Nebraska has some pretty amazing restaurants, but if you’re looking for no-frills, down-home, pretension-free cooking, a diner is your best bet. There are tons of them all throughout the state – here are just a few of Nebraska’s favorites, listed in alphabetical order.
1. 11-Worth Cafe, Omaha
The 11-Worth is the very definition of a greasy spoon joint. It's cheap, it's greasy, it's tasty, and the servers are a charming mix of friendly and snarky. It's packed on the weekends, but there's no better cure for a hangover.
2. Amato's, Omaha
When making restaurant lists I try to limit myself to only a few selections from Omaha since there's so much more Nebraska to cover, and it was tough narrowing it down to just two Omaha places. But Amato's is the long-standing classic that serves some of the most amazing breakfast you'll ever eat, with pancakes the size of your head and great coffee. The ambiance is uncomplicated and you'll always feel at home.
3. Deb's Diner, Bakery & Donuts, Gothenburg
Come to Deb's in the morning for some tasty pastries, or come in for lunch or dinner for some of your home-cooked favorites. Chicken fried steak, pork chops, burgers...it's all delicious.
4. Barb's Diner, Burwell
Barb's has a fun atmosphere with all kinds of retro decorations and memorabilia lining the walls. You can count on this place for some solid, old-fashioned meals. Be sure to try a milkshake while you're there!
5. Cook's Cafe, Lincoln
Skip the chain restaurants when you're looking for a hearty breakfast in Lincoln and head to Cook's for some genuinely great grub. It may look like a bit of a dive from the outside, but inside it's nothing but friendly, homey, and delicious. Try the heavenly biscuits and gravy next time you stop in.
6. Donna's Diner, Wynot
Donna's is the quintessential small-town restaurant, complete with a convenience store and liquor store built right in. There's a nice kids' area for the little ones to play in while you wait for your food.
7. Green Top Diner, Friend
If you're looking for a meal that's a lot like what you'd make at home (only better), The Green Top is there for you. From burgers to reubens to addictive caramel pecan cinnamon rolls, this place is all about filing up hungry bellies for not much money.
8. Hi-Way Diner, Lincoln
Well, hellooooo beautiful. This place is a no-frills, 24/7 diner with inexpensive comfort food, charming, decor, and fast service. The chicken fried steak is a definite must-try.
9. Hilltop Inn, Ogallala
The Hilltop Inn is just what the doctor ordered to refuel after those long days on Lake McConaughy. The menu is full of your favorites like chicken fried steak, homemade onion rings, and fresh fish. But the real star of the show may be the amazing lake view from the restaurant's windows.
10. Homestead Diner, Alliance
We do love our chicken fried steak here in Nebraska, and the Homestead Diner does not disappoint with theirs. There's also plenty of other standard diner fare to fill up your hungry belly. The friendly staff is a big bonus.
11. Lincoln Highway Diner, North Platte
Whether you stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you'll always find something delicious on the menu. I always associate diners with breakfast, and their gigantic pancakes and crispy hash browns are enough to make you want to eat here every morning.
12. Mel's Diner, Fremont
This is a classic diner with all of the trappings of a classic diner: the chrome, the neon, the funky wall decor, the personable wait staff, and the delicious homestyle food.
13. The Diner, Kimball
Whether you're traveling through or live in the area, The Diner is a must-try. It's exactly what a diner should be: inexpensive, tasty, and friendly. They're open from 6 am to 8 pm every day, so they've got all three meals covered if you just really don't feel like cooking today.
14. Tommy's Restaurant, Grand Island
Tommy's is open 24 hours, so feeding that hash brown craving at 3 am is not a problem. You'll get hearty midwestern meals here any time of the day or night.
We’ve only just scratched the surface here…Nebraska is bursting at the seams with amazing diners. If you don’t see your favorite, add it to the list in the comments!