RVA Breakfast: City Diner

It sometimes takes me by surprise that some people have not yet discovered the joy of a good brunch. Maybe they haven’t found the right place or eaten the right dish. Also, I think it has a lot to do with expectations. What do you want out of brunch?

Personally, it depends on the type of week I’ve had, the kind of weekend I’m having, and–let’s face it–how much money there is in my bank account. One type of place that I’m pretty much always in the mood for is a diner; and City Diner fits the bill. Let me break down this restaurant’s long-lost diner charm for you —

It’s conveniently located. Right at the corner of Broad and Strawberry, you can easily walk to this from the Fan or drive and park–yes, they have a parking lot! If you didn’t know, brunch is all about laid-back convenience.

It’s entertaining. You walk in, you can actually see the kitchen staff at work, flipping pancakes, scrambling eggs, dusting french toast with powdered sugar (see picture above). I’m fairly positive that in lieu of an actual kitchen, they just have this “cooking stage”. And as I’ve mentioned before: I’m completely enthralled by kitchens in action.
Cheap food. My meal of choice cost only $6.99 and included bacon, two whites scrambled, fried apples, and a short stack (and of course I added blueberries). I should note it cost $1 extra for egg whites and maybe another $1 for blueberries, but it was worth it! Brunch logic: Egg whites made me feel better about eating the bacon and blueberries are fruit. Weekends are for balanced splurges :)

It has a small-town feel. Their website has a widget that not only includes the daily specials, but who is working that day. I’ve never seen that before, have you?! Also, nothing makes me happier than a variety of people coming together to enjoy the same food; and I think that’s exactly what diners cater to.  Everyone, including the staff, seemed relaxed and happy to be there.

Speaking of staff, can I work there please? Lately, I’ve become more and more drawn to working at a breakfast joint (…or just starting my own). Now accepting start-up donations, cash or check please!

Typical “diner” coffee…imagine that :) It was a bit on the weak side of the coffee spectrum, but they did a great job keeping my mug filled!

These pancakes made me happy. From what I could tell, I think they actually used fresh blueberries! There were also well-sized pancakes…Don’t get me wrong: I love plate-cakes, but I do not like my tendency of nearly eating everything on my plate. (Also, who likes the idea of an orphaned pancake!) The pancakes were piping hot and a fairly good medium between springy and cakey in texture.

French Toast
On the menu. Good thing! You have the option of ordering it plain or with pecans, as do they have a combo that includes your choice of breakfast meat.

Thick, salty, and pretty nice to look at too.

I snagged a bite of boyfriend’s biscuit and it totally met my expectations of what a biscuit should be. Super tall and fluffy; and no dry crumble. Well done, kitchen performers!

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits
This is the one area of our experience that I have a mixed review on. Yes, there were biscuits and gravy! BUT they were running out of gravy as we ordered. Instead of consulting with Boyfriend and the other guy we were with, they decided to top off the sausage gravy with some chipped cream beef. Hmm…kind of risky if you ask me. But boys are easy going, so they didn’t mind much. There was meat. There was biscuits. So no big deal? I’m not sure about that.

Feature: Eggs & Meat Scrambles 
City Diner offers plated that have eggs scrambled with ham or bacon; seems pretty brilliant to me!

 Happy weekend :)

One Response

  1. My husband LOVES City Diner. He goes crazy early with his buddy who is also a morning person. I am talking 6am early on a Saturday.