Spirit of America Bookstore

American  Roadside  Diners
and Coffee  Shops

America's Fifties-style roadside diners, drive-ins, and delis still have a nostalgic pull, and many remain
in operation, in small towns and in big cities across America, and are even imitated around the world.

     links to diners, chains & museums          books about diners          image gallery     

     works about burgers & hot dogs          recipes          movies & TV          other media     

the original diners/fast food: Harvey House Restaurants [1875-1968]

online American Diner Museum [est. 1996]
Diner Museum in Rhode Island
'Diner City' online diner directory
'Googie' coffeeshop architecture site
Arts Diner Exhibit [May 2003 to June 2008] at Culinary Archives & Museum in Rhode Island

Dot's Diner [built 1957; restored 1997] in Bisbee, Arizona
O'Rourke's Diner [est. 1941, burned 2006, reopened 2/2007], 728 Main Street in Middletown, CT
Moody's Diner [est. 1927] in Waldoboro, Maine
Directory of Diners in Massachusetts
Agawan Diner [built 1950] in Rowley, Massachusetts   ["the world's best restaurant" per Robert B. Parker]
New England Diners
New Jersey Diners
66 Diner on Old Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ohio Diners
Angie's Circus City Diner [est. 1998], 1312 E. Jackson Street in Hugo, Oklahoma
Smith Street Diner, 438 Battleground Avenue in Greensboro, North Carolina

Diners  in  California
Lido Diner in Newport Beach, California
Bette's Ocean View Diner in Berkeley, California
Save Johnie's Broiler in Downey, California
Save the Crossroads Drive-In in Santa Cruz, California
City Diner #1 on Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, California
City Diner #2 [opening 2/2008] on Monterey Road in San Jose, California
Studio Diner {open 24 hours}, 4701 Ruffin Road in San Diego, California
still has the longtime daily 2+2+2 special and serves Apfel's brand coffee (9/2011)  Rae's Restaurant [diner est. 1958], 2901 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica, California

Corvette Diner, Hillcrest area of San Diego, California        Dinah's Restaurant [est. 1959] in Culver City, California

Margie's Diners in Morro Bay, S.L.O., Atascadero, Paso Robles, Salinas, Monterey, Goleta in California

Diners  Outside  the  U.S.A.
German-language site about American diners
Mel's Diner [est. 1995] in Hanover, Germany
Caddy's Diner in Purmerend, Netherlands

Chain  Diner  &  Coffeeshop  Companies
A & W Restaurants chain [est. 1919] - famous for their draft root beer
Blake's Lotaburger Drive-Ins {75 locations in New Mexico}
Culver's ButterBurgers & Frozen Custard [est. 1984] in Midwest & Texas
Dairy Queen
Huddle House [est. 1964] {almost 400 locations in USA}
Johnny Rockets chain [est. 1986]
Norm's Restaurants chain [est. 1949]
Penny's Diners [at Oak Tree Inn / Lodging Enterprises] {websites parked since 2005}
Ruby's Diner chain [est. 1980]
Sonic: America's Drive-Ins: website locator map
Tommy's Original World Famous Hamburgers [est. 1946; 33 locations]

early Bob's Big Boy logo         recent {not Bob's} Big Boy logo
Big Boy Restaurants, LLC [est. 1934] official website
locations include California, Illinois, Michigan, North Dakota & Ohio in 2016
Znsho has a licensing deal for Big Boy Japan, Inc.

historic Bob's Big Boy Toluca Lake [built 1949], 4211 Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake-Burbank, California
Big Boy Calimesa, 540 Sandalwood Drive in Calimesa (Riverside County), California
Bob's Big Boy Diamond Bar/Walnut [built 1980], 21090 Golden Springs Drive in Diamond Bar, California  { closed 11/2015 }
historic Bob's Big Boy Broiler [built 1958, rebuilt 2009], 7447 Firestone Blvd. in Downey, California
Big Boy Norco, 3521 Hamner Avenue in Norco (Riverside County), California
historic Bob's Big Boy Northridge [built 19??], 8876 Corbin Avenue in Northridge, California
historic Bob's Big Boy Sun Valley [built 19??], 8274 Sunland Blvd. in Sun Valley, California
historic Bob's Big Boy Bismarck [built 1954], 2511 E. Main Avenue in Bismarck, North Dakota

