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retro diner birthday party menu and food buffet

Take a blast to the past with this adorable Retro Diner Birthday Party! Flavia from fête à fête created this playful, 50’s-inspired celebration for her son’s birthday – and from a yummy milkshake bar and ice cream bar to mini chicken pot pies and baskets of turkey burgers & sweet potato fries – she definitely included all the signature diner menu “specialities”!

In addition to the fabulous retro lunch spread, I’m loving the use of polka dots, checkerboard, stripes, and retro fonts that really help bring the throwback atmosphere to life. And in addition to cute mini gumball machines, guests got to take home extra food and cake in super cute customized “takeout food” tins.

retro diner party red cabbage slaw and burger and fries baskets

retro diner birthday party decorations and gumball machine party favors

retro diner themed food - burgers, sandwiches, red cabbage slaw

retro soda shoppe milk bottles with stripey straws

retro diner stools and retro birthday party favorsretro birthday party gumball machine favors

retro diner birthday party milkshakes, jukebox, and vinyl record coasters

retro diner party chafing dish party takeout boxes


PARTY DETAILS, as told by Flavia

For this party, I wanted to recreate the ambiance of a 50’s diner and soda shop to celebrate my son’s 4th birthday. The colors I went with for the Retro Diner birthday party theme were red, blue and a checkered black & white pattern.

We combined retro looking decorating items we already had at home with new ones such as a replica jukebox, a soda fountain-style drink mixer and traditional red diner barstools. I used red & aqua digital papers from Great Graphics throughout the decoration, and red and turquoise striped paper straws for the drinks. I spread out a checkered table cover on a buffet table and set up an ice cream and milkshake bar.

I also made typical food served at a diner (with a “healthy” twist): turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, white turkey chili, whole wheat smoked mac & cheese, mini chicken pies, etc (a good thing these happen to be some of the kids’ favorites as well!) Instead of using plates for the food, we served them in (reusable) plastic baskets (found at Crate & Barrel and Michaels.)

We had mini gum ball machines for the party favors and as guests arrived, we handed them soda shop jerk paper hats, “nerd” glasses for the boys and cat eye glasses for the girls. I also customized takeout containers for guests to take leftover food and cake home.

Vendor Credit
  • Styling: Flavia from fête à fête
  • Digital papers: Great Graphics
  • Old vinyl records: Just for Grins
  • Paper straws (red): Kawaii Goodies
  • Paper straws (aqua): Pink Lemonade Party 
  • Paper baking cups: In the Clear
  • Fabric covering on takeout board lids: Sew Deerly Loved
  • Red and Turquoise Ric Rac Trim (for the milkshake bottles): By The Yard Ribbons
  • Gum ball machines, retro “Eat” tin sign, ice-cream holder and malted drink mixer: Amazon
  • Milkshake glasses, french fry holder and red food baskets: Crate & barrel
  • Vintage jukebox: eBay
  • Reusable “diner” totes and blue food baskets: Michael’s
  • “Nerd” and “cat eye/50’s” glasses (frames): Grim Reapers
  • Cake: Whole Foods Bakery