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If there are no tables available at Old New Diner in Tachikawa, Japan, guests can sit and wait on this classic car-inspired bench.

If there are no tables available at Old New Diner in Tachikawa, Japan, guests can sit and wait on this classic car-inspired bench. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)

If there are no tables available at Old New Diner in Tachikawa, Japan, guests can sit and wait on this classic car-inspired bench.

If there are no tables available at Old New Diner in Tachikawa, Japan, guests can sit and wait on this classic car-inspired bench. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)

Old New Diner offers hamburgers, sandwiches and grilled dishes in Tachikawa, not far from Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Old New Diner offers hamburgers, sandwiches and grilled dishes in Tachikawa, not far from Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)

The American burger at Old New Diner in Tachikawa, Japan, was thick, juicy, delicious, and held together by a long metal skewer.

The American burger at Old New Diner in Tachikawa, Japan, was thick, juicy, delicious, and held together by a long metal skewer. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)

Old New Diner is an unassuming little eatery in Tachikawa, not far from Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo.

It’s tucked into the first-floor corner of a building that’s indistinguishable from those around it. If I hadn’t been looking for it, I might never have spotted it.

This place has some of the thickest, tastiest burgers I’ve eaten.

A sign over the entrance promises burgers, sandwiches, steak fries, grill plates, Tex-Mex, apple pie, coffee, shakes, beer and other alcohol. There’s a vintage gas pump and a statue of a burger, which sticks its tongue out and looks like something out of the 1902 sci-fi film “A Trip to the Moon.”

Old New Diner is cozy, but I counted seating for 23 guests plus a small waiting bench made from the rear of a classic 1950s car.

I felt like I could take my time with the menu or randomly point at something and it would probably be good. The cheapest burgers were in the 1,200- to 1,300-yen range (about $11), and the most expensive was about 2,000 yen ($17.60).

I ordered the “American” burger for the equivalent of $15. They allowed me to custom order the way it was cooked and the toppings, which isn’t always an option at Japanese restaurants.

As I waited for my food, a soundtrack of early rock ’n’ roll and rockabilly from the ’50s and early ’60s played in the background.

My burger turned out to be a bacon teriyaki double cheeseburger, and it was excellent. The teriyaki flavor was a surprise at first but not an unwelcome one. The bacon was chewy and not too hard.

You know a burger is going to be good if they stab a toothpick into the sandwich, not for decoration, but to keep it from falling apart. At the Old New Diner they use foot-long metal skewers to hold their burgers together. They even provide paper sleeves to hold your towering meat edifice, which can get messy as it disintegrates between your fingers.

A small side of steak fries was included with my lunch set. They were well seasoned and tasty.

I also ordered a strawberry milkshake to wash down my food. It was good, but not worth the 750 yen ($6.60) I paid for it.

The Old New Diner is a great little hole-in-the-wall place. I can’t speak for anything but the burgers, but if the other food is half as good as they are, it’ll be worth a visit.

cook.leon@stripes.com

Old New Diner Location: A block away from the intersection of Route 16 and Route 145 in Tachikawa. About 500 yards from Nishi-Kunitachi Station.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays and holidays; closed Mondays

Prices: Expect to spend about 1,500 to 2,000 yen per person (about $13-$18).

Dress: Casual

Information: 042-512-9864; www.oldnewdiner.jp

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