In-N-Out Burger red logo
In-N-Out Burger [est. 1948] official website

In-N-Out Burger Behind-the-Counter Look book by Stacy Perman  "In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-The-Counter Look At The Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All The Rules" [2009] by Stacy Perman
Harper 7¾x5¼ pb [10/2010] for $10.19
Collins Business 8¼x5¾ hardcover [4/2009] for $16.49

logo for Mel's Diners in Florida
Mel's Diners [est. 19??] - five locations in Southwest Florida

Mel's Drive-In (built 1947; closed 1975; demolished 1976) was at 140 So. Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, California
used for many scenes in George Lucas's watershed film "American Graffiti" [1973]
Mel's Drive-In Restaurant [chain est 1947] - 7 locations remaining in San Francisco & Los Angeles

Mel's Diner - setting for the American TV series "Alice" [1976-85]
TV series set in Tucson, actual location: 1747 Grand Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona; open 6 am to 2:30 pm most days
no official website found entry at Wikipedia

Mel's Diner Restaurant [] at Universal City in Hollywood, California
Mel's Drive-In Restaurant [] at Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida

Mel's Diner [est. 1995], Hildesheimer Strae 82, Laatzen in Hanover, Germany

Waffle House sign logo
Waffle House® Restaurants [est. 1955]

"As The Waffle Burns" [] by Jay M Horne

"The Waffle House Experience: A Celebration of 50 Years" [] by Charnae Knight & Pat Warn

Waffle Street Financier book by James Adams   "Waffle Street: The Confession and Rehabilitation of A Financier" [2010]
by James Adams

Author lost his job as a VP on Wall Street in the 2008 Economic Meltdown and found work at a Waffle House 24-hour diner, where he relearned the basic principles of economics, here repeated clearly and simply for everyone.
Kindle Edition from Sourced Media Books [10/2010] for $9.99
Sourced Media Books 8½x5½ pb [8/2011] for $11.69
Sourced Media Books 8½x5½ pb [10/2010] out of print/used

Books  About  Diners,  Coffee Shops,  and  Delis

Diners paintings by John Baeder  "Diners" [1978]
paintings by photo-realist John Baeder

Harry N. Abrams 8¾x11½ pb [2/95] for $19.95
John Baeder posters
"Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture" [1986]
by Alan Hess

Chronicle Books 7½x10 pb [2/86] out of print/used
Architecture of American Chain Restaurants  "Orange Roofs, Golden Arches: The Architecture of American Chain Restaurants" [1986] by Philip Langdon
Knopf pb [5/86] out of print/used
Knopf hardcover [5/86] out of print/used
Diners Then & Now book by Richard J.S. Gutman  "American Diner: Then and Now" [1993]
by Richard J.S. Gutman

Johns Hopkins Univ Press 7¼x9¼ pb [11/2000] for $11.97
Dining By Rail / Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine book by James D. Porterfield  "Dining By Rail: The History and Recipes of America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine" [1993 classic] by James D. Porterfield
St. Martin's Griffin 9x7 pb [5/98] for $15.63
St. Martin's Press 9x6½ hardcover [1993] out of print/many used
The American Diner / American Car Culture book by Michael Karl Witzel  "The American Diner: History and Folklore of The Drive-in Restaurant In American Car Culture" [1994] by Michael Karl Witzel
Motorbooks Intl 10½x10½ hardcover [9/94] out of print/50+ used
Motorbooks Intl 10½x10½ hardcover [9/94] out of print/used
Car Hops History book by Jim Heimann  "Car Hops and Curb Service: A History of American Drive-In Restaurants, 1920-1960"
[1996] by Jim Heimann

