A diner is much more than a place to grab a bite; it’s also a cultural icon. A great diner dishes up comfort food with a side of nostalgia. So next time you’re craving stick-to-your-ribs American food, head to one of these 13 down-home diners in New Mexico.
1. WOW Diner, 1300 Motel Drive, Milan
WOW Diner has all the 1950s style you could want and serves typical American fare like milkshakes, and burgers with chunky onion rings. But the menu also includes less standard items like beer and wine along with lobster dishes.
2. Penny’s Diner, 1005 Highway 285, Vaughn
In addition to burgers, this out-of-the-way diner offers a good selection of sandwiches. Portions are generous and, if you score a spot at the counter, you can watch your food being cooked.
3. Route 66 Diner, 1405 Central Avenue NE,Albuquerque
The Route 66 Diner doesn’t just evoke the 1950s; it transports you there. The decorating theme is black and white checkerboard with pops of teal, the servers wear retro uniforms, and a massive collection of Pez dispensers is lined up on a shelf just below the ceiling. Definitely come here if you’re a milkshake fan – there’s an entire section of menu devoted to them. Flavors run the gamut from The Elvis (peanut butter and banana) to Pink Cadillac (strawberry ice cream with Oreos).
4. Fina’s Diner, 2298 Highway 17, Chama
Old Coca-Cola signs adorn this locals’ hangout, which has a decidedly kitschy feel. Whether you roll up for breakfast burritos or chicken fried steak, make sure your pants have an elasticated waistband!
5. No Whiner Diner,
1801 S Canal Street,
If you like a little wit with your meal, check out the No Whiner Diner. The proprietors’ humor extends beyond the restaurant’s name. The text beneath the Rocky Mountain oysters reads: “you have to have “cajones” for this one.” That’s almost enough to make me order it. The NWD is known for its sandwiches but, if you’re seeking something more down-home, try the meat loaf and one of the massive root beer floats.
6. Kix on 66, 1102 E Route 66 Boulevard, Tucumcari
Kix on 66 is just what you’d expect from a diner. It's decked in memorabilia and the menu is mostly classic American, at affordable prices. As an added bonus, pets are welcome on the patio and can order from their own Canine Cuisine menu.
7. Route 66 Railway Café,
2150 E Historic Highway 66,
You can also indulge in Route 66 nostalgia at the opposite side of New Mexico, in Gallup. The restaurant’s name says “café,” but it feels like a diner and serves both American and Mexican cuisine (the salsa is delish). It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but give it a shot – you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.
8. Big Daddy’s Diner,
1705 James Canyon Highway, Cloudcroft
Come to Big Daddy’s Diner if you want to kick back and relax; it’s homey in a woodsy kind of way. Burgers, BBQ, and homemade pie. What more could you want?
9. Yesterday’s Diner, 612 W Main Street, Red River
Yesterday’s Diner is decidedly retro. The décor is fun and vibrant and the menu provides a nod to the 1950s with dishes named after characters from “Grease,” “Happy Days,” “I Love Lucy,” and “The Addams Family.” Breakfast is excellent, especially the biscuits and gravy.
10. Taos Diner I, 908 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, Taos
Taos Diner II
216 Paseo del Pueblo Sur
Suite B, Taos
This is not your average diner; the burgers here are made with grass-fed beef. This restaurant is popular enough to support two locations in a town as small as Taos, which tells you something about the quality of the food - particularly breakfast.
11. Old Town Restaurant, 1155 S Valley Drive,
The booths and amount of vinyl in Old Town Restaurant give it diner status. It’s something of a diamond in the rough and the menu covers food from both sides of the border. Whether you pick the huevos rancheros or an omelette, you’re sure to leave satisfied. (Pay with cash.)
12. Dad’s Diner, 4395 Largo Street, Farmington
Dad’s Diner definitely captures the essence of the 1950s, with checkerboard floors and plenty of chrome. Although the restaurant is on the small side, the servings are gargantuan so it’s good value for money. Try the chicken fried steak.
13. Waffle and Pancake Shoppe, 950 S White Sands Boulevard, Alamogordo
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant is the place to go for breakfast in Alamogordo. It’s filled with locals, lured here by the waffles and fluffy, pecan pancakes.