The old Diner on Sycamore returned to life today as Joe’s Diner on Sycamore began their “soft open”. The grand opening is currently set for August 10th, but they are going to basically run pre-season for the next few weeks to work out the kinks. The menu is still pretty extensive for a “limited menu”. The waiter explained that the sides and the Salmon BLT were not available.
I hold high hopes for this site. I loved the old Diner on Sycamore, and remember fondly the White Crab Chili. I SO wanted to like Vinyl, the owners were incredibly nice, but it just didn’t click for me (and ultimately enough other people).
It looks like the new owners are looking to return the place to its roots. This is diner fare. They have an extensive line of burgers, and the kind of sandwiches you would expect to see in a diner. They serve breakfast all day, and will have pie for dessert. I have also heard they will have a lot of milkshake options. There is also a 3-lb challenge burger that you get for free if you eat it in an hour. I am not a big fan of that, but I am sure there are folks that will like it.
The owners of Joe’s also own the Mixx Ultra Lounge. The plan is to be open at 6 am Monday through Saturday, close at midnight Monday-Wednesday and stay open until 4 am Thursday through Saturday. The expected hours are 7-10 on Sundays.
I went with the Joe’s Burger, which is a single patty burger with a side of fries:
It’s unfair to come to an ultimate conclusion regarding the burger on the first day of “pre-season”, but I liked the burger, without loving it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it, but would not hesitate to order it again. Not sure if that makes sense, but with the proliferation of top-notch burgers in town (Cafe de Wheels, Gordo’s, Zip’s, Mayberry’s) this one does not distinguish itself. It is good, but has some stiff competition. I also found it to be a little dry and over-cooked for my taste, but I would definitely order again (and it is early in the Diner’s life). I asked the waiter how big the patties were. He said he didn’t know, but thought they were 8 oz. I figured he meant the standard burgers (with 2 patties) were 8, but I think that is still stretching it. The patty I had did not seem a 1/4 pound:
I do not think they are too small, by any stretch. But I would concur with someone else’s opinion that the 2 patties probably added up to a 1/3 pound. The fries were good, and come with a light dusting of spices.
My wife chose the Buffalo Bleu burger. She liked it, but also thought it was cooked a little well done for her sake. She actually remembers being asked how she wanted the burger cooked, I didn’t remember it.
If you checked out Vinyl during its run you will see some Vinyl touches hanging around. The bamboo table tops, some of the accents, and I think the silverware as well. I am not a big fan of one remnant, the glasses. They are tiny. But at least this is a Coca-Cola place, not that other foul soft drink. I have also heard good things about the sweet tea.
They are planning to have the menu available all day. So whether you want a burger for breakfast, or breakfast for midnight snack, you will be in business. They also have this nice case to fill with pies and such:
I love the decor. And I hope it continues to slide back to retro style. Here is a great shot of the ceiling:
I think Joe’s is off to a great start. I can’t wait to see how it develops and I am rooting for it to be here a long time. Check it out soon. It’s kind of fun to be there during pre-season, just have some patience. I am really happy they restored the old sign: