Restaurant News & Reviews

Believe it: Macon now has a 'real diner'

A plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables from the Macon Diner, finished off with a piece of sampler cake featuring strawberry short, red velvet, carrot and chocolate layered cake.
A plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables from the Macon Diner, finished off with a piece of sampler cake featuring strawberry short, red velvet, carrot and chocolate layered cake. The Telegraph

Breakfast all day, plus Italian pasta and parmigiana, Oriental stir-fry, Mexican fajitas, burgers, wraps, steaks, seafood ... oh, and did I mention Greek?

The Macon Diner must have the most varied menu in town. It's hard to review a place like this because you can't find a "representative dish." What I can say is that nothing is bad, the portions are huge and the prices are very reasonable. Some dishes are quite delicious and relatively unusual in Middle Georgia; others are not terrific but still good.

Let me get a few things out in the open here: I am a Southerner who lived in upstate New York for six years. The South has lots of things going for it, but frankly diners ain't one of 'em. I was thrilled when Macon Diner opened because it was clear to me: This is a real diner.

Real diners have a certain decor that usually involves pink or teal neon; they sell baked goods displayed in lit counters; they serve breakfast all day and are open all night; and good diners (I can't explain this) always serve good Greek food.

The Macon Diner has all this. The only thing that didn't light up my diner-meter is the lack of blintzes on the menu. (Hint, hint, Macon Diner folks.)

For breakfast, I loved the Farmer's Skillet - layers of hash browns, sausage, bacon, ham and tomatoes topped with two eggs and melted cheese - that amazingly wasn't greasy! My husband said the pancakes and scrambled eggs were OK, although the pancakes weren't as good as City Market and the eggs weren't as good as Waffle House. All breakfasts, including an amazing array of omelettes, automatically come with coffee and orange juice.

From the lunch menu, the wrap with corned beef, fried onions and melted swiss was OK, but the meat had the wrong texture and the whole thing needed sauce. My husband, who is a stickler and lived for some time in the Land of Diners (New Jersey), gave a big thumbs up to the chicken parm.

On the other hand, a friend was not crazy about a pasta dish called "the health nut," which didn't seem too healthy and had a strange sour taste that I think came from a poor white wine choice for the sauce.

I had the spanikopita, a Greek dish of spinach and feta cheese wrapped in thin pastry layers that came with a Greek salad and dolmades, vine leaves stuffed with seasoned rice. The spanikopita was good, although I like mine with a little more feta, but a giant hunk of feta came with the salad.

When it comes to appetizers, try the calamari, which may be some of the best I've had outside the Mediterranean. The dinner menu includes pot pie and Salisbury steak, Cajun selections and crabmeat-stuffed mushrooms. Friends say the steaks are mediocre but the seafood is great. Most dinners are $14 or $15.

And did I mention the baked goods earlier? In particular the cakes, big as bungalows, rotate in their own spotlight: Italian cream, raspberry white chocolate, hummingbird. In our slice of German chocolate, the cake itself was a little dry but the icing was incredible, and overall it might be the best I've had since my grandma's.

I went three times to the diner and the service was good twice. In some cases they make up for it when they can't meet your needs, though: In a single visit, one friend and her husband were provided a free dessert and free appetizer when the appetizer they wanted wasn't available and the restaurant didn't have enough to-go boxes.

Macon Diner

165 Tom Hill Sr. Blvd.

Three stars

Phone: 474-1414

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Price range: $3.25 to $18.95

Payment: Cash, credit card

Reservations: No

Alcohol: No

Kids menu: Yes

Noise level: Moderate

Latest health rating: 91

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

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