Whether you prefer modern fine dining, complete with candlelit ambiance and linen napkins, or you prefer a casual sort of place that reminds you of home, it’s not hard to find whatever your heart (and stomach) desires in Idaho. The Gem State is home to countless incredible restaurants, each with its own unique personality and mouthwatering eats to match. But when it comes to warm, stick-to-your-ribs country style cooking, classic diners, mom and pop restaurants, and quaint cafes are the way to go! While pinning down what classifies a true “diner” was a definite challenge, here are 10 favorite local diners, drive-ins, and dives that will send your tastebuds straight back to your momma’s kitchen.
1. Dixie's Diner, Idaho Falls
For all the '50s goodness you can shake a poodle skirt at, plus friendly service, incredible shakes, and delicious eats that go beyond the standard burger and fries, Dixie's is a win on all counts. Don't forget to stick a quarter in the tabletop jukebox!
Address: 2150 Channing Way. Idaho Falls, ID 83404
2. Rusty Lantern Diner, Ucon
This charming, cute-as-a-button gem is as far from a greasy spoon as one can get-- and you'll absolutely love it. Homemade bread is baked fresh daily alongside mouthwatering desserts that rotate regularly as well, including various cobblers, bread puddings, cinnamon rolls, and pies. YUM!
Address: 10868 N. Yellowstone Hwy. Ucon, Idaho
3. Jimmy's Down the Street, Coeur d'Alene
Jimmy's has been making quite a name for itself lately, first with an appearance on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, and then being voted the best diner in Idaho by multiple big-name publications. But the fame hasn't changed a thing; everything at Jimmy's is still homemade, massively portioned, creative, and outrageously good, whether a simply plate of chili cheese fries or a plate-sized sticky bun.
Address: 1613 E Sherman Ave. Coeur D Alene, ID 83814
4. Ole's Diner, Sugar City
Home of the Triple Bypass Challenge and world famous tots that go with everything, Ole's is a must-stop on your way to Rexburg for some incredible food and even better conversation.
Address: 18 N. Austin Ave. Sugar City, Idaho
5. Terri's Cafe, Meridian
For outrageously delicious breakfasts, sandwiches, and true downhome cooking that will make you fall in love with food all over again, Terri's is a delightfully un-dinerlike spot in the heart of Meridian. Fresh potato hashbrowns, homemade biscuits and gravy, sausage, and just about everything else will make your stomach one happy camper!
Address: 2483 E. Fairview Ave. Ste. 105 Meridian, ID 83642
6. Shorty's Diner, Hailey
Delightfully retro and decorated in a rock-around-the-clock Happy Days style, this cozy diner in Hailey is often labeled as having the best breakfasts in town. But the fun, comfortable restaurant also offers throwback corn cakes, skillets, and orange freezes, among traditional diner eats.
Address: 126 S Main St A., Hailey, ID 83333
7. Wayback Cafe, Lewiston
This throwback joint features so many vintage cars that you might just faint with nostalgic glee, but you'll have to pull yourself together to enjoy the full deliciousness of a Ricky Ricardo burger, buffalo chips, or one of Wayback's famous banana splits.
Address: 2138 13th Ave. Lewiston, ID 83501
8. Wrangler Drive-In, Fairfield
Unexpected but oh-so-good, Wrangler Drive-In will lasso your heart with their chocolate malts, massive selection of made-to-order burgers, and retro video games waiting eagerly to transport you back a few decades.
Address: 105 W Hwy 20. Fairfield, ID 83327
9. Hawkins Pac-Out, Boise
Repeatedly ranked as one of the valley's best burgers but just about as far from a greasy, rundown diner as you can get, this hidden gem is renowned for the Herbie Burger, made to order and served on an Idaho-worthy potato bun, with amazing fry sauce on the side to dip and dunk your fries in to your heart's content. But beware... once their fresh fruit milkshakes come in season, you'll never want to leave!
Address: 2315 N Bogus Basin Rd. Boise, ID 83702
10. The Burg, Rexburg
Editor's Note: As of April 2018, The Burg has permanently closed. See what they did there? This cleverly-named burger joint in Rexburg may cater to the college crowd on most nights, but their above the rim shakes and unique flavors are mind-blowing, to say the least. But for those who are craving a little more meat with their "burg," try the Triple Burg and never regret a single bite.
Address: 110 W 4th S. Rexburg, Idaho
Have you tried any of these? Or do you have other favorite diners, drive-ins and dives? Add them in our comments for others to see!