John’s City Diner (Birmingham, Al)
First, did you know it’s International Waffle Day? It’s the perfect day to celebrate at a diner…
When I relocated to Alabama, I knew I had to go to John’s City Diner (Birmingham). It has been consistently named one of Alabamas best diners. Making the time to get to the diner is tough.
For a diner, it has odd hours including not being open on Sundays and only open for dinner on Saturdays. So yes, John’s City Diner is not open for breakfast on weekends. Due to my schedule, I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to make it to Johns City Diner at all.
Johns City Diner is located right in downtown Birmingham. Since it’s in the downtown, it’s located in a row of buildings and not the usual stand-alone diner you see.
The outside has a big sign that says, Johns. There isn’t a lot from the outside that screams diner. In fact, it’s easy to miss Johns City Diner unless you’re looking for it. I ran by it twice during the Drum Run and had no idea.
The inside is painted to match a diner atmosphere. There are several booths and tables. There is an awkward bar in the corner, but it doesn’t appear to be used much. There is a large diner room with plenty of booths and tables.
The waitress seemed preoccupied or as if she was having a bad day. Even though we got there at opening (5 pm), it took a while for our table to receive food and drinks.
The menu at Johns City Diner is limited. Johns City Diner is known for their comfort food and they have everything from garlicky spinach to meatload with all-natural gravy.
There is a single page of food, and they are well known for their mac and cheese as well as chicken and waffles. I had been very excited to try their chicken and waffles, but when we went, they were out of chicken. To be honest, I was disappointed but what can you do.
For an appetizer, we ordered the fancy bacon which was bacon with grits. It was a small portion, but the bacon and grits were delicious. It was rich and while small, quite filling. It was some of the best grits I’ve had!
Because they were out of chicken and waffles, I ordered the pork chops. I was pleasantly surprised because it was a huge portion of pork chops. I was expecting a smaller size. The pork chops at Johns City Diner were delicious and cooked perfectly. It also came with a large portion of sweet potatoes and garlicky spinach. I enjoyed both.
I was disappointed Johns City Diner was out of their signature menu item, but the food was still good. I was able to go again right before we left and ordered the chicken and waffles. Johns City Diner is farm to table and they use Natural Creekstone farms beef, Maple Leaf Farms Duck, and Springer Mountain Farms Chicken. It was by far the best chicken and waffles I’ve had to date. The chicken portion was actually bigger than the waffle!
For my coffee, the appetizer, entree, and dessert the cost was $40. It was pricey for a diner, but I’m not sure I would classify Johns City Diner as a diner.
Overall thoughts/ Summary:
I liked Johns City Diner, but I was extremely disappointed they were out of the chicken and waffles. If I’m in Birmingham, I would like to come back, but with their limited weekend hours, I don’t know if that’s possible.
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Questions for you:
Where is the best place you’ve had chicken and waffles?
Has a restaurant ever been out of something you were excited to order?