Retro diners are rock ‘n’ rolling back into favour without an Elvis impersonator in sight.
BUTCHERS DINER, MELBOURNE butchersdiner.com
If 4am brings an urgent need for blood sausage, this 24/7 greasy spoon in the CBD has you covered. From 6am to 11am, the breakfast list contains all the staples, including steak and eggs, loaded hash and buttermilk pancakes. And the 24-hour menu reads like the titular butcher’s dream, with a diverse parade of meats and offal from the charcoal grill.
NIGHTHAWK DINER, SYDNEY thenighthawk.com.au
Once a gleaming retro-style trailer that kept the city satiated with mobile burgers, fries and milkshakes, the Nighthawk now has an equally cool permanent home in inner-city Chippendale. The expanded menu offers tongue-in-cheek plays on the classics, such as nachos served in a Doritos bag and irresistibly boozy shakes.
TWO-BIT VILLAINS, ADELAIDE two-bitvillains.com
While the handcrafted soft drinks are reason enough to seek out this eclectically furnished spot in the historic Adelaide Arcade, the food makes the journey essential. Even devout carnivores will be won over by the signature burgers on Two-Bit’s entirely meat-free menu.
TRUNK DINER, MELBOURNE trunktown.com.au
Watching the world race by through the windows of this slick diner – located on a busy corner in the CBD – it’s easy to imagine that you’re in New York. The menu of classic,
American-style breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes only amplifies the charade.
THE FALCON, NEWCASTLE 10 Pacific Street (02) 4069 1844
They say, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, and this timber-lined ode to the Deep South brings both. The brisket is overseen by a Florida-born barbecue chef who smokes it for 12 hours, while the wings are doused in a housemade hot sauce. For firefighting duties, opt for craft beers or imaginative cocktails.
SURLY’S, SYDNEY parlourgroup.com.au
Part diner, part smokehouse, part dive bar, Surly’s brings a touch of Nashville to the heart of Surry Hills. Burgers, hoagies and loaded fries are weekday favourites but from Friday to Sunday, you’ll want to turn your attention to the meats emerging from Ole Hickory – a smoker flown in from Missouri.
RED HOOK, BRISBANE red-hook.com.au
Chicken burgers smothered in miso mayo and char siu sauce, tacos piled with Peking duck – it’s the mash-up of Asian and American influences that make this diner so inviting.
(Clockwise from far left) Cheeseburger with house bacon at Butchers Diner and inside the 24/7 venue; classic fare at Trunk Diner; Surly’s welcomes walkins; The Falcon’s old-time booth seats