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Top Ten Diners of America(2)
Top Ten Diners of America(2)

110 24th, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A word of warning about JoJo's hours: Although its motto is "Breakfast Served All Day, Every Day," what that means here in Pittsburgh's produce market is that it is open from 11 p.m. until noon. The schedule is made to jibe with that of truck drivers who haul produce up from the South, arriving shortly after midnight. They unload their trucks, then come for the JoJo Special, an impossibly overstuffed three-egg omelet containing peppers, onions, mushrooms, provolone and American cheese, bacon and/or sausage and/or ham, plus a spatula-load of hot fried potatoes. Unless you have the appetite of Gargantua, consider this plateload a meal for two.

Mickey's Dining Car
36 7th Street W, St. Paul, Minnesota
Here is a diner that's a work of art. A stunning cream-and-red enamel streamliner built by the Jerry O'Mahony company in 1937, Mickey's is as bright and shiny as the day it was new, and still features individual jukeboxes at every booth. The menu is true to short-order tradition, including such stalwarts as navy bean soup and mulligan stew (from the original prewar recipes!), as well as classically slim hamburgers and omelets sided by O'Brien potatoes or hash browns. Open round the clock, Mickey's is a favorite of insomniacs who suddenly crave a grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate malt at 3 a.m.

728 Main Street, Middletown, Connecticut
At the far end of Middletown's Main Street, O'Rourke's is a 1946 silver-sided treasure with counter stools and worn-smooth marble counter. Although it's old and a bit rickety-looking, it is a head-turner of gleaming stainless steel, as well as a fantastic place to eat. The menu includes mid-Connecticut's unique steamed cheeseburgers, southwestern dishes made with chili that chef Brian O'Rourke imports from New Mexico, and local shad roe in the spring, when he barters meals to get the best of local fishermen's catch. Waffles, pancakes, and French toast (made from freshly baked bread) make Sunday brunch especially good, but expect to wait for a seat.

Summerton Diner
32 Church Street, Summerton, South Carolina
"A Summerton Tradition" says the sign outside, and so it has been since opening in 1967 — a favorite not only of locals but also of travelers along I-95, just a few minutes away. It is a friendly and welcoming place with a Formica counter and wood-paneled walls and a menu of Southern delights. For breakfast that means ham and steamy warm biscuits, and for lunch it's partitioned plates loaded with meat-and-three meals of, for instance, fried chicken with mac and cheese, candied yams, and turnip greens. Whatever you eat, save room for banana pudding: Soft and sweet, laced with tender sugar wafers, it's a "y'all come back" dish, for sure.

Wasp's Snack Bar
67 Pleasant Street, Woodstock, Vermont
Woodstock is a Green Mountain town of quaint shops and fine dining (at the Woodstock Inn and the Kedron Valley Inn), but for visitors with a spirit of adventure, we also recommend a visit to "The Wasp." This ten-stool, shoebox-shaped little eatery on the main drag is a hangout for locals who come to chat over eggs, hash browns, and coffee at 6 a.m. and gab over grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, and hamburgers at lunch. Top things off with a slab of chocolate cake, and you'll have an honest meal for a few dollars, elbow-to-elbow with the natives.

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