Retro styling, hand-dipped milkshakes, and a jukebox set to the oldies come together to make the 66 Diner in Albuquerque, NM a Route 66 classic…
If you like classic 1950s diners, bright neon, and good ol’ fashioned rock ’n roll, the 66 Diner is the place for you. An enduring reminder of Albuquerque’s Route 66 heyday, the 66 Diner blends good food and retro vibes for a one-of-a-kind diner experience.
Originally built as a Phillip’s service station along Albuquerque’s then-bustling Route 66, the building found new life as a restaurant in 1987 when it reopened as the 66 Diner. Although a fire destroyed a good portion of the original building in the mid-90s, the 66 Diner still boasts a back dining room in what used to be a mechanic’s bay, and the “new” portions still have the look and feel of a classic 1950s diner.
Neon lights invite guests into what immediately feels like a time warp as the corner jukebox lends a soundtrack of oldies but goodies to the space.
The front room has the distinct feel of a classic diner with a long lunch counter staffed by smiling servers dressed just as they would have decades ago.
While the front room feels like a period-perfect time capsule, our favorite part of the 66 Diner has to be the back room. As we mentioned earlier, it’s one of the original mechanic bays, and they’ve gone to great lengths to keep that service-station vibe alive. From the vintage Plymouth car nose to the glass garage doors, it’s a truly unique space to grab a bite.
Oh, and speaking of food… The 66 Diner’s menu won’t let you down either. Of course, their burgers are excellent, but their menu isn’t just limited to beef and buns. In another nod to days gone by, the diner offers daily “Blue Plate Specials,” ranging from tacos to chicken & dumplings.
And since it’s a true New Mexico restaurant, you’ll find plenty of menu items with the state’s signature green chile.
If you’re an early riser, the diner also has you covered with a full breakfast menu.
All that being said, what really puts the 66 Diner in another league is their milkshakes. Made the old fashioned way, the diner’s shakes, floats, and malts are known throughout the city as some of the best.
Don’t just grab a basic flavor, though. Live a little and try some of their deluxe shakes like the “Pink Cadillac,” a shake with strawberry ice cream and crushed Oreo cookies.
Finally, round up the gang and head out to their wall of kitschy signs for a photo “pile-up.” It’s the perfect spot to commemorate your Route 66 adventure.
Oh, one more thing… This diner is a rocking place, so if you’re bringing in a large group, call(505) 247-1421 and give them a heads up.
In a world of fast-food franchises and run-of-the-mill restaurants, we’re glad places like the 66 Diner in Albuquerque continue to take us back to the 50s and expose entire generations of younger people to the days of Cadillac tail-fins and two-lane blacktop.
1405 Central Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Cover Photo: James Joel/Flickr