Decatur Diner Open…Really!

Both Joey and Rusty report that the Decatur Diner’s doors are open and there are paying butts in the seats!

UPDATE: Lots of pics after the jump from Rusty, Parker, Marcia and Greg.

74 thoughts on “Decatur Diner Open…Really!”

  1. took the family to the decatur diner and yes we actually got to sit down and order and even eat. I must say we found it to be very good. Entrees from 7 bucks and up.


    its worth it, service was great, dessert choices are awesome as well. it felt like we were in a new york or jersey diner which is a good thing.

  2. It’s open? NOW what is everyone going to complain about?

    Oh, wait…CSD school board, Dollar General, trailers (sorry, learning cottages), roads, children in restaurants, parking, Westchester, Avondale Estates. Never mind. Just answered my own question.

    Happy VD, everyone!

  3. but how did they pay their bills for so many months with the lights blaring …please bring back the conspiracy thread ..oh, never mind…..

  4. After taking the picture from across the street at Leon’s (excellent Valentine’s pre fixe, btw), we walked over to the Diner just to check it out. As we were grabbing a to-go menu, the manager told us to pick any dessert from the case and then handed us a generous portion of our chosen tiramisu for free! Everyone was very nice, and we can’t wait to sit down for a meal there!

  5. I ate there! This is not a test!

    I agree with Rob that it’s a real New Yawk/New Joisey/LonGisland style diner. I also liked the matzo ball soup and the simple but very fresh salad. Also the simple but fresh and tasty rolls. I liked my lamb with orzo and my husband liked the turkey dinner. Our only complaint was that the servings were way too large. We couldn’t possibly finish and we were too full to try the classic Greek diner desserts–wedding cookies, black and white cookies, napoleons, eclairs, tiramisu, several kinds of rich looking cakes, etc. (No rice pudding, boo hoo–they need to add that for authenticity). The dessert portions are gigando as well. I think they could cut all the main course and dessert servings in half and then take a few dollars off the price. The service was attentive. It’s almost too nice to be a diner. But the music selection and volume was diner-ish.

    They open again tomorrow night at 5 PM and then don’t close again–open 24/7. Breakfast menu starts tomorrow night.

    And they gave me a rose as I left……very classy!

    1. nothing says new york diner, like a bunch of greeks who can put out a gyro, spanikopita, & and a good bowl of matzoh ball soup. How is the spaghetti & meatballs?

      1. Did not try it but have daughter who is likely to eat nothing but spaghetti or grilled cheese so will try both soon.

  6. Καλή τύχη. Μπορεί το φαγητό σας να είναι καλύτερη από Αμβροσία και τα οικονομικά σας καλύτερη από την Εθνική Τράπεζα της Ελλάδα.

    1. literal translation- Good luck. Can your food is better than Ambrosia and your finances better than the National Bank of Greece.


  7. Hubby and I also ate there tonight as well–folks were friendly, service was good. Had the gyro and chicken parm sandwich (was too satly for my taste). They gave us free samples of spanikopita. Saw two patrons with laptops out and ready to do some work, but they’ll probably be disappointed that they’re not open 24 hours tonight…

    Glad to have ’em here and open!

  8. DM, you never rest. I just sent those photos twenty minutes ago.
    Our experience at the DD was not enough to evaluate the place as a restaurant. We ate at Sawicki’s with the Lampe-Farley’s (which was great) and walked to DD to check it out afterwards. We just had coffee, except Greg, who had the radioactive-looking key lime pie pictured above. Each of us girls were given a rose for St. Valentine’s Day. The place was hopping and the servers were attentive.
    We had fun. That’s my review. I’m glad they are open and I’m delighted that when I volunteer for early duty at Decatur’s festivals, I’ll be able to grab a cup of coffee.

    1. Whaaaat?!?!? Truly? I’m personally affronted by that.

      Seriously, tho– some guy who was supposedly affiliated with the Diner posted on here nearly a year ago that there WOULD be a tuna melt…so, BOOOOO on that change of menu! *sigh* Well, I guess I’ll have to content myself with a Greek salad & chicken souvlaki platter…if I can bring myself to come in now…*heavy sigh*

      1. OR… is it one of those off menu things for folks in the know? “I’ll have the cubalibre special, please!”

  9. Good luck to them.

    Big portions and great service are hallmarks of a new restaurant. I’ll check in around August. That will be the test for me.

