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 John’s City Diner. 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 there 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.

Johns City Diner Birmingham

Atmosphere: B
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 the restaurant 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.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed fresh, and the whipped cream was homemade. It was one of the better diner coffee I’ve had recently.Johns City Diner Birmingham

Service: C
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.

Food: B
The menu at Johns City Diner is limited. 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!

Johns City Diner Birmingham

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 were delicious and cooked perfectly. It also came with a large portion of sweet potatoes and garlic spinach. I enjoyed both. Johns City Diner Birmingham

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.  It was by far the best chicken and waffles I’ve had to date.  The chicken portion was actually bigger than the waffle! Johns City Diner Birmingham

Dessert: A
We ordered the white chocolate bread pudding which was perfect. I have no complaints.  I prefer bread pudding that is actually a peice of bread so this fit the bill. Johns City Diner Birmingham

Cost: $$
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 the area, I would like to come back, but with their limited weekend hours, I don’t know if that’s possible.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Service: C
Food: B
Dessert: A
Cost: $20+
Overall: B

Similar Diners: Vincentown, Mastoris

Questions for you:
Were is the best place you’ve had chicken and waffles? 
Has a restaurant ever been out of something you were excited to order?

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Marietta Diner

While visiting Atlanta, I wanted to check out a new diner.  It’s for the blog right?When asking for recommendations, the Marietta Diner kept popping up, so I decided to check it out.  After running the

When asking for recommendations, the Marietta Diner kept popping up, so I decided to check it out.  After running the Polar Bear 5k, I arrived around 11 am.  Every parking space was filled, and I thought it might be a long wait because there were several parties waiting outside. Luckily, they had a small booth for two, and we were immediately sat.

Atmosphere: A
The Marietta Diner has the stereotypical shiny and metallic exterior.  It’s all chrome.  The inside is massive, and it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve ever been too.  It is clean, and despite being busy, no one was sitting on top of each other.

Service: A
The waitress was kind.  She refilled our drinks, and our food was brought out quickly.  Even though it was so busy, we were in and out of the Marietta Diner within an hour.  The speed was impressive!

Coffee: B
Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia The coffee was good, but there was nothing unique about it.  I could have used a larger cup.  Luckily there was plenty of whipped cream.

Food: B
The Marietta Diner has every option you can imagine in a diner.  It would fit right in in New Jersey.  Someone mentioned their Greek food was good so I decided to order a Greek omelet.  I was surprised the Greek Omelet didn’t come with Gyro, so I added that too.

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

The omelet came with hash browns and a biscuit.  The biscuit was delicious.  There was nothing unique about the hashbrowns.  The Omelet itself was good except I found they didn’t add a lot of Gyro meat.  I thought they had forgotten it at first! The food was good but I do wish there was more gyro meat in the omelet.

Dessert: A
The dessert case looked like one of the best dessert cases of any diner. I’m not usually a person who orders dessert at lunch, but I could not pass up their red velvet roll.  There was a lot of frosting and the cake was moist.  The red velvet roll was great, and despite leaving stuffed, I was glad I ordered it.

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

Cost: $$
For my coffee, omelet (with Gyro) and red velvet roll it was $29. They charged $5 for the limited amount of Gyro meat I received which was not worth it.

Overall/Would I come back?
I liked the Marietta Diner, but their menu is overpriced.  When I go back to Atlanta, I might go somewhere else. To pay nearly $20 for an omelet is worth it to me personally.  I would stop in for cake.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: B
Food: B
Dessert: A
Cost:$15-20
Overall: B

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of Omelet?
What’s your favorite post-race treat?

Oregon Diner (Philadelphia)

Before leaving for Alabama, I found myself at the Oregon Diner in Philadelphia (How many states can reference in one line?).  I originally found it because there are huge signs for the Oregon Diner near the Walt Whitman Bridge.  Sometimes finding diners based on their signage can be a gamble but overall I enjoyed my trip to the Oregon Diner.

When we arrived, it was late.  Dinner around 8 pm is super late for me.  I wasn’t starving, but I knew if I didn’t eat I would wake around 2 am starving.

Atmosphere: A

The Oregon Diner is huge.  The outside has plenty of parking and could probably hold at least 200 people.

The inside has three rooms with plenty of booths and tables as well as a full bar.  Each room has its own personality.  We sat in a corner booth.

Service: A
Our waitress was hilarious and friendly.  It was clear she was a local favorite and had been working there for years. She was definitely in the top tier of waiters we’ve had.

Coffee: A
The Oregon Diner brewed hot and fresh local Lacas coffee.  The waitress also added more whipped cream than coffee.  It was the best combination.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

Food: A

The menu at the Oregon Diner is one of the biggest of any diner I’ve been too.  There are over 200 menu items and 20 pages.  Since I wasn’t too hungry, I ordered the pickled beets salad with salmon.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

The salad itself was a normal size, but the piece of salmon was huge.  I have not had a salad with salmon that is bigger than the salad itself.  It was one of the better salads I’ve had, and I was full afterward.  I have no complaints.

Cost: $
For the coffee and salad, the cost was $17.  For the amount of food, especially the amount of the salmon, it was a great deal. 

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?

I enjoyed the Oregon Diner and had a great experience.  Plus it’s closeby so I will definitely be back.  There are a bunch of menu items I want to try.  If you are ever in the local area, I would recommend it (and invite me too).

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $10-20

Overall: A
Questions for you:
Do you like beets?

Kenilworth Diner

At the beginning of the month, Danielle, Amelia and I met at the Kenilworth Diner in Kenilworth, New Jersey.  I had read it was one of the better diners in the area so I had high expectations for it!

Atmosphere: D

While the diner looks big from the outside, it’s an awkward layout. We were sat in the corner booth next to the door.  We sat in a room with about 10 tables and it was cramped. Upon leaving and driving away, I noticed there was a whole second section with a bar.  I would have preferred not to sit next to the door when it was 30 degrees out and there were dozens of other booths available.

Coffee: A
The coffee was Lacas brewed from the local Lacas in Pennsauken. It was hot, fresh and delicious. As I’ve mentioned before, Lacas is local and I always enjoy their coffee. The coffee was refilled, often and I have no complaints.

Kenilworth Diner

Service: C
The waitress at the Kenilworth Diner was aggressive and wasn’t overly friendly. I can’t put my finger on it, but it didn’t seem as if she wanted to be there.

Food: C
The Kenilworth diner has a huge menu. They have everything a typical diner would. After the holidays, I decided to finally have a healthy meal order a salad.

Online I read they were good portions and had a lot to them. I ordered the Greek salad with a side of salmon. The salad was small, but there were a few toppings. It was missing a few “typical” Greek salad items like onions, pita bread, and tomatoes but in total it was a decent salad. The salmon portion was huge and took up more space than actual salad.  If it’s an entree salad, it should come with some sort of bread.

Kenilworth Diner

Cost: $$
For my salad, coffee and side of pita it was $22. For the amount of food as well as quality, it wasn’t worth it.

Overall/Would I come back?
It was an okay diner, but not great. There are several in the area that I like much better that I would go too before the Kenilworth. The atmosphere, as well as the waitress, took away from experience as a whole. It was great to see Danielle and Amelia, of course, though.

Summary:
Atmosphere: D
Coffee: A
Service: C
Food: C
Cost: $$
Overall: C

Close by Diners:
Tropicana 
Park Wood 
Westfield

Questions for you:
What is the strangest restaurant layout you’ve been too?

Oddfellows (Dallas, Tx)

It wouldn’t be a vacation without going to a new Diner right?

The rest of my Dallas trip is here and the Dallas Half Marathon Race Recap (1:23.44) here.

While in Dallas, my husband and I decided to go to Oddfellows.  It’s one of the gray area restaurants that same may consider it a diner while others may consider it a cafe.  Life is rarely black and white anyways…

Atmosphere: A
The outside o Oddfellows is neat and clean.  It’s painted bright yellow, and they have an outdoor patio with seating as well.

The inside is all wooden seats, and it’s centered around a giant bar which serves coffee too.  The giant silver espresso machine is almost like the centerpiece of the restaurant.

Coffee: A
The coffee itself is home brewed.  You can order any sort of fancy espresso, latte or anything else coffee-related.  They would probably do a decent business as just a coffee shop. img_2257-1

I ordered my staple coffee with whipped cream.  The whipped cream is homemade, and it was great.  Not surprisingly, Oddfellows has some of the best coffee I’ve had to date.  If I lived locally,
it would become a staple for me.

Service: A
The waitress was friendly, comical and refilled out beverages.  I have no complaints.

Food: A
Oddfellows has a small menu.  They serve their entire menu all day which was great.  We got there around brunch, and I had no idea what I wanted.  Breakfast? Lunch?

