The short-order cooks at Clayton Diner deliver a slice of Americana with a menu of comfort-food and soul-food classics. No fan of breakfast could ignore the fruits of their labors: towering stacks of hotcakes, buttermilk biscuits, plump sausage patties, and chopped-pork-sausage gravy. Their culinary efforts also spark lunches of breaded-codfish sandwiches, cheese-oozing chopped-steak phillies, burgers made from freshly ground beef, and Chicago-style dogs draped in yellow mustard and pickles. Daily specials, such as the juicy rotisserie chicken, round out the diner's tried-and-true American dishes more effectively than a slice of the Constitution.
Even before he owned a restaurant, Peter Spoto was used to feeding 200 people at a time. He spent three years as a cook for a pipeline crew in Alaska, whipping up dinners for the hungry crowd and displaying a knack for hospitality that he inherited from his Sicilian mother. When he moved back to St. Louis, opening a diner only seemed natural.
Peter's vision for City Diner was one of comfort food and family values. The restaurant upholds this mission today with a daily menu highlighted by meatloaf and hand-dipped milkshakes as well as an annual Thanksgiving feast, which invites guests to come together and eat until their bodies are 75% cranberry. For breakfast, the kitchen flips pancakes, omelets, and other morning favorites, and popular lunch and dinner entrees include the Cuban sandwich, seafood pasta, and eggplant parmesan?just one of many vegetarian dishes offered.
Aside from a few hours on Sunday, the neon Open sign hanging at the entrance of Tiffany's Original Diner never powers down. This old-school, cash-only diner?which claims to be the last St. Louis 24-hour diner open on the historical Route 66?keeps its doors open 'round the clock the rest of the week, luring customers with the promise of burgers, booze, and hearty breakfast dishes.
That's been the scene here since 1960, when Tiffany's first opened its doors. One step inside, and you might feel transported back to that era: red stools line a long counter, dishes clang in the back kitchen, and a jukebox?with a meticulously assembled and proudly "Bieber-free" catalog?cranks out classic tunes. Every other Monday, performers stop by so customers can take in live music and the jukebox can head home to see his wife and kids. On your way out, feel free to borrow a book from the honor-system library, or leave an old paperback behind.
Family-owned Angelo's Chicago Taste evokes the Windy City with its menu of quintessential dishes, such as italian beef sandwiches, gyros, polish sausage, and Chicago-style hot dogs piled with neon relish. Freshly sliced meats and cheeses nestle between warm breads, beckoning patrons to indulge in a true taste of classic Chicago eats. Most of the ingredients are made from scratch from family recipes right in the kitchen, adding a dose of freshness with each slice of gyro meat shaved off the rotisserie, mound of italian beef, and sizzle of freshly ground meat. Patrons can dig into desserts, such as baklava, while admiring the paintings and Chicago ephemera that decorate the dining-room walls across Angelo's two locations.
No matter the time of day or night, the kitchen staff at Gingham’s Restaurant churns out any meal—be it breakfast for dinner or lunch at 2 a.m.—that customers may be craving. Famous buttermilk pancakes speckled with everything from blueberries to bits of bacon hush grumbling stomachs, as the friendly wait staff shuffles around bottomless pots of Ronnoco coffee and homemade dinner rolls. Chefs scramble farm-fresh eggs into nine different omelets, masterfully fry chicken, and drown homestyle meatloaf in rich gravy.
Located near Lindenwood University, University Diner serves up homestyle cuisine classics alongside hookahs packed with fragrant shisha. In the morning, cooks griddle loaded omelets and sirloin steak breakfast skillets. Later in the day, they grill burgers and prepare hearty entrees such as grilled pork chops with mashed potatoes and carrots. As an added convenience, the eatery stays open 24 hours a day Thursday–Saturday.