Vinyl bar stools, sturdy ceramic coffee mugs, a "24/7" sign outside: no matter where you are in the country, these are the items you can expect to find in a diner. While certain intangible qualities make the American diner the beloved institution that it is, its success is due to some key characteristics.
The pie case is always charming, the mini jukeboxes always exciting and the chrome countertops always inviting. No matter how many times you've seen all of these things before, when you step into a diner, they all feel simultaneously unique and familiar.
We asked HuffPost readers and fellow editors to name their favorite part of a this trusty American icon. Here are the 19 best things about eating at a diner.
1. "Having 'the usual.'" -- Facebook user Wendy Westgate
2. "The classics: a good Reuben and a club sandwich are essential." -- Facebook user Liz Harris
3. "Gravy." -- Facebook user Alice Rodgers
4. "Ordering late-night." -- Carly Ledbetter, Associate Lifestyle Editor, The Huffington Post
5. "I love to watch the food being cooked. Especially breakfasts. The big pile of potatoes at the back of the grill, all kinds of various concoctions of eggs and the ringing of the bell when the order's up." -- Facebook user Kathy Obrien
Photo credit: Facebook/Galley Diner
6. "Good old-fashioned comfort good!" -- Facebook user Erica Coe
7. "The sizzling of the griddle, the cook yelling 'order up!', the bustle of everyday people just trying to grab a meal as they start or end their day. You get to see people from all walks of life come together at a lunch counter or in those raggedy old booths. They talk about the weather, the lottery, or how their favorite sports teams are doing. Diners are one of the best places to 'people watch' and drink in everyday America." -- Facebook user Mackenzie Brynn
8. "Slightly sh*tty, always perfect grilled cheese." -- Alison Spiegel, Food & Travel Staff Writer, The Huffington Post
9. "Chicken-fried steak!" -- Facebook user Stephanie Lynch
10. "There's just something about a hot cup of coffee served in a cup and saucer. Even better if its accompanied by a slice of pie!" -- Facebook user Jenifer Miller
11. "Aggressive butter balls on top of aggressive stacks of pancakes, smothered in maple syrup." -- Alison Spiegel, Food & Travel Staff Writer, The Huffington Post
Photo credit: Facebook/Palace Diner
12. "Waitresses calling you 'Honey.'" -- Facebook user Laurie Harrison
13. "The pies!" -- Facebook user Erika Crabe
Photo credit: Facebook/Hayes Hamburgers and Chili
14. "BREAKFAST ALL DAY. Only your mom (or someone who loves you a whole lot) would make you pancakes for dinner -- with the one exception of diner cooks." -- Kristen Aiken, Executive Food Editor, The Huffington Post
15. "The jukebox in each booth." -- Facebook user Sue Freedland
16. "The gigantic menu (even if it's always a little sticky)." -- Alison Spiegel, Food & Travel Staff Writer, The Huffington Post
17. "Chocolate milk!!!! -- Kristen Aiken, Executive Food Editor, The Huffington Post
18. "Two words: Hash. Browns." -- Facebook user Rachel Dianne
Photo credit: Facebook/Brent's Drugs
19. "Endless coffee." -- Facebook user James L Wolford
What's your favorite part of eating at a diner?
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