Classics Revisited: Tastee Diner

The restaurant world is notoriously fickle, but these15 places—all a half century old or more—have withstood the test of time.
Customers have been visiting this Silver Spring institution for pancakes, burgers, and grilled cheese since 1946. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Diners nowadays can be fancy affairs, stylized takes on a nostalgic past that never was. Tastee Diner doesn’t have to work to take you back in time—you really believe you’ve been magically transported to the ’60s. The beef isn’t hormone-free. The fries aren’t hand-cut. Nothing is local or seasonal. And the room! Not only is it neon-free and as colorless as a cafeteria, but the jukebox isn’t chrome and every song that blasts from its speakers seems to warble just a little.

There’s comfort in settling in for a meal that will be exactly what you imagine. The griddled burgers summon memories of state fairs. The BLT is better than most gussied-up versions: layers of crisp bacon, cool lettuce, and a thick smear of mayo on simple toasted white bread. It’s impossible to resist the slab of chocolate cake—dense, fudgy, and far more satisfying than what passes for cake at finer establishments.

Open daily 24 hours.

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