Metro Diner//A Little Bit of Everything

It’s rare to have a new restaurant in Tuscaloosa that is among the ranks of being featured on Food Network. I first noticed the impending arrival of Metro Diner grabbing morning coffee earlier this year at Panera Bread Company. I was a little skeptical of the location and the signage in general. A co-worker soon told me that the Jacksonville, Florida location was previously featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Of course when I hear “Food Network,” you’ve grabbed my interest. Soon, I was doing internet research on Metro Diner, nothing that Fieri does not categorize this as the typical diner at all.

Obviously, I had to taste this food for myself. After noticing the large groups of people waiting outside for dinner for the past few weeks, we decided to wait it out and try Metro Diner after most of the UA students had gone home for the semester. We finally opted to brave the Friday night dinner crowd and see what Metro Diner had to offer. Upon arrival, I was relieved that there were clusters of folks already waiting outside to be seated. Sure we were having a fairly early dinner, but Friday nights in Tuscaloosa are a little bit of a gamble when it comes to the restaurant scene.

Once we got inside, we were immediately seated. The restaurant was full, but a handful of people finishing up their early dinners helped us get seated fairly quickly. Rummaging through the menu, I already knew this was going to be a stressful process to select a dish. Not only was there a diversity in the lunch/dinner type options, but now we had a bounty of elaborate breakfast selections to choose from as well, in addition to specials featured on the chalkboard.

Charleston shrimp and grits, chicken pot pie, crab cake sandwiches, and steak salads danced before my eyes. Omelets, breakfast pie, and huevos rancheros started to call my name. After seeing a large tray of food being brought to the table next to us, my stomach had decided on the chicken and waffle, served up with strawberry butter and the diner’s signature sweet and spicy sauce.

Despite the busy atmosphere of the restaurant, the hubs and I were quite impressed with the short turnover to receive our food. I first caught glimpse of the beautiful pasta alfredo special that my husband ordered, but then quickly became mesmerized at the golden monstrosity of several pieces of fried chicken and a ginormous Belgian waffle with strawberry butter placed in front of me. Our server brought out a container of maple syrup and quickly mixed it with a bottle of hot sauce on the table. The concoction was questionable but after dipping my chicken and waffle in the sauce I will never doubt a Louisiana hot sauce and maple syrup combo ever again.

All in all, I believe that Metro Diner is here to stay. The price point is a little higher than I had expected for “diner” type food, but now I realize that this isn’t your “typical” diner grub. The portions are massive and the food quality is impressive. And if you’re feeling really swanky, a beer or glass of wine are definitely available to jazz up your dining experience.

Metro Diner is located at 1800 McFarland Boulevard East in the Midtown Shopping Center and open seven days a week.  Tweet us @ThePlanetWeekly and let us know where you are eating!

Sheena Gregg, MS, RDN,LD is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino foodie.” Follow her on Twitter @TheThriftyRD





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