Neighborhood Gem: Diner

Everybody wishes Diner was in their neighborhood

Last month, Tasting Table asked readers for their favorite neighborhood gems. Now we're introducing the winning picks.

At Diner, the burger is all.

It's the only constant on the menu since this South Williamsburg institution opened on the last day of 1998.

The famous Diner burger | Looking into the restaurant

"Having the burger and selling enough of them made us question our thought process, which eventually transformed the whole business towards whole animal buying and allowed us to open Marlow & Daughters," says owner Andrew Tarlow.

Follow the transformative burger, for which the meat is ground daily, and you can even start to make out the branches of the large family tree that has grown out of this restaurant group's graduates: Caroline Fidanza with Saltie, and her new venture in the Gotham West Market. The Meat Hook boys. The list goes on.

The sign | Owner Andrew Tarlow

So what's changed about the Diner burger of 1998? Tarlow's new bakery venture She Wolf Bakery (look for a brick-and-mortar location in 2014) now makes the sesame buns the restaurant uses. But for a restaurant group that can now point to 11 separate ventures on the bottom of each of its websites, "Diner still holds a special place in everybody's heart," says Tarlow.

Unique from the get-go, Diner is located in a in a train-car like Kullman diner car from the twenties on a corner wedged underneath the Williamsburg Bridge. Tarlow's characterization of the neighborhood as once "super-desolate" now couldn't be farther from the truth.

Window dining | A big bowl of soup

Diner starts and ends with a focus on simple, everyday American eating, and the daily changing menu is always a sure bet–from perfectly plated salads to the spot-on seasoning on the steak.

For a restaurant that opened on New Year's Eve, it makes sense that every visit here feels like a celebration.

Our other favorite South Williamsburg Neighborhood Gems: Potlikker, Rye, Roebling Tea Room and Marlow & Sons