We've compiled a gallery of every diner in Atlantic and Cape counties. Before you look at the photos of all these great local diners, I have to explain a few things.

What exactly classifies a restaurant as a "diner?"

First, let's look at the dictionary definition of a diner: " A diner is a place to go eat, casual and not expensive, the ones with a jukebox at each table. Diners are usually open very late and very early, good for breakfast and for a bite if you're out late. Restaurants are more upscale, although there are casual restaurants and “fine dining”, which are the most expensive."

That may be the traditional idea of a diner, but almost no diners have jukeboxes at every table or booth anymore, and, at least here in South Jersey, ever since the pandemic, not one diner on my list is open 24 hours a day or even stays open any later than 10 or 11 pm.

Diners are a quintessentially American phenomenon, which first came on the scene in the 1920s, and were first known as "lunch cars". They were almost always housed in prefab, stainless steel, train car-like buildings, and they served a good breakfast, primarily grilled comfort food, lots of coffee, milkshakes, and pies.

Diners Aren't What They Used To Be

The first thing I noticed when I began to put together this collection of local diners is diners have really evolved and changed. Not all restaurants that call themselves diners are in diner cars anymore and the menus have become as diverse as the people who run the diners.

What Do Diners Have in Common?

That's not to say that diners don't share any traits, because they do. It's really an attitude. Real diners have a diner attitude. They are usually more affordable, informal, almost always have counter and booth seating, and serve a really good breakfast all day long.

If they have the stainless steel, train-car look to go along with it, so much the better.

How Did We Pick These Diners?

We started with the restaurants that are obviously diners - the classic diner. Then we looked for places that have that diner attitude, food, and feeling. Some of those may be thought of as luncheonettes by some people.

So, what we have here is a look at every diner in Cape May and Atlantic counties, plus a few luncheonettes with a diner attitude.

One thing is for sure. Every eatery in this gallery has some great food and you should go try some of them!

That's as soon as you finish looking at Every Diner in Cape May and Atlantic counties.

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