Some of my best memories have happened within the walls of diners located all over the United States. Whether laughing and catching up with friends over a piping hot cup of coffee, or soothing my broken heart over a plate of french toast drowned in whipped cream, diners have been a big part of my life and all of the ups and downs along the way.

I will never forget the first time I stepped through the doors of The Village Diner in Johnson City. The decor inside The Village Diner is warm and homey, but the space is tiny. And yet, I discovered that the smallness of the diner is half of it's charm. The other half is the people. From regulars to first timers, not a single person left the diner that day without making a new friend.

Traci Taylor

Some people are just so filled with joy that their happiness sucks a person in and makes them feel like they've been friends for all of their lives, even if they've just met. I was washed over with that feeling as I sat at the counter chatting with and watching head chef, Chantay, as she effortlessly whipped up what would literally turn out to be the best diner food I've ever had anywhere in all of my life.

In 2013, The Village Diner was bought by Matt Smith, former owner of Wolfies Ice Cream in Endicott. Smith has a passion for food and for people and that means that it's not just taste-buds that are gripped at The Village Diner, but also hearts. The food, from Bananas Foster French toast to stuffed burgers, is crammed with love. So much love that the tiny little Village Diner has caught the attention of road-trippers, foodies, and food critics worldwide.

Traci Taylor

In May of 2017, The Village Diner was named the best diner in New York State by MSN. In June of this year, New York Upstate awarded the diner the title of Best Burger in Upstate New York, and also in June of this year, Travel and Leisure Magazine named The Village Diner one of the very best diners in the entire United States (the diner came in at #21) in an article titled "The 25 Best Diners in the U.S."

One might think that all of the national attention would go to a person's head, but Smith remains as humble as ever. As a matter of fact, despite the exploding popularity of the diner, Smith, a father of three, has kept the diner hours the same, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday. The reason? It's simple, really. Family. In all things, family comes first to Smith and in my opinion, that makes The Village Diner even more attractive than any award or list ranking ever will.

[via New York State Upstate/Travel and Leisure Magazine/MSN]