UPDATE: During my visit on 19 February 2012, I discovered the restaurant is now called Springs Diner. I had another patty melt and it was still good.Within walking distance of the boardwalk, pier and typical Daytona Beach junk shops is the Starlite Diner, 401 North Atlantic Avenue. Featuring a medium-sized menu with breakfast, burgers, sandwiches and homestyle dinners, the Starlite sits in the shadow of modern condominium skyrises but maintains its charm with stainless steel and neon. I recommend the patty melt sandwich with fries, but also enjoyed the breakfast plate with ham steak, eggs, homefries and toast. A few blocks south is Hog Heaven Bar-B-Q, 37 North Atlantic Avenue. Like the Starlite Diner, Hog Heaven does a swift lunch business due in part to the nearby hotels with meeting spaces. The service was prompt and professional regardless. The menu includes BBQ favorites like beef, chicken, ribs and pork. I enjoyed the pulled pork lunch plate with fries, cole slaw and garlic bread. The indoor dining area is nice enough, but I recommend a table in the covered outdoor area. Two-hundred fifty miles to the south and not far from Fort Lauderdale beach is Lester's Diner, 250 West State Road 84. From their large menu of classic dishes, I took a chance on and was pleasantly surprised with the open-faced roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and corn. This diner classic is often fatty and drowning in gravy, but this version was great. The building was looking a little worn at the time and the waitress was grumpy, but good roast beef goes a long way. Down the street is the must-visit Old Heidelberg German Restaurant, 900 State Road 84. Featuring a comprehensive menu of old world favorites and import beer, Old Heidelberg is quaint, dimly lit and heavily decorated with art and beer steins. I still have dreams about the Oktoberfest combo: bratwurst, thüringer, knockwurst, smoked pork chop, meatball and kielbasa with red cabbage, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. The waiter was polite and attentive, plus the live accordion player was a nice touch. If you really enjoy your meal, walk next door and pick-up some sausages and meat from the Old Heidelberg Deli, which features the products served in the restaurant and much more. Please note it has been around five years since I last visited the Starlite Diner, Hog Heaven Bar-B-Q, Lester's Diner and Old Heidelberg. If you have more recent experiences, please share them.
Photo Credit: David July