I previously visited the newest diner in Richmond, the Metro Diner. The first local Metro Diner is in Short Pump, and the latest addition is now open at Libbie Place. It’s my new favorite place for casual brunch in Richmond.
For the purposes of this review, I was hosted at the restaurant. Yay, free food! I received no other compensation, and I was not required to express any opinion or write anything specific.
Metro Diner in Richmond
Last year I reviewed the first Metro Diner in Richmond. Spoiler alert: I loved it. Since that initial visit my husband and I have returned several times. Now a new location is closer in to town at the Libbie Place shopping center.
Metro Diner originated in Florida, and is now expanding across the country. There’s even one in Las Vegas, breakfast capital of America (I made that title up, but I know I love breakfasts in Vegas.) You may have seen Metro Diner profiled on the Guy Fieri show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
What you will probably find at a Metro Diner is a casual booth-and-table atmosphere with an open view of the kitchen. The menu covers diner food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu has a mix of standard fare and some original twists on old favorites. Items highlighted on the menu are the specialties of the house. Try those first!
Yo Hala on the Square
Metro Diner does breakfast right. My breakfast or brunch go-to is Eggs Benedict, and my particular favorite at Metro Diner is their Crab Cake Benedict. Lots of crab meat, light on filler, great Hollandaise sauce. They serve up Eggs Benedict five different ways (but try the crab cakes!)
For this visit I made sure to try something new. I settled on the house specialty french toast called “Yo Hala on the Square”. Have a seat and prepare to fan your face. It’s “two thick slices of challah bread stuffed with a mixture of bananas, brown sugar, cream cheese and hazelnut syrup, prepared like French toast. Topped with a blueberry strawberry compote.”
I’m not a huge banana fan, but this dish is pretty amazing. I am a challah snob (I make my own. Move over Martha Stewart.), and the Metro Diner challah meets my high standards. Order this with a side of bacon to balance the rich sweetness. Dip that bacon in the fruit compote.
Chicken and Waffles
I recently read on Facebook that some of my friends haven’t ever had fried chicken and waffles. I wept for them. Now I’m sad for anyone how hasn’t had fried chicken and waffles at Metro Grill.
I don’t say this lightly: this was the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. And my momma keeps a crock of bacon fat next to her iron skillet, so you know I’m Southern and have more than a passing familiarity with fried chicken.
The fried chicken at Metro Grill takes two days to make. It’s brined for one day and marinated for another day. The flavor goes all the way to the bone, and the chicken stays impossibly juicy. #ImpossiblyJuicy
The chicken is so good, you barely notice how good the waffles are–crisp and fluffy at the same time. Ask them to mix you up the Special Maple Syrup if you order this. This consists of a side dish of maple syrup and a secret number of shakes from the house hot sauce bottle. (The secret number is seven. Don’t tell.)
The perfect bite contains chicken, waffle, the spicy syrup, and a little bloop of the strawberry butter served on top.
Servings of both the Yo Hala on the Square and the Fried Chicken and Waffles are huge. Expect to take home some leftovers.
What to Expect at a Metro Diner
- Right now the Metro Diner is dry. You can have an amazing weekend brunch, but you’ll have to wait for a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa a little while longer.
- Metro Diner is a family restaurant, appropriate for anyone.
- Hours vary. Check the store’s website before you go so you aren’t sad. It’s not open super late, which I like.
- The Metro Diner menu is extensive, but not bloated. While the breakfast menu is my favorite, they have great lunch and dinner choices and a kids’ menu. I like the Bold City Burger, and my husband loves the Meatloaf Plate.
- They seem to be really accommodating with food allergies and sensitivities. Still, be aware that it’s a diner and food is cooked on a grill.
- The service is always excellent, in my experience. I’ve been multiple times at my own expense and always had a great meal with friendly service.
Something unique about Metro Diner is that pretty much everything is prepped and cooked in-house. I’ve noticed lately at a lot of chain restaurants that more and more is shipped in frozen or pre-chopped. It’s not as fresh as it could be, and usually not better than I can make at home. That’s not true at all at Metro Diner.
You can see the crew in the kitchen chopping vegetables, mixing up dressings, even baking the desserts. For me, this in-house prep and their fresh take on diner food is what makes Metro Diner special.
The new Metro Diner location at Libbie Place is a winner for me. It holds up the high standards of the existing Richmond location.