Located near the Williamsburg Bridge, when you step into Diner, which inhabits a refurbished 1926-dining car, you’re immediately transported to another era. Diner was one of Williamsburg’s original “hip” dining establishments and has not lost any of its caché. The menu changes frequently, but expect delicious takes on diner classics and traditional American cuisine.
“Handwritten menus” announce the daily roster of “consistently excellent” New American bites (including a “phenomenal” burger) at this “funky” local fixture in Williamsburg; set in a 1920s dining car and overseen by a “knowledgeable” crew, it has a “quintessential hipster” vibe that carries over to the outside seating area.
Andrew Tarlow’s first restaurant is no longer the Southside loner it was when it opened in 1999. These days, it’s credited with creating and typifying the hip, seasonal, and Americana-mining New Brooklyn restaurant. The kitchen’s alumnus list is an all-star team of the Williamsburg restaurant scene — it includes founders of the Commodore, El Cortez, the Meat Hook, Pies ’n’ Thighs, and Saltie — and indirectly spawned a legion of admirers and imitators. Diner, though, at least pretends not to know it, even if the crowd is more well-heeled and maybe a little more foreign. The servers are still effortlessly cool, the floor remains uneven, and specials will forever be written out on a piece of paper tableside by a server who’ll sit down with you, if there’s room, and explain what’s up.
Diner has been a Williamsburg institution for a decade now. Originally built out of necessity by two friends in need of a place to eat, drink and hang out – it soon became not only their home base, but every other recent settler’s home as well. It’s like the hipster Plymouth Rock. As expected, Diner takes the form of, well, a diner. It’s basically a hole in the wall, and if it weren’t for the constant crowds, you’d probably wonder how a place that looks like this stays in business. Everyone inside is most definitely cooler than you, but they don’t think they’re better than you.