Chronicle Books 11x8½ pb [4/96] out of print/used
People & Places   "Diners: People & Places" [1998]
by Gerd Kittel

Thames & Hudson 8¼x9¼ pb [8/98] for $12.57
Hometown Diners book by Robert O. Williams  "Hometown Diners" [1999]
by Robert O. Williams

Harry N Abrams 10x10¼ hardcover [4/99] for $29.95
The American Diner book by Michael Karl Witzel  "The American Diner" [1999] by Michael Karl Witzel
Motorbooks Intl 10x10 pb [3/2006] out of print/used
Motorbooks Intl 10x10 pb [3/2002] out of print/many used
Crestline Books 10¾x10¾ hardcover [2/2012] for $14.99
Motorbooks Intl 10¼x10¼ hardcover [4/99] out of print/40+ used
Diners Retro book edited by Alison Moss  
"Diners: American Retro" [2000]
Edited by Alison Moss

Sourcebooks 6¾x6½ hardcover [10/2000] for $10.36
Cafes & Coffee Shops book by Martin Pegler  "Cafes & Coffee Shops" [1995 & 2001]
by Martin Pegler

Volume 1: R.R.B.PUB 12½x9½ hardcover [6/95] out of print/used
Volume 2: Watson-Guptill 12¼x9½ hardcover [12/2001] out of print/used
Diners, Bowling Alleys & Trailer Parks  "Diners, Bowling Alleys and Trailer Parks: Chasing The American Dream In Postwar Consumer Culture" [2001] by Andrew Hurley
Basic Books 8x5 pb [2/2002] for $17.95
Basic Books 8½x6 hardcover [2/2001] out of print
From The Dining Car / Greatest Rail Dining Experiences book by James D. Porterfield  "From The Dining Car: The Recipes and Stories Behind Today's Greatest Rail Dining Experiences - More than 200 Recipes & Reflections From North America's Greatest Trains" [2004] by James D. Porterfield
St. Martin's Press 9x7¾ hardcover [11/2004] out of print/used
Googie Redux  "Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture" [2004]
by Alan Hess

Chronicle Books 11x8½ pb [11/2004] for $16.97
Classic American Diners / Postcards & Matchcovers  "Classic American Diners: Collectible Postcards & Matchcovers"
[2007] by Don Preziosi

Schiffer Publng 8¾x11¼ hardcover [2/2007] for $31.96
Vanishing America photo book by Michael Eastman  "Vanishing America: The End of Main Street Diners, Drive-Ins, Donut Shops & Other Everyday Monuments" [2008] by Michael Eastman
Rizzoli 9½x9½ hardcover [4/2008] for $26.37
author's official website {parked 8/2008}>
Save the Deli / Heart of Jewish Delicatessen book by David Sax  "Save The Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and The Heart of Jewish Delicatessen" [2009] by David Sax
Kindle Edition from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt [10/2009] for $8.49
Mariner Books 8x5¼ pb [10/2010] for $11.57
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 8½x5¾ hardcover [10/2009] out of print/120+ used
author's official website {parked 2013} official booksite/blog {last update 2/2012}
Roadfood Coast-To-Coast Guide Revised & Updated book by Jane Stern & Michael Stern  "Roadfood: The Coast-To-Coast Guide To 800 of The Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More"
[orig 2005, rev 2011] by Jane & Michael Stern

Kindle Edition from Random House/Clarkson Potter [5/2011] for $13.99
Clarkson Potter Revised & Updated 9x6 pb [5/2011] for $14.95
Broadway Books '700' edition 9x6 pb [4/2008] out of print/many, many used
Broadway Books '600' edition 9x6 pb [4/2005] out of print/many, many used

"Classic Diners of Connecticut" [10/2013] by Garrison Leykam
"Classic Diners of Massachusetts" [] by Larry Cultrera
"The History of Diners in New Jersey" [] by Michael C. Gabriele

Image  Gallery

Stan's Drive-In Coffee Shop at Sunset & Highland in Hollywood, California, March 1958         Mickey's Dining Car at 36 Seventh Street West in St. Paul, MN

