Diners in America were historically small businesses with the owner on the premises. At these establishments you would typically find mostly American cuisine, serving items like burgers, fries, club sandwiches, the monte cristo and several other simple, quick-cook items, and easy on the pocketbook entrees like meatloaf and mac and cheese.

The diner business model exploded after World War II. A Diner was an affordable way of breaking into the restaurant business. Our car culture of the 50’s matched well with diners, where people going to work or play could grab a cheap bite to eat. Fast Food restaurants showed up in the ’70s, which ran many diners out of the business. Fortunately in the Midwest and the Northeast, this tradition is still cherished. Your neighborhood diner is still a great place to enjoy a hot satisfying meal and a hot cup of coffee.

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Diners are also frequently open 24 hours a day. Down south diners like Waffle House are still very popular and found practically everywhere, there are even a couple in Toledo I go to on occasion. There are also Greek Diners that offer specialties like gyros and chicken, beef or lamb souvlaki.

Denny’s is trying to support the diner tradition by retrofitting many of their restaurants, and pricing their value meals at $2, $4, $6 and $8. We were fortunate to experience a revival in the 70’s when many diners built in a retro-type fashion that takes us back to the days when America was a simpler place. Webster’s dictionary actually refers to diners as “a restaurant usually resembling a dining car in shape”.

We cherish the remaining diners in America and our home towns. It’s not fast in and out like fast food places, but a place where you can slow down and enjoy an awesome meal that tastes like it’s home cooked, or a good hot cup of coffee and some apple pie.

These Are the 15 Best Diners Near Lansing, Michigan

I’ve searched for the true remaining best diners in our area and have 15 to recommend. A couple are close to Detroit but most are a short drive from Lansing if they are not right in the area.