BEST DINER (1999)
From the stool closest to the door at the Band Box, you can see the towers of downtown Minneapolis, but this venerable Elliot Park grill seems far away from the harried heart of the business district. A local institution since 1939, the red-and-white oasis comfortably seats 15, and the red countertop lets you watch your burger sizzling on the grill while you catch up on neighborhood scuttlebutt. They don't take checks, but five-dollar gift certificates (!) are available.