Ideas for a Diner Menu


Nothing cures a hankering for home cooking quite like a plate full of diner food. Tailor your diner menu to include local or regional favorites alongside a selection of American staples like burgers, fries, shakes and pies; the trick is not to get too carried away when conceptualizing your menu. Edit your final list of items to ensure focused, well-executed dishes across the board.


  • Diners frequently serve breakfast items all day, which is part of their overall charm and appeal. For the breakfast-section main dishes, offer options like cheesy omelets and fluffy French toast, Belgian waffles or pancakes. These platters should come accompanied with a choice of items like sausage links, bacon, fresh fruit, toast or home fries. Other options include a selection of breakfast sandwiches, as well as eggs cooked a variety of ways. For lighter fare, include items like fresh grapefruit, hot or cold cereal, and a selection of bagels and cream cheese or small breakfast pastries.


  • Sandwiches are critical to any successful diner menu. Offer a classic hamburger, and then allow customers to customize a plain burger with a variety of toppings. Provide standard options like bacon, mushrooms and American cheese, as well as less common burger toppings including avocado, blue cheese or salsa. Other sandwich selections could include American favorites like pulled-pork barbecue, Philly cheese steaks, Reubens and Monte Cristos. For your vegetarian customers, provide meatless sandwich options like grilled cheese or veggie burgers. Serve each sandwich with a side of chips or fries, and allow customers to substitute other items at an additional cost.


  • One of the main reasons people frequent diners is for the nostalgic comfort food. Create a satisfying home-cooked meal with classics like hearty meatloaf, spaghetti or country-fried steak. Create a list of side dishes to accompany the main items on your dinner menu. To account for vegetarian customers, offer a few meatless selections like a vegetarian lasagna. Some sides to consider serving include fried staples like French fries, onion rings and hush puppies, as well as other nostalgic foods like macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes. For the health-conscious, include lighter fare like a garden or fruit salad, steamed vegetables or a baked potato.


  • Encourage your customers to save room for dessert and end the meal on a sweet note with a list of tempting sweet treats. Think homemade pies, cakes and ice cream sundaes to drive home the nostalgia factor. For freshness, try to give each item you bake a shelf-life of one day only. Offer daily specials, with a few permanent signature treats. Choose classic American baked goods like apple pie, chocolate cake and gooey brownies. Serve these alongside scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. To wash down the homemade desserts, offer nostalgic beverages like egg creams, root beer floats, malts and shakes.

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