Restaurant Review Roulette: The Diner

This week’s restaurant review by Greg Cox of the N&O looks at The Diner, the retro-styled burger and shake place on Raleigh’s Glenwood South. I ate at The Diner a few weeks ago, and it will be the last time I go there. Burgers are average at best. Milkshakes are fairly small for the price. But the kiss of death came from the onion rings, which were, without any doubt, the greasiest things I have ever sampled. When I bit into one, at least a teaspoon of oil rushed out. My kids started having fun with them, putting them on a plate and pressing them with a fork to see how big of an oil slick they could create. It may have been an anomaly, but combined with the ultra slow service, I think not.

Anyhow, I suspect Greg Cox’s experience was similar, as the teaser in today’s N&O refers to “hits and misses.” That’s why my guess is for 2 stars. A place with this price point, with mediocre food and service typically gets 2 stars.

Here are this week’s odds:

5 stars — one google to 1

4.5 stars – one bazillion to 1

4 stars — one million to 1

3.5 stars — 20 to 1

3 stars — 5 to 1

2.5 stars — 25 or 6 to 4

2 stars — 1 to 1

1 to 1.5 stars — 4 to 1

Have you been to The Diner? How many stars does it deserve?


(Edit April 23, 2010) Ouch.  A 1.5 star review for The Diner in today’s N&O.  The review itself doesn’t sound like a 1.5 star one, but I think Greg Cox was trying to be nice and focus on the positives.  I wonder if he’d ever write a review as acerbic as the one Sam Sifton of the NY Times wrote last week on Nello.  Now that was harsh.


10 Responses to Restaurant Review Roulette: The Diner

  1. dmccall says:

    I went for lunch one day and got a burger, fries, and a Coke for $13 after tip. It was fine (better than MoJoe’s and Uncle Fatty’s, but worse than Five Guys), but there are so many $8 lunches around that are better. 2 stars.

  2. drew says:

    It’ll probably get 2, but deserves 1.

  3. Michael says:

    I wanted to like it, tried to like it, went mulitple times, but if you are selling burgers and I can’t get them Med Rare, you don’t have much of a chance.

  4. VaNC says:

    I put the Diner in the “a decent place to eat” category. It is good, not bad, not great. A great place to take the kids midafternoon for a sundae where you can actually sit down, a place you can go with a group and they have a varied menu that is accessible and is a lively place..etc. I think it is popular because Raleigh is lacking in “simple non-chain decent places to eat”. I think it will get a 2 1/2.

  5. I haven’t had the chance to visit The Diner yet, even though it’s on my list to go. It always looks packed when I pass by, especially in the odd hours or the day, but now I wonder how many of those are repeat customers. Maybe they’ll take the reviews to heart and change some of their ways.

    Overall, I still think The Diner will be packed, just because you have the group of college kids who are drunk and craving something different than Cookout or IHop.

  6. Ivory says:

    0.5! The food here is mediocre and the place looks less like a true diner and more like a confused shell of a sports bar from one of Niall’s dreams. I’d rather go to IHOP. The only redeeming thing about this place is the service – the servers were very nice and pleasant.

  7. Chris says:

    I guess I’m in the minority in that my wife and I had a pretty pleasant meal here. She really liked the cornflake fried chicken Greg mentioned, especially with the onion marmalade, and I had the blackened catfish that was on special. Even though I felt like I had had the exact same dish at any number of other restaurants, it was still well-done.

    I didn’t know that you couldn’t get burgers rarer than well-done, and we didn’t try the milkshakes, but all in all, we didn’t have many complaints. Apparently we were lucky. I’d still like to hear about their breakfast options, since they do serve it all day.

  8. Will says:

    I ate there once, had the meatloaf sandwich, overall it was fine, I agree with Greg it could have used some ketchup, service was good, my waiter seemed on top of everything.

    Burger’s can be cooked to any temp you want if the restaurant grinds its own meat. Try Busy Bee, Raleigh Times, Globe, or the PR and get it medium or medium rare, you will never go back to well done burger again.

  9. L says:

    Always on the lookout for a great burger, I was excited to try out The Diner – after all, a yummy burger, fries and milkshake is expected at a place called that. Unfortunately, not impressed with the burger or the milkshake, although I really tried to like it. Similar to the burger, fries and milkshake at Uncle Fatty’s – how in the world can that be the main items on you menu and it’s so not worth the calories?!

    Haven’t checked out the burger at the Globe, Will – will have to try it. Glenwood Grill’s burger is pretty good too (as a plus, I always order mine for takeout – people always seem surprised that GG doesn takeout!).

  10. sally says:

    “A bite of heaven.” That’s how my 10-year-old daughter described her first burger at the PR. Sadly, the last time, the guy forgot to ask her how she wanted it cooked – and she was disappointed that it was well done. She also considers the Raleigh Times’ burger heavenly.

    I agree that the Diner is OK – especially when you’re there with the kids or during the day – for a sandwich or something. They also have a good Bloody Mary. My main complaint is that grits isn’t one of the basics that you can get on the side of the breakfast menu. And they don’t let you substitute. So you can have potatoes, for example – but if you want grits, you have to pay extra. That’s just wrong….

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