Lester's Diner: The Place to Pull an All-Nighter

Categories: Cheap Eats
Melissa McCart
"How's it going, hon?" said Dawn to a regular who walked into Lester's at 5 a.m.

"Still vertical and still employed," he returned. They continued the morning volley as she readied his tea.

"With lemon?" she asked, knowing the answer. Dawn indulged the formality. It was hospitable. They talked about the holidays, the first in years the diner that's been around since 1967 will be open on Christmas.

 "I'm working that day," she said, as Billy Joel sang "Honesty" on the radio.

At a table, a trio of beefy guys hoovered plates of bacon, sausage, eggs, and home fries. "I feel like I'm doing the walk of shame every time I take money out of my savings," one confessed. Like the lone regular, they're focused on jobs and money.

Back in the kitchen, the baker wrapped up his morning's work, having finished his shift by displaying trays of coconut macaroons, sticky buns, and fruit danishes. The cakes were just made, too, the ones that spun in the 50's display, decadent tributes to the genre.

I was just there for the scenery and to power through a bout of insomnia. Diners remind me of my dad, who has gone to a diner just about every day of his life for as long as I can remember. He is the quintessential regular. He might have a problem here in South Florida, since no one seems to carry an actual newspaper anymore. Remind me to grab him one. I'm picking him up at the airport today.

Despite that the diner is open 24 hours, things were just getting going for the breakfast hour at Lester's.


A Spartan breakfast.



A sample of cakes on the revolving racks.


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Location Info

Lester's Diner

250 State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: Restaurant

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ted anthony inserra
ted anthony inserra

was in Lester's (very close by) the other pm/am.....had the pastrami sand,,,,,great at the time...always thought the small jukebox'es was cool, i am a long time juke box junkie...if anyplace has one, i'm playing it!


I love your writing melissa. I write a foodie blog as well and am looking to increase my readership and solicit tips of the trade from seasoned writers. I would love if you checked me out and told me what you think-www.ps561.com-Aaron


In my early 20s, I lived close enough to walk here. I spent many late night/early morning eating here. Sometimes dinner, sometimes breakfast. I've celebrated special occasions at Lester's. It's been a couple of years since I've been, but I always feel welcome. Never had bad service or bad food there.


I can see why you went so often. I fell in love with the place. World of difference from The Floridian: more local it seems, and a slew of other contrasts. Thanks for your comment, Erin.

Erin Lee
Erin Lee

You're welcome. Not sure if anyone told you, but there's one out west. It's not as good as the one on 84, but it's a good substitute.They were open last Christmas day, and my son and I had breakfast there before a road trip to central Florida. Perfect way to spend the morning!

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