Best Diner: Smoke flavors from another era

The Original Hick'ry Pit

If the diner is an American art form, then the Original Hick’ry Pit is an Eames chair, a mixture of quirky and classic that’s easy to slip into. The hash joint’s midcentury vibe survives, despite a bad ’80s makeover that washed the place in teal and grandma pink. Every table is a booth, low enough so you can watch the short-order cooks tend the funnel-shaped, rust-brown pit smoker, a relic that can’t last forever. In the meantime, what emerges from its depths is timeless: hams (along with other meats like ribs and turkey breast) turned genuinely smoky-sweet under the mingled fumes of oak and almond. Smoke infuses the simplest diner plates — like ham and eggs — with character. And talk about artistry: The pungent burr of pit-smoked ham makes even a Denver omelette likable again.

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