Sayville Modern Diner

Sayville, NY

The day after Thanksgiving, you relax around the house all morning. Door-busting Black Friday deals aren’t exactly enticing—mostly because you’d have to get out of your pajamas. But when Dad calls and says he took a half-day to take you for lunch at the diner, you throw on a jacket and you’re out the door.


The Modern Diner in Sayville is a piece of history. Its retro decor boasts murals depicting ‘50s sock hops, original Lucky Strike magazine ads (Don Draper style), sparkling emerald pleather booths, and worn Formica tables.

As your waitress sets your table, she tells you that you look just like her grandkids— “so handsome!” When you quickly order a basic turkey sandwich, she persuades you to take a few minutes to find something you really want. And she’s totally right—the Reuben panini melt is worth the extra wait.

The fading November sun beams through the blinds, falling over crispy golden fries, bubbling chili, and glistening green pickles. You don’t have your camera, so you snap a few photos with your phone, hoping they capture the unique beauty of this place. Dad pays the bill and you leave a hefty tip for your sassy waitress before heading back out into the cold, full, caffeinated, and cheerful. It’s hard not to be in a place like this.

Broadway Lights Diner

Kingston, NY

Summer’s gone, but your hunger for adventure isn’t. You wake up early Sunday and go for a drive, and on the way through the nearest city you spot a small diner. “Let’s just get something small,” you say.

Inside, it’s exactly what you imagined: floral upholstery, the aroma of coffee, a happy waitress. She tells you to sit wherever you’d like. You nab a booth by the window.

The idea of getting “something small” is quickly abandoned when you scan the tempting specials. You go right for the big players: huevos rancheros and eggs Benedict. The food arrives fast and piping hot, the eggs runny and perfect.

You relax in the booth, watching the city move outside the window, surrounded by bits of conversations from the people around you. Everything is all right.

Ambrosia Diner

Queensbury, NY

You see a line of people waiting inside for a table and you know it’s the weekend at the Ambrosia Diner. Located 20 miles south of Lake George, the Queen of American Lakes, multiple generations come here for the classic American breakfast.

You don’t think twice before ordering—it has to be the Belgian waffle with fresh strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream.

The food arrives and your hands are shaking. You’re not sure if it’s from the coffee or the excitement. The first bite is always the best.