40 College Town Diners Across America Worth Visiting

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Historic Village Diner
Bard College – Red Hook, N.Y.

For those who know the Hudson Valley, diners may not immediately come to mind. But for students of Bard College and the locals of the surrounding quaint towns, they know about the Historic Village Diner;—and all the greasy glory it has to offer. Displaying the epitome of early Americana roadside architecture, the space has all the little touches our diner culture has grown to embrace, like those shiny leather stools and perfectly sized, pristine coffee mugs. Bonus points: They offer take-out available for those extra busy students. —Virginia Croft
Photo by Gail Frederick/Flickr

Towson Diner
Towson University – Towson, Md.

Diners with the added bonus of being open 24 hours a day are glorious, and especially attractive to college students who sometimes eat their dinners six hours past normal chow time. Towson Diner;, conveniently close to Towson University, is a classic Greek-American diner, serving breakfast all day— and night. Also offering the modern godsend feature of delivery, the diner has been a Towson favorite since 1957. The locals and the surrounding Baltimore area can’t resist the crisp, golden brown belgian waffles, and they rave about the Maryland crab soup. —Virginia Croft

Henry’s Diner
University of Vermont – Burlington, Vt.

If you’re craving those classic breakfast feels after a night out on the town in Vermont’s cutest cultured city, Henry’s Diner; can cook you up a hearty meal that will make you feel as warm as your oversized grandpa sweater. At Henry’s, rich local eggs, thick bacon strips and mouthwatering home fries will be out as quickly as 10 minutes. And for all of you late risers, Henry’s serves breakfast all day. It’s a charming little diner with deep Americana roots. —Claire Woodcock
Photo by Gahlord/Flickr.


Hermitage Café
Belmont University; Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tenn.

For classic southern greasy-goodness, turn to Hermitage Café—despite the name, it is very much a diner indeed. For a newcomer, Hermitage is a pool to dive feet first into—get to know the regulars, because there are plenty of them. Breakfast is served all day and the coffee is brewing, so grab a spot at the epitome of a diner counter. And if you’re not in the mood for a killer omelet, try a southern favorite, like country fried steak. Don’t forget to pick a song on the jukebox. —Virginia Croft

Mel’s Café
University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Va.

Mel’s Café ; in Charlottesville is the definition of southern comfort. This quaint little diner is renowned for its hot, crispy and juicy fried chicken. But be sure to save enough room for dessert—the sweet potato pie is a tasty treat for which you’ll want to trade out the pumpkin pie on the Thanksgiving dinner table. At Mel’s, you’re guaranteed all of the bang for your buck. It’s an affordable meal with adorable hospitality—sometimes Mel himself is walking the floor. —Claire Woodcock

Bagel Emporium & Grille
University of Miami – Coral Gables, Fla.

Miami has never been referred to as a college town. Ever. The University of Miami’s campus is more like a resort—self-contained with a lake and palm trees in every direction. There’s more to the sprawling metropolis than just one medium-sized private institution of higher education. But the Bagel Emporium & Grille; is the closest thing in walking distance of campus that could maybe be categorized as a diner. This institution serves all the best spreads—from bagels and lox to greasy breakfasts—to everyone. Enormous Hurricanes athletes sit next to the little old Jewish ladies of South Florida in perfect harmony here, because bagels are, unequivocally, the world’s great unifier. — Hilary Saunders

The Place
University of Georgia – Athens, Ga.

Sick of campus food? Treat yourself to a southern comfort lunch from The Place;. Known for its great service and tastefully sized portions, The Place is worth the price for either lunch or dinner. Choose from lunch options like a shrimp burger or whole fried okra and gouda mac and cheese, or, on the pricier side, braised pork shoulder or red snapper for dinner. Brunch: coming soon. —Claire Woodcock

University of Miami – Miami, Fla.

The 305 offers vibrant nightlife—but come morning, you’re going to have to soak up last night’s damage with something. For the U of M Hurricanes, S&S Diner; is the place to go. Inside, S&S combines old-school diner aesthetics with Miami’s constantly evolving style: It’s almost as if the Miami vibe of Art Basel and Deco pastels collided with a plate of fresh blueberry pancakes. Omelets, corned beef hash and french toast are all featured on the massive menu, and the staff is friendly and ready to serve you a true S&S experience. —Virginia Croft
Photo by Phillip Pessar/Flickr.


Merry Ann’s Diner
University of Illinois – Champaign, Ill.

In operation since 1983 and so successful that it’s opened three additional locations, Merry Ann’s Diner; is, more or less, the unofficial diner mascot of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The large state school no doubt funnels a lot of customers its way, but this classic, 24-hour diner would no doubt cruise along just fine while serving the townie crowd, who pack all of the locations on a daily basis to enjoy all-day pancakes, omelettes, country-fried steaks and burgers. Featuring a “hangover menu” after midnight, it’s just about everything you expect from the classic diner experience: booze-absorbing food, great pancakes, even a classic jukebox in the corner. It’s an archetypal American diner.—Jim Vorel

Northside Grill
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Mich.

Northside Grille; is Ann Arbor’s perfect little getaway breakfast spot. Take a trip down the road on a warm Saturday for some brisk eggs sunny side up. The staff are always on their game, and what the dining room lacks in size, it makes up for in its huge breakfast and lunch menu. Plus, Northside Grille buys their coffee and other products locally when possible. Try the local hot sauce on a warm breakfast burrito. Your stomach will thank you. —Claire Woodcock

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