  10. You know, I’m interested in how this plays out. A 24 hour spot in Decatur? Bill and I are mostly stay-at-home people. Is there really enough night life in Decatur to support this? On rare occasions I’ve been to the Emory 24 hour CVS. What do you think? Who will be there at 3:30 or 4 o’clock?

    1. College kids – Emory, Agnes Scott… also anyone who works late (what else is open past even 10pm?), anyone who has to get up early, anyone who gets stuck here when MARTA isn’t running yet…I can see this working. I’m excited to try it, as I grew up in NY/New England. My question is did they have chocolate and vanilla Cokes?

      1. When I was a student at Agnes Scott, we had to go to the IHOP on Lavista for all-night study sessions, and Majestic for a stopover after the clubs closed–anywhere from 2-4 a.m.! I would have loved to have a place like this so close by.

    2. Up to 2 AM, I think the night owl, college, and laptop crowd will keep patrons in there. I do wonder about the 2 AM to 6 AM period of the night when cortisol levels drop even among seasoned all-nighters. But maybe it will become a mecca for those who work night shifts. My husband thinks it will attract street people but I hope not. The ambience isn’t conducive and the staff can insist that customers order something.

      Didn’t see chocolate and vanilla cokes nor egg creams but the menu was so extensive that I couldn’t read it all. And it’s a Greek diner, not Jewish deli although I’ve alway felt that there’s a lot of overlap between Greek, diner, Italian, and Jewish deli food because of the Northeast urban immigrant connection.

      In terms of food, I think the DD’s biggest competitor is Athens Pizza. There’s a lot of common menu items. But DD’s has a much more extensive non-pizza menu (and I didn’t see pizza on the menu) plus it’s 24/7. My husband pointed out that the no parking for DD may make Athens more popular for families. I liked the lamb shank and orzo better at DD compared to Athens–more tender, more interesting flavor, and less salt.

      1. So I just have to do a bit of good-natured teasing.

        For all the talk about diversity and inclusiveness, quotes like this from your post stand out…”My husband thinks it will attract street people but I hope not.”

        Sounds like a bit of “I want Decatur to be diverse, but not TOO diverse.”

        1. More good natured teasing: Why would one equate diversity with street people? One can have racial, age, gender, and income diversity without encouraging folks to panhandle around the square.

          Seriously, I would prefer that we have the safety nets in place so that folks are not panhandling around the Square or Five Points MARTA Station or downtown Portland, Oregon, or Manhattan, or wherever, whether those safety nets be shelters, jobs programs, treatment for mental illness, drug addiction, and/or alcoholism. I can’t blame businesses and customers for not wanting to have folks loitering and taking up paying customer space. But I think the solutions go deeper than whether or not we feel comfortable with street folks sitting next to us in a diner.

          1. My favorite thing about eating in diners is the potential for an interesting conversation. My best diner memories are of the folks I’ve met from all walks of life– not a grand meal in the mix!

    3. I think you’d be shocked at the number of people who are up and about in the wee hours Parker Cross. It’s not just a nightlife crowd, but people actually do work 3rd shift around here.

      And if you’re going to be open until, say 2AM, and be open at, say 6AM, for breakfast, why not just remain open from 2-6 AM, even if no one shows up? What’s the point of closing? Someone has to be there to cook and prep anyway, right?

      1. I think you are right, Marshall, I probably would be surprised. It’s a long long time since I closed the clubs or did an all-nighter. (sighing for that sweet bird of youth) and I’ve never worked a night shift. It just strikes me (not in a bad way) as a fundamental change in the nature of Decatur–a 24 hour place!

    4. I think I already mentioned this, but several weeks ago after a film at Push Push Theater, 10pm or so, we went looking for a non-bar place to eats and had to all the way to the Majastic on Ponce Highland. They were packed 10 pm to midnight. From what I hear in this thread, the DD will be far better.

    5. All of the people who wait tables, cook, and bartend at the Brickstore, Twain’s, Leon’s, Iberian Pig, Carpe Diem, etc. 3:30 am is a very hungry time for lots of restaurant folks.

    6. A lot of folks are up and about in the area at that hour. Some of the workers who clean the county buildings are in and working by around 4am – they can now enjoy an occasional good breakfast before they start work. There is both vehicle and pedestrian traffic around that block at all hours – I hear it under my window (and there is definitely no parking problem in the middle of the night – onstreet parking all around). I say welcome to the neighborhood, Decatur Diner – glad to have you!

