Every city’s got a handful of hidden little eateries that the locals don’t necessarily want you to know about. (After all, you might take up a favorite seat.) We’re talking diners, greasy spoons, and dives, and we’ve found them for you. So for once, skip the of-the-moment restaurant in favor of one of these anytime-is-the-right-time spots. By J.S.
HACKENSACK, NEW JERSEY
White Manna Hamburgers
358 River Street
The place is tiny, and so are the burgers. Pocket change (95 cents) will score you one, but bring along a fiver — you’ll want a stack of these babies.
2636 Spenard Road
The building’s so-not-fancy exterior won’t wake you up, but the breakfast sure will. The chorizo is house-made. And the French toast? It’s made with Hawaiian sweet bread. Simply delish.
Big Al’s Diner
12600 Larchmere Boulevard
No matter what tempts you on the menu, make no mistake: The corned beef hash and home fries are a must for
newcomers to Big Al’s.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Brian’s American Eatery
1451 Washington Street
One local raves: “They’re open late and a godsend at those times after the bars close and you just have to have something greasy.” What else do you need to know?
2413 Ellison Place
Big old burgers on French bread. So bad for your waistline, so good for your smile.
DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS
600 Lee Street
Even if the kids in our life didn’t insist on food delivered by model train for their birthday, we’d keep going back for the turkey chili. Really.
New Iberia, Louisiana
NEW IBERIA, LOUISIANA
109 West Main Street
Grab a tray and slide down
the line. If you see fried chicken, get it first. After that,
grab anything else they serve. Leave room for pie.