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Types of Restaurants You’ll See When Travelling in America

While going on vacation and travelling is very fun and exciting, there can also be some stressful moments as well. With so many kinds of restaurants in the United States, trying to figure out how to order food in different places can be very confusing (even to Americans!).

Photo  waferboard  via Flickr

Photo waferboard via Flickr


Diners are known for serving standard American foods such as pancakes, eggs, and homefries in the morning and salads, soups, sandwiches and steaks for lunch and dinner. When you walk in, there will either be a host or hostess to greet you or you should look for a “Please Wait To Be Seated” sign and wait by it until a staff member sees you. The person who seats you may or may not be your server, who will come over to your table to get your orders. Don’t forget to tip!


While cafes are associated with coffees and teas, most will also have a small food menu. Most will serve pastries and oatmeal for breakfast, and sandwiches and a few soups and salads for lunch and dinner. To order your food you will walk up to the counter that the employees are behind. However, getting your food and drinks can be a little confusing. Usually you are expected to get your drink from the counter when they yell out either your name, the name of the drink, or the number assigned to your order. At some places, the employees will give you a card that you put on your table, and then they will bring your food out to you.

Bar and Grills
This type of restaurant is the place to go to for an authentic American experience. Many grills have a sports theme, and serve foods like burgers, pizza, chicken wings, and a variety of soups and sandwiches. The “bar” part of the name means that they serve beer, and possibly a few wines. If you are with a small group of people, you can sit at the bar where you will be served, or you can choose to be seated (by a host/hostess) at a table or booth where a server will come to you.

Casual Dining

This group of restaurants are a mix of fast food and a typical restaurant or diner (some examples of this are Chipotle, Panera Bread, or Au Bon Pain). The food varies depending on the restaurant, but is usually seen as better quality than most fast food. At some places, you order food at a counter and then it is delivered to you, similar to a café. At others, you order food on slips of paper that list your options. There may be different papers for different items (one paper for sandwiches, one paper for salads, etc.), so if you cannot find a certain food you may need to look for other ones. After you fill out the paper and write your name on top, you hand the paper to an employee who will prepare your food. If your food is not on dishes that you can throw out, you are expected to clean off your plate into the trash and then stack the dishes on a shelf on in a bin above the trash can.



Sydney Weidler is a sophomore (2nd year) student studying Nutrition and Dietetics at Messiah College, and is one of the virtual interns at America House this year! She loves travelling, reading, and baking, as well as playing the oboe and spending time with friends and family.

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