BROOKLYN HAS UNDERGONE a culinary revolution in the last couple of decades, with new restaurants opening constantly, offering innovative cuisine courtesy of the world’s top chefs. But not every meal out can be a multi-course tasting menu, and not everyone wants an elaborate brunch on the weekend—some people just want eggs over easy and buttered rye toast. And what better place to do that than in one of Brooklyn’s classic diners, the stalwarts of the borough’s culinary scene? But what makes a good diner? The food, of course. And the coffee. But also the sense that when you enter the building, you’re guaranteed an experience that’s singular to being in a diner. The best, even if they look wildly different from one another, have a design sensibility that reflects the tenets of diner culture: efficiency, reliability, and comfort. Diners can be no-frills, or they can be adorned with more accessories than an octogenarian on her way to church.
Diners can make you feel like you’ve been transported to a 50s soda fountain, or they can be so covered in mirrors and black marble that you’ll swear you’re in the 80s. We took a look at some of Brooklyn’s iconic diners—all of them different from one another, but all recognizably diners—in homage to a part of the Brooklyn food world that’s impressively resistant to trends yet always relevant. Plus, they all serve really good fries.
Photos by Devon Banks