Three classic 24-hour diners to visit in D-FW

Trennt Rhea, Photo Editor

Plates clattering, bacon sizzling and people conversing are the exact sounds produced from a unique American experience: the 24-hour diner.

From the neon lights and vinyl booths of classic diners to the modern decor of contemporary restaurants, 24-hour diners have evolved since they first started. Despite COVID-19 and many societal challenges of the past few years, 24-hour diners remain a beloved American establishment.

For decades, 24-hour diners have been a staple in American culture. They offer a place for people who stay up all night, early risers in the morning to come grab a plate or for students who need to stay late to study. For some customers, the 24-hour diner is more than just a place to grab a late-night meal. It is a social hub, a gathering place for friends and family to catch up over coffee, pancakes, waffles, bacon and eggs.

There are many 24-hour options to choose from in Dallas. You can always go to Whataburger or any late night fast food restaurant. You can even go and get snacks from QuickTrip. All of these places are convenient but lack the one thing that makes 24-hour diners great: a social connection. Fortunately, residents in D-FW have three great options that offer the classic 24-hour dining experience.


Metro Diner

2316 W Davis Street

Dallas, TX 75208

Metro Diner began as a chain in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1938 and is now a Dallas staple. The Diner did not receive the same level of success as Waffle House as a chain, but this does not diminish the many qualities it has.

Metro Diner features a more retro look with black and white square patterns on the exterior of the building, red and black booth seats and plastic red and white menus.

The food also sets Metro Diner apart, with classic bacon, eggs, pancakes, hash browns, fried chicken and waffles their extensive menu.

During the midday shift, chef Jimmie Jewel Joneson stays busy with orders from customers. “People eat with their eyes,” Joneson said.

“If you slap that food on that plate, they might not eat it,” Joneson said. “But if you take the time to cook it like you’re supposed to, they’ll sit there and eat everything on the plate… I try to put enough on everybodys plate so they’ll be full.”

Metro Diner gives the distinct ambience of what a 24-hour diner should be and epitomizes a piece of American culture.


J’s Breakfast & Burgers

14925 Midway Road #105

Addison, TX 75001

J’s Breakfast & Burgers gives you a more straightforward 24-hour dining experience. This independent diner has been serving breakfast and burgers since they first opened in 1982. They now have 25 employees working three different shifts.

With cream colored walls, red chairs and green booth seats, J’s makes you feel as if you traveled back to when American diners were making their way toward landmark status. They even allow smoking. This is a no-nonsense diner that gives you a sense of familiarity with affordable prices. As their name suggests, the menu is breakfast and burgers.

Samantha Lynn Beckner, a midday shift waitress, said she believes J’s is a perfect example of what a 24-hour diner should be. “We are the greasy spoon,” she said. “We want to give our customers lots of food and lots of happiness. We are here to feed them so they are happy.”

Beckner said she loves the uniqueness of J’s and how it is different from chains and franchises. “We are a small business, not a franchise,” Beckner said. “If you don’t act right, we’ll yell at you. We have generations of faithful customers, and we allow smoking.”


Waffle House

14951 Marsh Lane

Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Waffle House, the iconic Southern diner chain, has been a fixture on the culinary landscape for over 65 years. Known for its iconic yellow sign and being open 24/7, the chain has established itself as a cultural representation of the South.

Because of Waffle House’s accessibility, people flock to it when everything else is closed. As soon as you walk in, Waffle House feels like home. The aroma, atmosphere and food remind you of a time when you had no troubles. You feel the same thing at 3 a.m. or at 6 p.m.

Going with friends or family exemplifies this feeling, It feels as though you are creating a memory.

Thomas Krueger, a salesperson and master grill operator, has  been working at Waffle House for less than a year while still in high school. “One thing I like about this place, whether I work here or not, is the atmosphere,” Krueger said. “I like the diner atmosphere where you actually have to sit down and enjoy a meal instead of getting your food in a paper bag and drive off.”

He said, “I can get a cup of coffee and I can bring my laptop in and do some work at 9 a.m. in the morning or at 2 a.m. in the morning.”