes ever since. Not only does this restaurant offer special holiday menus, but it’s a popular LA hangout where locals know they can pick up comfort food and more. If it’s not Googie’s iconic architecture that captures the hearts of diners, it’s sure to be the restaurant’s signature late ’50s style that will.

5 Olympia Diner in Newington, Connecticut

Olympia Dinner is known as the oldest stainless steel restaurant in the United States, giving it another layer of history after it opened in 1954. It’s quite stunning from the outside with steel walls and an iconic neon sign above, and upon entering the restaurant, it’s obvious why it’s so loved by locals and highly rated by tourists. This restaurant doesn’t have to try very hard to be retro, and its menu items speak volumes about its history – there’s nothing here that isn’t delicious.

Related: 10 Sad Photos of Abandoned Diners in the US

4 Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia

Marietta Dinner shows itself in the best way, with spectacular exterior decor that screams retro without even trying. This restaurant was also featured in an episode of Dinners, drive-ins and dives, and it’s easy to see why. Serving classic comfort food alongside Greek delicacies, Marietta Diner has quickly become a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Visitors shouldn’t leave without trying the restaurant’s baklava, which is a favorite with almost everyone.

3 Rock Island Cafe in Honolulu, Hawaii

Located in the heart of Waikiki, rock island cafe is an homage to all of the 1950s, with the perfect diner atmosphere to boot. Nowhere else can diners feel the nostalgia both on and off the menu, while discovering memories that are likely unique to Honolulu. When it comes to retro dining establishments in Hawaii, this is one place visitors to Waikiki won’t want to miss.

2 Oasis Restaurant in Plainfield, IL

What makes that Oasis dinner so unique is in part due to its construction, which includes a steel box classic of many 1950s-style restaurants. The restaurant dates back to that decade and proves it again with its display of 1950s lunch boxes. Inside and out, either seating arrangement is a great way to enjoy a local favorite: Oasis Burger.

1 Restaurant A1 in Gardiner, Maine

As one of the oldest diners on the list, the Dinner A1 dates back to 1946. The interior of this restaurant is just as classic as the exterior, with soft yellow walls, neon signs, retro bar stools, and iconic vinyl booths. With Maine-specific menu items — plus some retro classics — this restaurant has long been a local favorite, and Gardiner tourists are falling in love with it, too.

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