By KATHLEEN STEWARD
If you are looking for a bustling place for a bite to eat that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day, then you’ll want to try Metro Diner.
Metro Diner has been in St. Augustine just shy of a year and a half and Assistant General Manager Rob Davis has been there since the day it opened. The first Metro Dinner was opened by The Davoli family in Jacksonville 24 years ago in a historic cafe in the San Marco area.
The 136-seat diner is full of energy with a menu that packs a punch. And, like any proper diner, you can sit at the counter and banter with the wait staff and listen to the cooks hollering as they ply their trade. The sounds of the diner are part and parcel of its appeal.
On Sunday, you can enjoy brunch, and the Metro Diner offers three daily specials on top of an already copious menu.
Q&A WITH ROB DAVIS, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
Lively, fun and relaxed — a place where the locals eat. It’s a family restaurant where you can get a good meal at a good price. Diners sprouted up at train depots as traveling by train became popular. That’s why you can have a cheese burger at breakfast and an omelet at dinner.
What is your food philosophy?
We are a scratch kitchen. We make 90 percent of what we serve, and it has to be right. The food is fun, hot and fresh. The Davolis have created high standards in a lively atmosphere with Southern hospitality.
What types of cuisine do you specialize in?
Decadent American breakfast. The menu has several items to choose from: benedicts, waffles, pancakes, French toast, eggs galore, omelets and breakfast sandwiches. Or, for the ravenous, we have heuevos rancheros: eggs served over fried tortilla shells, chorizo sausage, black beans, onions and peppers topped with melted cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and green onions.
What is your signature dish?
Chicken and waffles. We are known for them. You start with half a fried chicken, a Belgian waffle and top it with whipped strawberry butter. Served it with our signature sweet and sour sauce, and you have an extravaganza. This is a two-plate meal, and if you can’t finish it, there is always the to-go box.
What would you recommend for a first timer?
Chicken and waffles, meatloaf, Charleston shrimp and grits or our chicken pot pie with biscuit topping.The meatloaf is a platter with mashed potatoes and brown gravy. Our Charleston shrimp is two grit patties infused with cheese, roasted red peppers and Andouille sausage. And that’s not all, we top it off with shrimp, Andouille sausage, and garnish it with chopped bacon and green onions.
Price Range: $-$$
Location: 1000 S. Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday- Thursday | 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday