Step 1: Roll Out The Door with Coffee on the Brain
Sometimes you just want breakfast.
Sure, you might have eggs, some cereal, even waffle mix at home. But that requires cooking. Buying groceries, whisking yokes and washing dishes. It’s a whole thing. Heading to a diner to scarf down some brunch only requires you grab a friend and show up. You don’t even have to get all showered and cleaned up. Throw on a ballcap, halfway decent clothes and tumble out the door.
My friend and I showed up to what turned out to be one of the busiest Jacksonville brunch spots on Southside: The Metro Diner.
Step 2: Diner Fandom
I already have a penchant for diners, something that goes back to cheap food, playing scrabble at Denny’s, all you can drink coffee and milkshake dates from movies. Let’s put it this way, I like pancakes and waffles so much that my parents took me out to a diner for a Belgian waffle when I got my college acceptance letter.
Metro Diner would not disappoint me. Sure, there was a long wait. We were quoted something like 45 minutes, but there was free coffee on the porch so that sounded totally doable. We huddle outside under the green awning and fended off the January breeze. We Floridians don’t know what to do with the slightest hint of cold. It only took about 20 minutes before we were seated and cozy.
Step 3:Take a Glimpse at Everyone’s Plates
The walk to our table allowed us to tour all the ready plates going out. French toast beds piled high with blueberry sauce dripping down. Homemade fried chicken and waffles with an ice cream scoops worth of pink butter. Large portions of shredded hash browns. And more and more! Omelettes to the left. Steak and eggs to the right! The tables were locked and loaded with the necessary condiments: hot sauce and jam. This was going to be great.
After intense menu study, applying a strict algorithm of calories, satisfaction, cravings, nutrition and possible likelihood of a post-brunch nap, I decided to settle for the eggs benedict – a classic with yummy sauce and guaranteed deliciousness of hash browns (tried to make them at home once and it just wasn’t as delicious. Also shredding potatoes isn’t for the faint-hearted). My friend was feeling a bit more decadent and opted for pancakes and eggs and bacon and grits. Why pick one, when you can have heaps of food?
Before too long and despite the bustling business, we had our food in front of us. I was eyeing my neighbors french toast stacks, but then I tried the sauce on my eggs benedict. And then I tried my fresh baked biscuit. Completely delicious! My friend was in a happy pancake feast. Also, he actually likes the runny yokes- eww! Next thing I knew, the table across from me was busting out and singing along with an epic Whitney Houston (I tried to mimic this in karaoke a week later and it was a total disaster). But the table owned it. So much so that the server ran to them to tell them the staff was all jamming out in back. With free coffee, a million menu options and a staff singing in the back of the house, this was the idea diner experience.
If only breakfast was always this tasty.