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Daytime exterior view of Boston’s South Street Diner with its iconic coffee cup-shaped sign and metal siding. A carousel horse sits by the door.
The South Street Diner is an exemplar of the genre
Nick DiNatale/Eater

Take a Trip to the Past at These Excellent Boston-Area Diners

Where to eat the best greasy-spoon breakfast in and around Boston

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The South Street Diner is an exemplar of the genre
| Nick DiNatale/Eater

Fancy, decadent breakfasts and brunches can be fun, but nothing beats the food at a good old greasy-spoon diner. Bonus points if that diner is housed in an O’Mahoney diner car.

Here are 15 of the best Boston-area diners for classic comfort food and old-timey vibes.

See also: Irresistible Pancakes Around Boston; Vital Brunch Spots to Know in and Around Boston; The Hottest New Brunches in Boston Right Now

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kelly's Diner

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674 Broadway
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 623-8102
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This diner car spent its first four decades on the side of Route 13 in New Castle, Delaware, but it’s been slinging greasy-spoon breakfast foods in Somerville’s Ball Square since the mid-1990s. Get the ham and eggs for breakfast or the roast turkey sandwich for lunch. Cash only (ATM onsite).

Closeup of signage at an old-fashioned diner. It reads “Kelly’s Diner” and “booth service.”
Kelly’s Diner
Robert Fuhro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

2. Buddy's

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113 Washington St
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 623-9725
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Buddy’s is Somerville’s other great diner. It’s impossibly small — like, the size of a shed — so you’re probably going to have to wait in line if you head there on a weekend. Find it just outside of Union Square, on the edge of East Somerville. Cash only.

Front view of a small classic diner car during the day. A sign on top reads “BUDDY’S” in red lettering, and the diner has red accents.
Buddy’s
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

3. Deluxe Town Diner

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627 Mt Auburn St
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 926-8400
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Everything is excellent at this Watertown diner car — which has been in operation for more than half a century — but no visit is complete without ordering the chicken livers. It’s some of the tastiest offal in and around Boston (and a great hangover helper). Bonus: Blue Man Group filmed a music video there.

Closeup shot inside a diner showing a neon sign that says “diner” on a rocket ship flying past Saturn
Hit Deluxe Town Diner for some offal
Jacqueline Dole/Eater

4. Brookline Lunch

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9 Brookline St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 354-2983
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The menu is all over the map at this no-frills Central Square eatery, and that’s a good thing. One can snack on huevos rancheros or order something from the Mediterranean section. Not feeling either? That’s fine: Go with the veggie curry, the beef stroganoff, or the over-the-top baklava pancakes. Cash only.

Closeup of a partially eaten eggs Benedict breakfast. A plate of bacon is visible in the background.
Eggs Benedict at Brookline Lunch
Marshall Henderson Dackert/Flickr (Creative Commons)

5. The Breakfast Club

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270 Western Ave
Allston, MA 02134
(617) 783-1212
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This Lower Allston diner car has been sitting on the site since 1962, although it was abandoned and in a bit of disrepair for some time. It came back to life as the Breakfast Club around the turn of the millennium and has been a bustling neighborhood favorite since then. There will be a line out the door, but it will be worth waiting because the corned beef hash is perhaps the best in the city. For those who prefer a sweet brunch, the Nutella pancakes and the many flavors of milkshakes (such as Thin Mint or red velvet) are a hit.

A plate of eggs Benedict and home fries. The diner-style plate is white with a black-and-white-checkered rim.
Eggs Benedict from the Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club/Official Website

6. South Street Diner

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178 Kneeland St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 350-0028
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This Leather District landmark is a rarity in Boston: It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When it opened in 1947 it functioned as a place for factory workers to get a bite after a long shift; today, it functions as a place for hipsters and late-night party animals to wind down after a night of boozing. Catching an early train from South Station? It’s a short walk away; making this the perfect 4 a.m. breakfast spot.

Daytime exterior view of Boston’s South Street Diner with its iconic coffee cup-shaped sign and metal siding. A carousel horse sits by the door.
The iconic South Street Diner
Nick DiNatale/Eater

7. Busy Bee Restaurant & Diner

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1046 Beacon St
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 566-8733
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Time capsules are rare in the age of redesign and redevelopment, but Brookline’s Busy Bee is very much a time capsule. Eat at the counter, and gawk at the antique refrigeration situation. Breakfast is available all day, of course. Cash only.

8. Thornton's

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150 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 267-6336
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Thornton’s is an unpretentious breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot in an increasingly pretentious neighborhood. The menu is massive (and affordable) and can accommodate almost any diet. There are nearly countless egg dishes, as well as sandwiches and wraps, salads, pasta, and lots more.

9. Mul's Diner

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75 W Broadway
South Boston, MA 02127
(617) 268-5748
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Mul’s has all the classic diner food — burgers, omelets, Benedicts — but it’s less about the food and more about the experience at this Southie classic, which opens at 5 a.m. daily. Take a moment to admire the polished stainless steel exterior. Cash only.