Works  About  Hamburgers  &  Hot Dogs

Hamburger Heaven  "Hamburger Heaven: The Illustrated History of The Hamburger" [1993]
by Jeffrey Tennyson

Hyperion Books 11x8½ pb [3/95] out of print/used
Hyperion Books hardcover [9/93] out of print/used
Burger Town  "Burger Town: The Mouthwatering Story of America's Favorite Food"
[Scott Ent. 1997]

Directed by Gary Licker & Dan Linck not listed on IMDb
Scott Ent. 48-minute color DVD [7/2008] for $14.95


"Taste This!: Great American Burger Joints" [Feb 2012] /tt2203311/

"Hamburger America" [] by George Motz DVD $12.99

see also the Spirit of America Bookstore's Nostalgic Food Traditions Page / Hot Dogs & Hamburgers Section

Books  of  Diner  Recipes

American Diner Cookbook by Elizabeth McKeon & Linda Everett  "The American Diner Cookbook: Celebrating An American Tradition - More Than 450 Delicious Recipes & Nostalgia Galore" [1996]
cookbook by Elizabeth McKeon & Linda Everett

Cumberland House 9x6¾ pb [2/2003] for $16.95
Retro Diner cookbook  "Retro Diner: Comfort Food from the American Roadside" [2002]
cookbook by Linda Everett

Collectors Press pb [10/2002] for $16.95
Retro Breakfast / Recipes  "Retro Breakfast: Memorable Meals Morning, Noon, or Night" [2004]
cookbook by Linda Everett & Richard Perry

Collectors Press 8¼x9 hardcover [4/2004] out of print/used
More Retro Diner / Recipes  "More Retro Diner: A Second Helping of Roadside Recipes" [2005]
cookbook by Randy Garbin & Teri Dunn

Collectors Press 8¼x9 hardcover [9/2005] for $11.53

Movies  &  TV  About  Diners

"Night Waitress" [R.K.O. Radio Pictures Dec 1936]
Night Waitress 1936 movie  A young woman on probation goes back to work as a waitress at a San Francisco waterfront dive. The various low characters and ex-rum runners are after a mysterious, valuable hidden 'cargo', and when violence erupts, the girl finds herself innocently involved and soon on the run from both cops and crooks. Location filming at San Francisco & San Pedro, California; directed by Lew Landers written by Marcus Goodrich & Golda Draper; starring Margot Grahame, Gordon Jones, Vinton Hayworth, Marc Lawrence, Billy Gilbert, Don 'Red' Barry, Otto Yamaoka, Paul Stanton, Arthur Loft, Walter Miller, Ernie Adams, Willie Best, Mozelle Britton, Grace Cunard, Frank Faylen, Jerry Frank, George Lloyd, George Magrill, Richard Miller, Charles Murphy, Anthony Quinn {film debut}, Tom Quinn, Dick Rush, Max Wagner
VHS/DVD/Blu-ray not available full credits at IMDb movie entry at Wikipedia

"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
[Warner Bros. Dec 1974]
Alice  A 'watershed' movie: the writer/director and main actors were all unknowns and went on to greater fame afterward. A newly-widowed mother pulls up stakes and heads to California to resume a singing career; she gets a job singing at a bar in Phoenix, but the man she takes up with is married and abusive; a new job as a waitress in Tucson leads to romance with a gentle farmer. Directed by Martin Scorsese; starring Ellen Burstyn, Alfred Lutter III, Billy Green Bush, Harvey Keitel, Diane Ladd, Vic Tayback, Valerie Curtin, Kris Kristofferson & Jodie Foster {then age 12}; won Oscar for Best Actress (EB), nominated for Best Script, Best Supporting Actress (DL); won 4 BAFTA Awards of 7 noms
Warner Home Video widescreen color DVD [8/2004] for $17.99
Warner color VHS [2/96] out of prodn/many used
full credits from IMDb

