I first had the pleasure of experiencing the original Metro Diner up in Jacksonville several years ago. When they opened one in Gainesville, I was ecstatic. Brunch is always the perfect way to end a Game day weekend and while Gainesville has a large variety of top brunch spots to choose from, it’s going to be hard to ever say no to Metro Diner.
J. and my last experience there was no different, catching up with a large group of friends before heading back to Tampa. Metro Diner, located off of SW 34th Street, emits that classic diner atmosphere, with their forest green and white color scheme, homey decor, warm and friendly staff, overstuffed booths and tables, and a line of bar stools overlooking the grill. The wait was pretty long, but with a group of eight, it was to be expected. Once we were seated, our orders were taken and food was served quickly.
Their menu is large with something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for breakfast, lunch, or something in between. They also do not skimp on their food portions here. In typical diner style, there is plenty to share or take home.
J. went with their chicken and waffles. Half a fried chicken and a waffle topped with a sweet, strawberry butter and served with their signature sweet and spicy sauce (a mix of maple syrup and hot sauce that surprisingly works). The chicken is seasoned well and is fried golden brown, staying super crisp on the exterior, but still nice and moist inside. The waffle is a thick Belgian waffle style, nice and fluffy. The mix of tastes and textures between sweet, spicy, fruity, crispy and soft all blend together harmoniously in your mouth. You can smell this dish as soon as it comes out of the kitchen and it just makes your mouth water. If you’re debating on what to order, I’ll save you the trouble – order chicken and waffles.
I, for once, deviated from my norm and ordered biscuits and gravy. Two large biscuits cut in half topped with homemade sausage gravy, accompanied by two eggs any style and served with hashbrowns. The gravy is thick, creamy, and hearty with hints of heat from the pepper and large chunks of sausage. The biscuits are soft and flaky and sop up all the delicious gravy. With eggs and hashbrowns this is great well-rounded breakfast any day.
Metro Diner has been doing it right for almost 25 years. Their dedication and love for food shines through, and it’s a warm and inviting place you’ll want to enjoy again and again.