These Are The Elements of a Perfect Diner

When arranged in the right order, the atomic structure of an all-American diner will make you feel very solid. It’s the liquids and the gases you have to watch out for. Herein, a periodic table (of sorts) comprising some of the most stable elements.
The Anchor Grill
The Anchor Grill

Photograph by Anna Knott

The Anchor Grill
We love the seaside mural and the jukebox, but the counter at The Anchor (above) has its own ambiance—augmented by the wall of ceramic pirate heads and a motley collection of electric lighthouses that serve as a beacon in the wee hours for this 24/7 institution. 438 Pike St., Covington, (859) 431-9498

The Echo’s Hot Mess
The name may be a bit off-putting to my OCD brethren, but the greasy goodness (eggs, home fries, cheese, bacon, sausage, and gravy) settles a tumultuous tummy after one too many the night before. 3510 Edwards Rd., Hyde Park, (513) 321-2816,

Hathaway’s Free Pie Tuesdays
They’ve been slinging breakfast and lunch at the base of the Carew Tower since 1956, but this turquoise-and-black time capsule is especially worth a visit on Tuesdays, when they send you home with your choice of complementary pie. Naturally, you’ll choose the apple. 441 Vine St., downtown, (513) 621-1332,

Santorini Family Restaurant
Fine dining folk may worship Danny Meyer as their hospitality guru, but I’ll gladly bow down to west side warmth and the unparalleled (read: never scorched) bottomless cup of coffee at Santorini in Cheviot. 3414 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, (513) 662-8080

Stephens’ Old Village Restaurant
It’s like eating breakfast in Nana’s hyper-clean, lovingly dated living room. Five minutes in this joint and you’ll never meet your peeps at Perkins again. 3323 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, (513) 661-6840,

Bluebird Restaurant
Savor a slice of sinfully moist, Day-Glo lemon bundt cake as you queue up Patsy Cline, Frank Sinatra, and the “Walrus of Love” himself, Barry White, on the tableside jukebox. Nothing beats Barry and a bundt. 4629 Montgomery Rd., Norwood, (513) 351-2427

Mama’s Grill
Deep in the wilds of Williamsburg, west of town by a while, are some of the largest—not to mention cheapest (most top out at $5.99)—double-decker sandwiches around. We’ve yet to eat a whole one. Road trip, anyone? 4227 All Star Dr., Williamsburg, (513) 724-5700

Main Street Café
Plenty of kick with a low quotient of kidney beans, this classic beef chili keeps the heartburn to a minimum. Main Street gets bonus points for the high-rent Westminster oyster crackers. Serving any other brand is categorically uncivilized. 6903 Main St., Newtown, (513) 272-2030,




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