Dubbed the Diner Capital of the World, New Jersey has more diners than any other state. And because it’s also one of the most diverse states in the country, many of these establishments feature dishes from Italian, Greek, Mexican, and other cuisines. It’s difficult to know how many diners are in the state — by some accounts, there are more than 500 — but it’s more clear why New Jersey is such a hot spot for diners.
The automobile industry started to grow in the early 20th century, and as a result, commuters increasingly traveled by car. The route connecting New York and Philadelphia at the time passed through New Jersey. As drivers sped along, they needed places to eat, making roadside diners an important component of travel infrastructure. With bigger roads and better access came new factories, which brought new workers. Those workers were often immigrants who needed filling and affordable food that they could buy at whatever time of day their shifts permitted. Diners met that demand by catering to worker tastes and schedules, sometimes dishing out plates around the clock.
A large percentage of diners were, and still are, run by Greek families. Many Greek immigrants