Colorado Diners West of 105
Denny's in Cortez gets an honorable mention because it is such a great example of an old school diner. Photo: Rita B. via Yelp
An enduring symbol of American culture, the diner represents something familiar and homey. Simple and affordable food (and, let’s be honest, usually awful coffee), they date back to the start of the 20th Century and were popular during the Great Depression with other resurgences coming after the end of World War II and again during the 1970s. Immortalized in the arts with paintings like Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” and Norman Rockwell’s “The Runaway” putting them center stage, they have also played supporting roles in numerous movies and TV shows, notably “Twin Peaks,” “Seinfeld,” and “Pulp Fiction.”
Here are several Colorado diners West of 105 where you can get a slice of Americana, both literally and figuratively.
19th Street Diner, Glenwood Springs
Opened back in 1986 by Swannie and KG Schwanebeck before being taken over by former staff members Rick and Tonya Wernsmann in 2007, the 19th Street Diner was a hit. Slinging classic diner food—think burgers, sandwiches, soup, salads, as well as breakfast classics like pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and eggs Benedict—as well as a few more unique items such as deep fried French toast.
Oscars Cafe, Durango
A staple in town for almost 40 years, Oscar’s is still a hive of activity where people come together for a chat and a hearty breakfast (French toast, hash browns, homemade biscuits and gravy and no fewer than nine types of omelet) or lunch (Black Angus burgers, salads, chilies, as well as Ruben’s and the diner classic club sandwich). The shakes at Oscar’s have previously been voted the best in town. With red and black floor tiles and neon lighting that lights the way for the model train (a nod to the area’s railroading heritage) that runs around the ceiling, Oscar’s is not easily forgettable!
Johnny B Good’s, Steamboat Springs
Located in the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs, Johnny B. Good’s has a very distinctive 1950s style with murals of movie stars like Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe on the walls. Serving up classic diner fare—chicken fried steaks, biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash, Reubens, and gyros as well as huevos rancheros, burritos—Johnny B good’s also has a good range of cocktails and adult milkshakes as well as classic desserts, pies and banana splits
Eagle Diner, Eagle Colorado Diners
The Eagle diner has a big menu of diner classics of pancakes, burgers, omelets, sandwiches as well as milkshakes and malts. The diner has allegedly welcomed esteemed visitors previously including Shaquille O'Neal and Martha Stewart. The Eagle Diner also offers wine if you’re a drink-wine-at-a-diner kind of person!
The Little Diner, Vail
Located in Vail’s Lionshead Village, The Little Diner is a popular option for breakfast and lunch in Vail. Serving breakfast all day, the bustling diner also has most of the diner classics the other places on our list has. They also have croissant, biscuit and bagel sandwiches, which are less common at other diners. Expect a wait during ski season.
Something of an anomaly on our list as it is part of a national chain, this Denny’s gets an honorable mention because it is so damn cool thanks to its Airstream-like exterior. Inside, it is somewhat retro with the menu being the same as every other Denny’s, which means you can get the Denny’s classic Moons over my Hammy.