Two pieces of creme brulee French toast sit on a white plate, garnished with dollops of whipped cream
Creme brulee French toast at Mul’s Diner
Sarah Nichols/Flickr (Creative Commons)

10. Galley Diner

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11 P St
South Boston, MA 02127
(617) 464-1024
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The Galley Diner is another South Boston institution; customers especially love the hash. It’s currently only open on weekends from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., following the 2019 death of owner Paul Skudris, who had operated the restaurant since 1995.

Exterior of a diner, featuring a white brick wall. Old-fashioned signage reads “Galley Diner” and “Rumpy’s,” with an image of a woman holding a tray of food.
Galley Diner
Nick Normal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

11. Mike's City Diner

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1714 Washington St
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 267-9393
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Mike’s has all the diner hits, but everyone goes to this South End spot for the pilgrim sandwich, which is, of course, made with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Every day is Thanksgiving at Mike’s.

Juicy-looking pieces of fried chicken sit on a white plate with Belgian waffle slices.
Chicken and waffles at Mike’s City Diner
Mike’s City Diner/Official Site

12. Silver Slipper Restaurant

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2387 Washington St
Roxbury, MA 02119
(617) 442-4853
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This Roxbury joint, around since 1972, is reliably great for a greasy-spoon breakfast, but lunch is solid too: Get the oxtail or the curried chicken. Cash only.

The sign at the Silver Slipper has faded over the years
Silver Slipper
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

13. Liberty Diner

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1003 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 442-9262
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Head to this Roxbury diner — right near the Newmarket T station — for gigantic pancakes, fried fish, or a drink from the bar; it’s got a full liquor license. Liberty Diner dates back all the way to 1962.

Old-fashioned signage for a diner with liquor, catering, breakfast, and more
Liberty Diner
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

14. Victoria's Diner

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1024 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 442-5965
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The Vic has been open since 1949 (ownership has changed hands since then, though) and is one of the most — if not the most — iconic diners in Boston. It’s also open late (until 5 a.m., to be exact) on Fridays and Saturdays.

Eggs Benedict on a white plate, isolated on a white background
Eggs Benedict at Victoria’s Diner
Damian Marciante

15. The Wheelhouse Diner

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453 Hancock St
Quincy, MA 02171
(617) 328-3666
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Head to this Quincy classic for a giant selection of omelets, Benedicts, burgers, and more, hearty portions all around. (Note: no relation to Boston’s Wheelhouse burger shop, which recently closed in preparation for a move to a new space.)

Exterior of a diner with bold blue and red signage reading “Wheelhouse”
Wheelhouse Diner in Quincy
Andy Ihnatko/Flickr (Creative Commons)

1. Kelly's Diner

674 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144
Closeup of signage at an old-fashioned diner. It reads “Kelly’s Diner” and “booth service.”
Kelly’s Diner
Robert Fuhro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

This diner car spent its first four decades on the side of Route 13 in New Castle, Delaware, but it’s been slinging greasy-spoon breakfast foods in Somerville’s Ball Square since the mid-1990s. Get the ham and eggs for breakfast or the roast turkey sandwich for lunch. Cash only (ATM onsite).

674 Broadway
Somerville, MA 02144

2. Buddy's

113 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143
Front view of a small classic diner car during the day. A sign on top reads “BUDDY’S” in red lettering, and the diner has red accents.
Buddy’s
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Buddy’s is Somerville’s other great diner. It’s impossibly small — like, the size of a shed — so you’re probably going to have to wait in line if you head there on a weekend. Find it just outside of Union Square, on the edge of East Somerville. Cash only.

113 Washington St
Somerville, MA 02143

3. Deluxe Town Diner

627 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472
Closeup shot inside a diner showing a neon sign that says “diner” on a rocket ship flying past Saturn
Hit Deluxe Town Diner for some offal
Jacqueline Dole/Eater

Everything is excellent at this Watertown diner car — which has been in operation for more than half a century — but no visit is complete without ordering the chicken livers. It’s some of the tastiest offal in and around Boston (and a great hangover helper). Bonus: Blue Man Group filmed a music video there.

627 Mt Auburn St
Watertown, MA 02472

4. Brookline Lunch

9 Brookline St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Closeup of a partially eaten eggs Benedict breakfast. A plate of bacon is visible in the background.
Eggs Benedict at Brookline Lunch
Marshall Henderson Dackert/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The menu is all over the map at this no-frills Central Square eatery, and that’s a good thing. One can snack on huevos rancheros or order something from the Mediterranean section. Not feeling either? That’s fine: Go with the veggie curry, the beef stroganoff, or the over-the-top baklava pancakes. Cash only.

