Old Lighthouse Diner, Bristol TN

Marie writes… Sometimes you know before you even see the lobby that you won’t want to eat the free breakfast at your hotel. Sometimes you have a place already in mind that wouldn’t change your decision even if the hotel has the breakfast buffet to end all buffets. In this case, both were true.

We were in Bristol for a short visit, and although my husband isn’t a big breakfast fan he knows that I like to have a little something in the mornings, and besides which, if we don’t feed the boy well in the mornings he will turn into Mr. Monster before lunch. So he found this delightful place where we got a good meal that, although substantial (I didn’t finish my portion) wasn’t quite enough for my son’s hollow leg. Sometimes the boy eats one bite, and sometimes he eats everything he can reach. This was an everything he can reach sort of day; he even impressed the server.

I was delighted to see the image of Mighty Mouse and Popeye on the wall of the Old Lighthouse Diner as we came up from the parking lot. I’m not sure exactly how many people recognize Mighty Mouse any more, but there he is, carrying a burger by the lighthouse next to the entrance. My father and I used to watch old cartoons like Mighty Mouse and Super Chicken together, and while Old Lighthouse is not actually all that old, at least under current management, it definitely has the vintage decor. It’s light-hearted and fun. They of course had obligatory Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, but there were enough movie posters and the like that they weren’t too prominent.

Old Lighthouse Diner is not actually all that old, as it started around 2007. There was a scare around 2012 that it was going to be closed due to a land auction, but they weren’t affected – however, they were apparently given a good idea of how much people enjoyed them as they reportedly had quite a few people calling to find out what they were doing to do!

It’s just as well we hadn’t made plans to take the hotel free breakfast, as it was essentially cold cereal and milk and coffee. Instead, we had an excellent meal served by smiling waitstaff. I even let my boy have bacon if he promised to eat it up before starting anything else, which he thought was quite a treat. He had to explain very seriously to the server how special this was. I think it might have been maybe the second time he’d ever been allowed bacon while at the same table with me.

We love family run places, and we found that the dad runs the grill while the other family members handle the guests. He also makes bread, and the special for the day of our visit included french toast made with his honey wheat bread. Honey wheat is my favorite, so I ordered that, and was pleased. I’d have liked to try a few other things on the menu, but we had things to do and places to be and had to move along.

Old Lighthouse Diner
2520 W State St
Bristol, TN 37620

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