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Craving slingers for breakfast, lunch or dinner? We tracked down 31 diners

Craving slingers for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Here's where to find 31 diners

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Goody Goody Diner

Keisha Jackson serves breakfast customers at the Goody Goody Diner, 5900 Natural Bridge Avenue on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. Jackson has worked at the diner for seven years. Photo by Robert Cohen,

For a few decades, diners dotted the major roads across America.

You could always be sure to get a decent bowl of chili at one, or a hamburger. They served the needs of both travelers and local residents alike.

Goody Goody Diner

Preston Murphy drops pancakes on the grill at the Goody Goody Diner, 5900 Natural Bridge Avenue, on Feb. 12, 2019. Photo by Robert Cohen,

Goody Goody Diner

Pancakes are served all day at the Goody Goody Diner, 5900 Natural Bridge Avenue on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Photo by Robert Cohen,

Expressways killed off most of the diners. No longer could travelers pull off the road at any random spot; now they were relegated to specific interchanges where chain restaurants clustered.

But the great American diner is resilient. It is part of our nation’s soul. It will never go away entirely. No matter how sophisticated our country’s palate gets, there will always be a need for a decent bowl of chili or a hamburger.

Still, a distinction needs to be made between the diners of the Midwest and those of the Northeast.

In the area including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, diners are big, family-run affairs (the families are often Greek). Their multi-age menus are enormous, often with more than 100 dishes — all of which you can be sure will be great. And you can’t leave without an enormously high slice of pie, which are invariably on display near the checkout counter.

Midwestern diners are more ordinary, less flamboyant. All they need is a counter with stools.

Breakfasts are a vital part of diners, and around these parts, that should ideally include slingers. Diners should also offer corned beef hash, but you can’t have everything (and when you do, all too often it is from a can).

It’s a plus if they’re open 24 hours, too.

The St. Louis region is blessed to have, frankly, more than our share of diners. We looked at several, going wherever our stomach led us. No family restaurants, no chains, nothing corporate and certainly nothing inside a casino made the cut.

Is your diner not listed? Let us know. Contact Daniel Neman at or (314) 340-8133.

Daniel Neman is a food writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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