"Waitress!" [Troma Ent. Sept 1982]
ultra-low-budget 'Waitress!' movie from Troma  Not really about diners, each nonsensical scene is merely an excuse to film waitresses or semi-naked girls trying to get parts in movies and stageplays; many restaurant & kitchen scenes filmed at Marty's Restaurant in Manhattan Co-produced & co-directed by Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman; co-written by Charles Kaufman & Michael Stone full credits at IMDb
Troma Releasing Director's Cut color DVD [7/2001] out of prodn/used
watch full movie [1:27:50] online at YouTube

"Diner" [M.G.M. March 1982]
Diner movie  Another 'watershed' movie: director and unknown actors went on to become major stars Written & directed by Barry Levinson; starring Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly, Ellen Barkin & Michael Tucker; WGA & Oscar noms for Best Screenplay
Warner widescreen color DVD [4/2002] for $12.99
Warner color VHS [4/2001] for $14.95
Elektra/Asylum soundtrack CD [6/89] for $11.98
full credits from IMDb
half-hour tv series pilot [1983]: credits from IMDb
Three Screenplays: "Avalon", "Diner", "Tin Men" [1990]
Atlantic Monthly Press 8¼x5½ pb [11/90] for $10.36

"Bagdad Cafe" aka 'Out of Rosenheim'
[Germany April 1988]
Bagdad Cafe  Co-written & directed by Percy Adlon; starring Marianne Sgebrecht,
CCH Pounder, Jack Palance, Christine Kaufmann & Monica Calhoun
MGM/UA widescreen DVD [7/2001] for $17.98
MGM/UA color VHS [3/2000] out of stock/used
Great Jones soundtrack CD [10/90] for $11.98
full credits from IMDb
tv series [1990]: credits from IMDb

"Mystic Pizza"
[Oct 1988] /tt0095690/

"Mystic Pizza: An Original Screenplay" [1987] by Perry Howze

"Gas, Food, Lodging"  [July 1992] /tt0104321/
filmed in Deming & Las Cruces, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona; based on the novel "Don't Look and It Won't Hurt" [] by Richard Peck

"The Spitfire Grill"  [Castle Rock Aug 1996]
Spitfire  Written & directed by Lee David Zlotoff; starring Alison Elliott, Ellen Burstyn,
Marcia Gay Harden, Will Patton & Kieran Mulroney
Castle Rock widescreen DVD [11/2001] for $13.48
Castle Rock color VHS [9/99] for $19.98
Sony soundtrack CD [8/96] for $11.98
full credits from IMDb

"The Blue Diner"  [independent April 2001]
Blue Diner movie  On her 26th birthday, a Latina loses the ability to speak Spanish. She argues with her mother (janitor at a museum), feels caught between two admirers (one Latino, one Irish), and misses her father (gone since childhood) – issues dealt with at the Blue Diner, run by Papo (from Cuba) Co-written & directed by Jan Egleson; co-written by Natatcha Estbanez; starring Lisa Vidal, Miriam Colon, Jose Yenque & William Marquez
First Look Pictures color DVD [6/2003] for $9.98
First Look Pictures color VHS [6/2003] out of prodn/used
full credits from IMDb

"American Waitress, New Mexico"  [video release 2002]
American Waitress, New Mexico documentary  66-minute documentary shot around Albuquerque and Santa Fe, featuring waitresses Lilian Beams, Sonya Fairbanks, Sherry McElwain, and Karen Webb
Co-produced, written & directed by Vanessa Vassar; music by Vassar's band Phonoroid
Backseat Prodns color DVD-R [4/2009] for $19.99
Amazon Instant Video [4/2009] rental $4.99, purchase $14.99
full credits at IMDb