The Pork Belly Benedict caught my interest.  I enjoy pork belly, and it seemed like a unique choice I hadn’t had before.  It came with homefries and on a bed of arugula.  The pork belly was delicious, and the poached eggs made a great combination.  It also had a small kick with siracha sauce.  I enjoyed the cubed homefries as well. The portion size was a little smaller than usual diners, but it was fresh.

oddfellows Dallas Texas

Cost: $
For the pork belly and coffee, the cost was $15. It’s one of the cheaper diner meals I’ve had.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?
I enjoyed Oddfellows, and if I lived locally, I would be back.  In fact, I would be back a lot.  I don’t have any complaints.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food A
Cost: $10-15
Overall: A

Questions for you:
Do you like pork belly?
Where is the best coffee you’ve had?

Happy National Coffee Day

There are very few “foodie” holidays I celebrate.

National Coffee Day

Why?  Because there are so many, in fact, there is a food “holiday” almost every day…See this master list.  Thinking out loud, it’s no secret that I enjoy coffee.

National Coffee Day

Coffee, however, is one that I do.  I drink coffee almost every day.  I like the taste.  I’m also in the minority that drinks decaf after noon because I want to sleep.

My top 3 favorite places to get coffee are Wawa, Starbucks and a local place down the road.  Oh look, even at my wedding, we had a coffee bar.

coffee station

There isn’t a lot of coffee I don’t like.  My favorite way is to top with whipped cream.  It gives a little bit of sugar, and the bottom is more creamy since the whipped cream eventually melts into the coffee.  So it’s dark and bold at first, then more creamy and “dessert like” at the end.

Mustache Bills Coffee
At Mustache Bills Diner
Want free coffee?  Here are a few places celebrating the day.

Wawa: free (any size) coffee today

Krispy Kreme: free 12-ounce cup of coffee and a free glazed doughnut

Dunkin Donuts: Dunkin Donuts is celebrating National Coffee Day and being in business for 66 years.  They priced a medium hot coffee for 66 cents on Thursday.

Starbucks: Starbucks is not giving free coffee but will donate a coffee tree for every brewed cup of México Chiapas coffee you buy.  Today’s cup can help a farmer’s future.

national coffee day

Finally because who doesn’t like a little bit of history about the beverage they love? 

History of Coffee: “According to a coffee history legend, an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi found his goats dancing joyously around a dark green leafed shrub with bright red cherries in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.”

History of Coffee and How is Spread Worldwide: Interesting video documentary/video

national coffee day

Questions for you:

Are you Celebrating National Coffee Day?

How do you like your coffee? 

Sage Diner (Eastern Shore, VA)

Recently I went to the Sage Diner with my parents on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  This Sage Diner is not to be confused with the Sage Diner in Mount Laurel.  Coincidentally, my parents went too a few years ago. I drive down the Eastern Shore (from New Jersey to my hometown of Virginia Beach) regularly, but I haven’t been to a lot if diners on the Eastern Shore.

Atmosphere: B
The sage diner is located right on Route 13 and has a huge sign located outside, so it’s hard to miss.  There are several locations.

The building reminds me of a local family is owned business  It’s a casual brick building with a sign that says Sage Diner.  The inside is a large square room with several booths and tables as well as a bar.  There is nothing unique about it but does have a cute small town feel to it.

Coffee: B
The waitress brewed a fresh pot and it was brewed hot. There was nothing unique about the coffee and there were a few grounds inside.  Other then that, it wasn’t too bad.

Sage Diner Virginia

Service: B
Our waitress was very friendly but she got several parts of our order wrong including my parents soup as well as my pudding.  She blamed it comically on “being senile”. (Her words not mine).

She was friendly and treated us as if she had known us for years.

Food: B
The Sage diner has a huge dinner menu.  They have the basic breakfast staples such as eggs and pancakes but nothing unusual.  I decided to try the special, “The chicken souvlaki.”  To be honest I had no idea what would come out!

Sage Diner Virginia

I assumed there would be chicken but after that…I had no idea.  The chicken souvlaki had grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and a very thick and heavy oil.  To be honest, there was so much oil it turned into a soup at the bottom of my plate.  The meal itself was good though.  I enjoyed the roasted vegetables and chicken.  It oddly enough reminded me of a grilled fajita on a pita (diner rhyming?).

Sage Diner Virginia

It also came with a side salad which was a perfect compliment.  The menu stated the special came pudding, however, the waitress forgot and by the time she remembered it was time to go.

In summary, I enjoyed my food and it was typical of a diner.

Cost: $
For my special and coffee, the cost was $13.  It was a lot of food for not a lot of money so I can’t complain.

Summary/Would I come back?
I enjoyed the Sage Diner and it’s a great stop on the Eastern Shore.  If you are heading through the Eastern Shore, I would recommend stopping.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Have you ordered anything off a menu having no idea what to expect?
Have you ever traveled down route 13 on the Eastern Shore?