  11. Wife and I had a great time.
    she loved the seafood bisque, i had the chicken noodle, was awesome as well.
    the cheese nachos and salsa=great!
    wait staff was very helpful
    I had the chicken / beef / shrimp teryaki and it was GOOOOOOOOOD
    Wife had the chicken parmigiana and loved it, however she only ate 1/4 of it as it must have been 2 lbs of food!
    portions were huuuuuuuge!
    I wanted desert but we were too stuffed!

  12. Interesting choice for the graphic on the menu cover. I have never seen this part of Decatur, but will go out in search of it today.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one that picked up on that. I’m guessing this was just a convenient piece of clip art (who still uses clip art?), because suggesting that Decatur is somehow synonymous with skyscrapers seems to miss the point entirely. Then again, for OTP folks, Decatur may as well be the BIG CITY, so what do I know?

  13. I bought their first slice of chocolate mousse cake and brought it home for Valentines dessert. It was delicious, and frighteningly large. Even with two of us sharing we still had to put a bit away for another day.

  14. Looking forward to this place! It’s well overdue. As a student, it’s much better having all-nighters in places where you can’t easily (or in a manner that is socially acceptable) fall asleep.

    Will be trying this place out tonight!

    1. It’s well-lit so it should be good for college students studying or worker-bees trying to catch up on work outside of the home distractions. Not sure though what the restaurant’s policy will be on occupying a seat for long periods of time. I would think it would be ok as long as you ordered something and there weren’t people waiting for your seat.

    1. Do you really want me to lecture you on the plentiful public parking options in downtown Decatur within a short walking distance of your location?

  15. At the diner right now with the cutest 5 year old in the world (mine). Most tables are full, the staff is great and I’m looking forward to my gyro. They gave us a sample of the unpronounceable spinach soufflé stuff and it’s very good.

    My first impression? A home run.

      1. Yes it was. 🙂

        To all DM readers – I highly recommend trying the place out. It’s very good.

  16. I would like to take my 84 year old Mom to the Diner. Is it loud? Too much ambient noise can be a problem for her. Loud restaurants present a big challenge when I’m choosing a restaurant in Decatur for my Mom. I bet I’m not alone. I welcome any restaurant suggestions for the not so young, not so hip crowd in Decatur.
    I can’t wait to try the Diner.

  17. By 6:00 all tables were full and there was a line of waiting customers. Service was friendly and efficient. Portions huge, as mentioned before.

    @Nola: Around 5:15 the noise level was pretty low (some background music, chatter and dishes clanking. As it filled up, too much ambient noise for someone with a hearing impairment. . . .

    1. Thanks for the info, Altmod. We went to the DD last night without Mom and really enjoyed it.

      When people say HUGE servings, they mean it! My Moussaka plate had moussaka, at least a whole potato and a large side of veggies. But that’s not all! It also came with a salad that many would consider a meal and a large bowl of chicken noodle/ matzo ball soup. Not to mention the free, very good spanikopita they served as an appetizer. My 12 year old son said, “Mom, why didn’t you tell me that spinach is really good.” Easily enough food for three people and all this for a mere $10.95.

      Service was nice and moussaka delicious. ( Could have been hotter, but I’m sure they’ll get this worked out) We saw many friends there last night….a real neighborhood vibe. Look forward to visiting again soon.

  18. We went last night and had an awful experience – so bad our whole meal was comped. Not the server’s fault and she was very apologetic. After waiting 45 minutes for food, the manager came out and let us know that the item I ordered was unavailable. My friend’s got their food (one order was wrong, and one was missing something) and I ordered something else. It took almost an hour for my second order. Other tables came and went with no problem, but some ladies next to us got up and left over the lack of pancakes. The manager explained that the kitchen guys that worked the morning/lunch shift left nothing prepared for the dinner rush, but this was after 9 at night. It was a really miserable experience but I am chalking it up to opening hiccups and struggles and will probably give them another try in a month or so.

    1. We actually had a similar negative experience at Burnt Fork the other night. Long wait for takeout then one of our plates was left out of our order and we had to go back to get it. It would have been better to have been eating in, at least we could have been sitting while waiting.

      But the food was good. Newly opened food establishments just take a while to get their groove, if they do at all. Hope both of these places–DD and BF–do.

  19. I was there last night, and overall everything was great! HUGE portions of food! I had moussaka and husband had the gyro – both were excellent. I ordered the coconut cream pie, which I didn’t like at all – but husband’s baklava was really good, and big enough for both of us. Service was wonderful. Everyone was very friendly, and the crowd inside seemed to be so excited to finally be let inside.

    However, try not to sit by the door. It got very chilly as the sun went down last night, and the man running the place refused to let the hostess and servers close the door, saying something about “too much smoke” in the kitchen. I ate with my big wool coat on, and I wasn’t the only one. Also, for a diner it was pretty expensive. Our bill ended up being $40 + tip ($7 pie!). I guess it’s not bad considering the portion size, but there’s no way I could ever eat that much food. I’d rather have half the food for half the price.

    I’ll definitely go back – and soon!

  20. We may have all laughed about how long it took Decatur Diner to open, but I think the strategy obviously worked.

    Look at all of the free advertising they got, and when they finally opened, people were so curious to try it.

  21. Ate there yesterday at 4pm and the place was close to full. Had a Greek omelet. Not bad, but not very good either. Service was great though, so I will reserve judgment until I’ve tried a patty melt or something.

  22. Ate lunch there today and the patty melt was tasteless, no flavor at all and bland. Onion rings were o.k. I will give it one more try in a month or two before I cross it off my list.

  23. I’ve been once for dinner and once for lunch. The lamb shank was very good, served with a tomato-based sauce and orzo. The brussel sprouts were way overcooked. The cakes are from a bagel place and are excellent–I prefer that buttercream and lighter moist cake to the heavier, drier cakes at Southern Sweets. The gyros is excellent, with fresh vegetables and well-flavored meat. Service is attentive if a little uneven.

    Over the past months, I kept saying to friends, “When this place opens, they better do something to pacify the locals who’ve been getting angrier and angrier at the delays. Free spanakopita (in reference to the neon sign in the window) would be a good start.” When we sat down for dinner, the waiter put four plates of spanakopita on the table.

  24. Good food, terrible service.

    Our table offered the spanikopita (very good), mahtza (sp?) ball soup (excellent), greek salad (ho hum), gyro (mmmm!), hot pastrami (ho hum).

    Of that, they brought the mahtza soup, followed in less than a minute by our entrees. They failed to bring the greek salad or gyro. When they brought they gyro, they forgot the sauce. When we asked for the sauce, the waitress went to deal with another table and forgot. The manager picked up the slack.

    My impression of the food was slightly tainted by the incredibly poor service. However, I will go back because I highly doubt that server will be there longer than a week.

  25. Our service was good, but I thought it was weird that they left off the tzatziki sauce from my gyro. Other than that, I liked the fries, the coffee was ho hum, and the cake was delicious.

  26. Just got back from my first visit. Service was good — a bit too earnest, and I saw some mistakes at other tables, but they made me feel welcome. (I was a single woman eating alone, so that’s a big deal. )

    Gyros were not as good as some places, but better than most. Slaw was mediocre.

    Fries were excellent, although I would have preferred Greek potatoes.

    I plan to go back. But to be honest? Any place that’s open 24 hours and isn’t a Waffle House gets my vote.

  27. Had a long wait for a table outside yesterday. Servers had trouble keeping up with the crowd. Disappointed my Gyro seemed to be precut lamb meat, not cut off the spit like the Gyro booth at Decatur festivals. No Taylor Ham available. No meat and three veggie plate. Could use some counter space for people eating alone. But glad breakfast 24 hrs has arrived in Decatur. Can finally get a bagel on the Square. Perhaps I set too high a bar for a new Greek diner.

  28. We went last night for an early dinner. My burger wasn’t cooked enough and had to send it back. When I got to eat it I thought it was bland. We ordered chicken tenders for our two girls and asked if we could get fruit instead of french fries…they said no substituting. I might give it another try in a few months.

  29. Went there on Saturday and had the Chicken & gyro platter. My friend had the Spanakopita platter. We both agreed that this diner is about quantity and NOT QUALITY. There food is nothing to brag about or there prices. As we left we walked across the street and saw the signs for Andryannis Greek Bistro .behind Parkers and thought hmm they dont open on the weekends, so we followed the signs to see if it was open, I love this place and to our happy surprise they just started opening on weekends too. So we sat and had our Baklava and the best Cappuccino I have ever had and spent about 10$ on coffee and dessert for the both of us. So for those of you who want so good Greek food and good prices you should go there.

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