9 Brookline St
Cambridge, MA 02139

5. The Breakfast Club

270 Western Ave, Allston, MA 02134
A plate of eggs Benedict and home fries. The diner-style plate is white with a black-and-white-checkered rim.
Eggs Benedict from the Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club/Official Website

This Lower Allston diner car has been sitting on the site since 1962, although it was abandoned and in a bit of disrepair for some time. It came back to life as the Breakfast Club around the turn of the millennium and has been a bustling neighborhood favorite since then. There will be a line out the door, but it will be worth waiting because the corned beef hash is perhaps the best in the city. For those who prefer a sweet brunch, the Nutella pancakes and the many flavors of milkshakes (such as Thin Mint or red velvet) are a hit.

270 Western Ave
Allston, MA 02134

6. South Street Diner

178 Kneeland St, Boston, MA 02111
Daytime exterior view of Boston’s South Street Diner with its iconic coffee cup-shaped sign and metal siding. A carousel horse sits by the door.
The iconic South Street Diner
Nick DiNatale/Eater

This Leather District landmark is a rarity in Boston: It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When it opened in 1947 it functioned as a place for factory workers to get a bite after a long shift; today, it functions as a place for hipsters and late-night party animals to wind down after a night of boozing. Catching an early train from South Station? It’s a short walk away; making this the perfect 4 a.m. breakfast spot.

178 Kneeland St
Boston, MA 02111

7. Busy Bee Restaurant & Diner

1046 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

Time capsules are rare in the age of redesign and redevelopment, but Brookline’s Busy Bee is very much a time capsule. Eat at the counter, and gawk at the antique refrigeration situation. Breakfast is available all day, of course. Cash only.

1046 Beacon St
Brookline, MA 02446

8. Thornton's

150 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Thornton’s is an unpretentious breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot in an increasingly pretentious neighborhood. The menu is massive (and affordable) and can accommodate almost any diet. There are nearly countless egg dishes, as well as sandwiches and wraps, salads, pasta, and lots more.

150 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115

9. Mul's Diner

75 W Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127
Two pieces of creme brulee French toast sit on a white plate, garnished with dollops of whipped cream
Creme brulee French toast at Mul’s Diner
Sarah Nichols/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Mul’s has all the classic diner food — burgers, omelets, Benedicts — but it’s less about the food and more about the experience at this Southie classic, which opens at 5 a.m. daily. Take a moment to admire the polished stainless steel exterior. Cash only.

75 W Broadway
South Boston, MA 02127

10. Galley Diner

11 P St, South Boston, MA 02127
Exterior of a diner, featuring a white brick wall. Old-fashioned signage reads “Galley Diner” and “Rumpy’s,” with an image of a woman holding a tray of food.
Galley Diner
Nick Normal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Galley Diner is another South Boston institution; customers especially love the hash. It’s currently only open on weekends from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., following the 2019 death of owner Paul Skudris, who had operated the restaurant since 1995.

11 P St
South Boston, MA 02127

11. Mike's City Diner

1714 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118
Juicy-looking pieces of fried chicken sit on a white plate with Belgian waffle slices.
Chicken and waffles at Mike’s City Diner
Mike’s City Diner/Official Site

Mike’s has all the diner hits, but everyone goes to this South End spot for the pilgrim sandwich, which is, of course, made with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Every day is Thanksgiving at Mike’s.

1714 Washington St
Boston, MA 02118

12. Silver Slipper Restaurant

2387 Washington St, Roxbury, MA 02119
The sign at the Silver Slipper has faded over the years
Silver Slipper
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

This Roxbury joint, around since 1972, is reliably great for a greasy-spoon breakfast, but lunch is solid too: Get the oxtail or the curried chicken. Cash only.

2387 Washington St
Roxbury, MA 02119

13. Liberty Diner

1003 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118
Old-fashioned signage for a diner with liquor, catering, breakfast, and more
Liberty Diner
Pixel/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Head to this Roxbury diner — right near the Newmarket T station — for gigantic pancakes, fried fish, or a drink from the bar; it’s got a full liquor license. Liberty Diner dates back all the way to 1962.

1003 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02118

14. Victoria's Diner

1024 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118
Eggs Benedict on a white plate, isolated on a white background
Eggs Benedict at Victoria’s Diner
Damian Marciante

The Vic has been open since 1949 (ownership has changed hands since then, though) and is one of the most — if not the most — iconic diners in Boston. It’s also open late (until 5 a.m., to be exact) on Fridays and Saturdays.

1024 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02118

15. The Wheelhouse Diner

453 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02171
Exterior of a diner with bold blue and red signage reading “Wheelhouse”
Wheelhouse Diner in Quincy
Andy Ihnatko/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Head to this Quincy classic for a giant selection of omelets, Benedicts, burgers, and more, hearty portions all around. (Note: no relation to Boston’s Wheelhouse burger shop, which recently closed in preparation for a move to a new space.)

453 Hancock St
Quincy, MA 02171

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