Maybe you're looking for a mid-morning breakfast. Or maybe a midnight snack. Either way, here are our top nine favorite "greasy spoon" restaurants in Greater Cincinnati.
1. Anchor Grill
The "Marauders" crew loved this place, with its kitschy decor, late hours and traditional diner offerings. If you want goetta, this is the place to get it: crispy and delicious inside a cheese omelet or simply alongside eggs. It's cash only, so be sure to gather your change before stopping by after a night of carousing (or filming). 438 W. Pike St., Covington.
From the collection of Pez dispensers to the tables that belong in "Mad Men," Sugar n' Spice is a busy place on a Sunday morning, with people clamoring over wispy-thin pancakes. They feed you while you're waiting -- no one goes hungry here -- with bites of deep-fried macaroni and cheese. Health conscious? No. But after a bite of those pancakes, you'll be OK with that. 4381 Reading Road, Paddock Hills.
Sure, it's known for its chili, but you also can get a great burger, such as the Big Sam (imagine a Big Boy or Big Mac, but bigger and juicier), eggs, pancakes, goetta and sandwiches. (And the Cincinnati touch of a coney or a 3-way, too.) It's open till 1 a.m. and reopens at 6 a.m.; regardless of whether it's an early morning or a late night, you're covered. 4920 Glenway Ave., Price Hill.
4. Pepper Pod
Open 24 hours? Check. Smoky haze? Check. This is the quintessential greasy spoon. It serves both breakfast and dinner, including meatloaf and mac and cheese. (And this time of year, Pepper Pod offers killer pumpkin pancakes as a special.) This is comfort food whenever you want it, just a hop, skip and jump over the river into Newport. 703 Monmouth St., Newport.
5. Proud Rooster
Nestled into the Gaslight District in Clifton, this is the kind of place that has regulars who sit at the same table every day, ordering the same dish while chatting with the same server they've had for years. There's a sense of community here, which is unique considering how transient Clifton, with its colleges and hospitals, can be. It's only open for breakfast and lunch, but the home fries, spicy goetta and fried chicken will hit the spot between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Don't bring a credit card: This mom-and-pop joint is cash only. 345 Ludlow Ave., Clifton.
6. The Echo
This is the least greasy of the greasy spoons. Located in Hyde Park, it attracts its share of health nuts, as well as hangover-nursers and families. It feels like it's from the '50s, but the menu has updated items (and old favorites) for everyone to enjoy. Speaking of favorites, try the Glier's German Greats breakfast (potato cakes, goetta and baked apples), the Flying Pig (ham-and-cheese-stuffed French toast) and a variety of omelets. Need some hair of the dog? It also has a full bar. 3510 Edwards Road, Hyde Park.
I swear, the ladies who work here are the same ones that served my mom when she came down to Mabley and Carew with her mom. This restaurant attracts hotel guests, businesspeople and families (particularly during the holidays). Grab a burger (there are veggie burgers, too), a handmade milkshake, an omelet or coconut cake in its friendly, retro atmosphere. 441 Vine St., Downtown.
8. Blue Jay
Northside has a gem in Blue Jay. It's conveniently located on Hamilton Avenue and open 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday -- and it's a shame it's not open for Sunday brunch. Blue Jay serves classic breakfast dishes in old-school surroundings, complete with wood paneling and, of course, blue jays. Biscuits and gravy, eggs, goetta and home fries are on the menu, and you can get home-baked pie, too. 4154 Hamilton Ave., Northside.
It has been popular for decades, with Husman's plant employees 30 years ago and with a cross-section of Cincinnati now -- from priests to politicians, to DINKs to college students, to the homeless. Unfortunately, it isn't currently open. A few months ago, a fire destroyed the kitchen. The owners plan to reopen the restaurant, though, and you can be a part of it! You can buy gift cards for Tucker's here and in person at The City Flea. 1637 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine.