Flavor: All the food that goes great with the cigarette you will most certainly smoke after eating it. You’re not living if haven’t tried a GLT (goetta, lettuce and tomato sandwich) at least once. Traditional breakfast food makes up most of the menu: fried eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy and, of course, goetta in just about everything.
Flair: This is the place to stumble into around 3 a.m. when the bar closes and the heathens are hungry. The jukeboxes located at each table ignite a unique form of entertainment (aside from aforementioned heathens) from a miniature electronic band featuring Barbie and Ken. Winner of “Best 24/7 Restaurant.”
438 Pike St., Covington, 859-431-9498. Open 24/7. $4-$12.
Flavor: A breakfast, lunch and dinner spot with everything from Eggs Benedict to Turkey Burgers to Homemade Meatloaf dinners. The Echo has weekly specials and always serves up homemade pie.
Flair: Absolutely packed on the weekends, the Echo is a breakfast/brunch favorite. Sit at the counter and watch the servers perform their own ballet as they navigate the service window.
3510 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-321-2816. Open 7 days. $6-$11.
Flavor: The old-fashioned flavors of the soda fountain, including the best darn chocolate shake in town, classic cheeseburgers and their specialty salad with a scoop of cottage cheese, yogurt, coconut, walnuts, raisins, fruit and apricot dressing, served with a warm cinnamon muffin. Excellent breakfasts and comfort food, including chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese just the way we like it.
Flair: A classic diner with cool vintage boomerang-patterned Formica counters, swiveling stools, lots of chrome and tiles in turquoise and black. There are great historic photos on the walls and vintage music circa Bobby Darin and Ella Fitzgerald.
441 Vine St. in the Carew Tower, Downtown, 513-621-1332. Open Monday-Satureday.
The Hitching Post
Flavor: “World’s Best Fried Chicken” is this diner’s claim to fame, but you should try their outstanding breakfasts — especially Uncle Bubba’s Ultimate Omelet. Try the homemade cream and fruit pies — the banana cream is a best-seller, but the chocolate cream won a CityBeat taste test.
Flair: A family-owned and family-run diner, from Aunt Ruth baking the pies to dad running the register and family photos adorning the walls. Join the VIP list and they’ll send you a birthday treat — just like grandma used to.
2715 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-871-9201. Open Tuesday-Sunday. $4-$13.
Flavor: This old-school diner serves huge double-decker sandwiches, good chili and cheese coneys and all-day breakfast.
Flair: Tucked into a strip-mall, this is a no-frills diner with lots of regulars and quick service. Cozy up in a booth for comforting food in a family-friendly atmosphere.
6159 Glenway Ave., Westwood, 513-661-2260. Open Monday-Saturday. $5-$8.
Flavor: All the food is homemade here, and so is the staff, with several of founder Eddie Barton’s grandsons now working at the restaurant, located in Newport since 1970. The menu includes chili, mozzarella cheese sticks, meatloaf, potato soup with cheddar cheese and all-day breakfast. Better still, it’s open 24 hours a day, so it doesn’t matter if you want your breakfast at 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. The meatloaf goes quickly in the evening.
Flair: The wall-to-wall fluorescent lights are really bright, the kitchen is a whirlwind and friendly waitresses do laps around the center island to get to their tables. Specials are magic-markered on paper and stuck to the wall.
703 Monmouth St., Newport, 859-431-7455. Open 24/7. $2-$8.
Flavor: With a giant rooster on the roof, you know it’s all about the chicken around here. Get it any way you like — even Cajun-style, cordon bleu or teriyaki. There are other options (filet mignon, barbecued pork ribs and the popular Oktoberfest Sauerbraten), but whatever you get, leave room for some hot bacon slaw, mock turtle soup and homemade cream pie.
Flair: This West Side institution has been around since Kennedy was president. Inside, this mom-and-pop joint is filled with poultry décor and sports memorabilia, but there’s almost always a wait (they sell over 10,000 pieces of their famous fried chicken a week!), so come early or stop by late to avoid the rush.
3853 Race Road, Bridgetown, 513-574-0222. Open 7 days. $10-$20.
Flavor: Solid, Midwestern staples for hungry, working people. Features a full breakfast menu complete with a variety of omelets, hot cakes and “The Classic” (eggs, home fries, goetta — the works!). Well known for its hearty, fresh food, with the best vegetarian omelet and deluxe hash browns this side of hash heaven. The owners buy most of their products at nearby Findlay Market. Try the Big Tucker, a double-decker burger with cheese and special sauce. Other standbys include biscuits and gravy and the fried cod sandwich. Daily specials and dessert selections make Tucker’s a reliable lunch counter standby.
Flair: Step back in time to a place where folks hunkered over a counter to gulp hot coffee before heading out to put in a day of backbreaking work. Grandma Tucker is still there in her green apron and “I <3 USA” shirt. A vibrant piece of history, Tucker’s has been a fixture on Vine Street since 1949. It’s definitely no-frills and very high on atmosphere, with lots of regulars and walls hung with memorabilia from the past half-century.
1637 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-7123. Open Monday-Saturday. $4-$7.