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real american diners

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Visiting from Scotland next week. Starting in LA and driving up to San Franciso over a few days. I want to visit a real old fashioned american diner like the ones you see in films - desperate to extend my knowledge of diner food beyond a stack of pancakes and coffee!! any recommendations on Highway 1?

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  1. If you pass through San Luis Obispo, you could try Margie's Diner. I used to go to college there and it was pretty popular. http://www.margiesdiner.com/

    Not 100% sure of your route, but Highway 1 does go right through San Luis Obispo.

    1. Go across the bay from San Francisco into Berkeley and squeeze yourself into a booth at Bette's Oceanview Diner...or sit at the counter. (On weekends, there is a wait, so go early or if possible, go on a weekday.)

      1. And be sure to order Bette's pancakes! The Best!

        1. Mel's Diner is a chain of old-fashioned diners that isn't a bad approximation.
          Maybe check out Sears Fine Food (the restaurant, not the store) in San Francisco, too. More for the style than the food.
          Not a diner per se, although it does have a counter, but Hoover's Beef Palace in Templeton, Calif., on Highway 101 just south of Paso Robles, is a good example of diner food served in agricultural areas.

          1. Too bad you won't be on the East Coast. New Jersey has some great old real american diners.

            1. Fred's Grill. 1698 Main St., Morro Bay, CA, 93442. (805) 771-9811

              formerly a Margie's diner, taken over by the employess, here's my April 19 post:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/599229