"Empire Falls"  [H.B.O. May 2005]
  Empire Falls 2-part mini-series on H.B.O.  Three-hour 2-part mini-series; the life/story of the manager of the Empire Grill diner in the fictional town of Empire Falls, Maine Co-exec-produced by Marc Platt; co-exec-produced & directed by Fred Schepisi; teleplay by Richard Russo, based on his Pulitzer-winning novel; starring Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman {also co-exec-producer}, Robin Wright, Aidan Quinn, Joanne Woodward, Dennis Farina, William Fichtner, Estelle Parsons, Theresa Russell, Kate Burton, Trevor Morgan & Danielle Panabaker; Paul Newman won Primetime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor and S.A.G. Award for Best Actor, series nominated for D.G.A. Award & 9 other Emmys
H.B.O. Home Video widescreen color DVD [9/2005] 2 disks for $9.99
H.B.O. Home Video widescreen color DVD [10/2012] for $12.99
full credits at IMDb H.B.O. official movie site

Pulitzer-winning Empire Falls novel by Richard Russo  "Empire Falls: A Novel" [2001] by Richard Russo
won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Kindle Edition from Random House Digital [11/2011] for $11.99
Vintage 8x5 pb [4/2002] for $10.20
Knopf 9½x6¼ deckle-edge hardcover [5/2001] for $35.00
book entry at Wikipedia

"Waitress" feature film  [Fox Searchlight May 2007]
Waitress movie poster  A romantic comedy-fantasy about a waitress who bakes wonderful pies, is unhappily married to a brute, and gets the hots for her handsome married obstetrician Written & directed by and starring Adrienne Shelly [1966-2006]; also starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, Eddie Jemison & Lew Temple; listed #9 on TIME Top Ten Best Movies of The Year (12/2007)
Fox widescreen color DVD [11/2007] for $5.99
Fox color DVD [11/2007] for $12.96
full credits from IMDb official movie site movie entry at Wikipedia
watch official trailer [1/2014 upload; 2:25] online at YouTube

"Waitress: The Musical" Broadway stageplay [April 2016 to present]
preview poster for 'Waitress' Broadway Musical  Based on the hit 2007 movie, with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, book by Jessie Nelson, direction by Diane Paulus; out-of-town previews in 2015 in Cambridge, MA; 33 previews on Broadway, opened April 2016, with almost 700 performances by end of 2017; national touring company began October 2017; nominated for 4 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards starring Jessie Mueller, Sara Bareilles, Stephanie Torns & Betsy Wolfe as Jenna; John Cullum, Benny Elledge, Christopher Fitzgerald, Caitlin Houlahan, Jason Mraz, Will Swenson, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Victoria Collett
watch video of full performance starring Jessie Mueller [2:14:35] at YouTube
listen to OCR playlist of 22 songs [7/2016 upload] at YouTube
credits at Internet Broadway Database official website
Songs From Waitress album by Sara Bareilles on CD  "What's Inside: Songs From Waitress" [2015]
by Sara Bareilles

Epic Records music CD [11/2015] 12 tracks for $8.93
Epic Records MP3 music album download [11/2015] 12 tracks for $10.99
Waitress Original Broadway Cast Recording album on CD  "Waitress: Original Broadway Cast Recording" [2016] starring Jessie Mueller
D.M.I. Soundtracks music CD [7/2016] 22 tracks for $14.99
D.M.I. Soundtracks MP3 music album download [6/2016] 22 tracks for $11.49

"Tupelo 77" [still in development 2016-2018]  
Announced 1/2012: About a group of woman of varied ages & races who frequent a roadside diner in small-town
Mississippi in the hot summer of 1977, just as Elvis Presley tragically dies; together the women struggle to overcome
poverty, racial & religious differences, and 'the wounds of war'; produced by Bob Crowe & Sean Hewitt,
written by Richard Mancuso; to be directed by Julie Dash latest info at IMDb

Other  Media

here on the American Roadside Diners Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

top of page          links to diners, chains & museums          books about diners          image gallery     

works about burgers & hot dogs          recipes          movies & TV          other media

Route 66 links page             Route 66 books pages

Sprit of America Bookstore's American Food Traditions Page
top of page Food Traditions Links & Books Barbecue Dept. Candy Dept. Coca-Cola® Dept.
Hot Dogs & Hamburgers Dept. Ice Cream Dept. Popcorn Dept. Soda Pop Dept. Nostalgic Cookery

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