Diner Food Makes a Comeback

October 2016

The American diner has been around for more than 140 years, and its classic, comforting cuisine is seeing a recent resurgence. These local “greasy spoons” create a sense of community and often inspire emotional dining experiences for patrons across the nation.

One of the most exciting things about diner food is that it isn’t specific to one type of cuisine. Chefs can put twists on classic dishes, and they have the freedom to experiment with many flavorful foundations. The two keys to creating a diner-themed dish or menu are nostalgia and comfort.

The popularity of TV shows like “Diners,” “Drive-Ins” and “Dives” shows that Americans have an increasing interest in locally owned restaurants with a sense of community.

Though the types of foods you find in diners aren’t always the healthiest, there’s a way to add a better-for-you twist without sacrificing flavor. Use turkey in place of pork or beef for a great-tasting ingredient substitute. Try these diner-themed recipes:

  • Turkey Patty Melt: Ground turkey stars in this comforting burger topped with honey-bourbon peppered bacon, beer-basted onions and ooey-gooey Muenster cheese. Serve with a side of French fries for a craveable lunch or dinner offering.
  • Turkey Meatloaf: This filling center-of-plate pick is made with turkey instead of ground beef for less fat and fewer calories. Serve with house-made gravy and a side of mashed potatoes for an instant diner favorite.
  • Turkey Club: You can’t go wrong with a turkey club. Piled with All Natural Pecan Wood Smoked Turkey Breast and crisp turkey bacon, it’s a must-have for the sandwich menu.

Find recipes for your diner-themed menu special and more in our Culinary Center.


Inamine, Elyse. “The Diner Things in Life,” Tasting Table. July 6, 2016.

Levine, Ed. “Why Diners Are More Important than Ever,” Serious Eats.

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