Show Love (and Support) for Your Favorite Greasy Spoon

Nominate your favorite diners for funding in a new initiative from Heinz.

April 28, 2020

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Photo by: Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

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Restaurants are often referred to as “third places,” because they’re where folks gather and connect, whether they’re celebrating a milestone or simply having a cup of coffee. Diners occupy a special place within the restaurant landscape — you know the ones, like the mom-and-pop joint that’s been a neighborhood fixture for decades, or the lunch counter where you’ve grabbed burgers and malts since you were a kid, or that greasy spoon that serves breakfast all day. Like many independent restaurants, diners have found creative ways to pivot to take-out, but their long-term future is in jeopardy.

Heinz, the ketchup brand that has been a fixture on diners’ Formica tables and lunch counters across the country, is committing $1 million to help support these local cornerstones of your communities. The “Heinz for Diners” Covid-19 relief initiative will award $2,000 grants to help cover rent and operating costs for 500 qualifying, independently owned diners. Consumers can nominate their favorite diner to receive a one-time grant by visiting, now through May 31 or until all grants have been awarded.

“For decades, diners’ doors have been open to all of us,” said Dalia Adler, Heinz’s brand-building lead, in a press release. “At a time where every bit counts, we want to do what we can to help take care of these special places that are so much more to our families than just a restaurant.” It’s part of several initiatives

Kraft Heinz has launched, including millions globally to help with food security, and the #WeGotYouAmerica campaign to celebrate the thousands of American employees working around the clock in its manufacturing facilities to keep food on tables.

For a virtual visit to the best diners in every state, flip through our 50 States of Diners gallery.

For more nostalgia-tinged comfort, head to the Food Network Kitchen app to cook along with chefs as they create dishes inspired by Diners, Dive-Ins and Dives in a special 11-class series.

Looking for recipe inspiration? Try your hand at some of our favorite diner-inspired dishes, all served with a hearty helping of comfort.

For breakfast, serve a stack of our Best Buttermilk Pancakes, whisk your way to Simple Scrambled Eggs, or roll up Ree’s Awesome Breakfast Burritos, which live up to their name thanks to a trio of bacon, sausage and ham, and a one-two punch of diced green chiles and store-bought salsa verde.

For brunch-inspired vibes, try Trisha’s Black Pepper Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, Corned Beef Hash with Poached Eggs or Amanda’s Sweet Hot Fried Chicken and Waffles (as seen on American Diner Revival). Pair with sides like Garlic Home Fries or Ina’s sweet-savory Maple-Roasted Bacon.

In a sandwich rut? Shake up your lunch routine with a Classic Club Sandwich (don’t skip the third slice of bread!), Rachael’s Diner-Style Hot Turkey Sandwiches (bonus round: leftover turkey and gravy can be used to make her Turkey Club Enchilada Casserole), or Nancy Fuller’s Hot Pressed Reuben, generously daubed with a kicked up Russian dressing.

For dinner, you can’t beat diner staples like Ree’s Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy, our fall-apart-tender Best Pot Roast, or Classic Meatloaf, which can be made with the ground meat of your choice. For the kids, whip up fan favorites like Trisha’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese (pro tip: opt for ridged noodles, all the better for the cheesy sauce to cling to), Melissa’s picky-eater-approved Homemade Chicken Nuggets or Rachael’s Spaghetti and Meatballs, which comes together in just 35 minutes.

Wash it all down with Ayesha’s Grown-Up Chocolate Malted Milkshake (omit the coffee liqueur to make it kid-friendly) and save room for a slice of pie, which we highly recommend pairing with a cuppa the next morning. Opt for classic flavors like Chocolate Silk, Lemon Meringue, or get the best of two worlds with our Banana Cream Pie with Coconut Crust.

These flavors should tide you over until you’re back in your favorite diner booth again.

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