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Metro 29 Diner, Lee Highway in Arlington - Owner Peter Bota's American Diner with Chef Nick Athanasiou


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I used teh Googlez and didn't see any threads on it, which kind of surprised me. Ahhh well.

My parents saw an episode of "Divers, Dines, and Dry Cleaners" or whatever that Guy Fieri show is that featured Metro 29. Well, to be completely honest, I saw it too, though I usually try to scrub the memory of the bleach blonde spikes and sunglasses out of my head with copious amounts of alcohol. They had debated between La Carraquena and Metro 29, and decided since there was 5 of us to go to Metro 29.

It helped that it's one of my sister-in-law's favorite restaurants, though she hadn't been there in a while - she's been going there since it opened. And honestly, on the show, it made me more interested in going to it, as before I'd always just thought "Silver Diner" which I can't stand.

We called ahead of time and only had to wait a couple of minutes in the crowds. The sheer age diversity amused me - everything from high school kids to the elderly. It was one of the few times I wasn't immediately annoyed by a throng of high schoolers (I must've been distracted or something).

We ordered appetizers of fried cheesesticks and chicken tenders. I had gotten soup and a salad with my entree so I only sampled a small bit of each (feeling kind of "na na na boo boo, I'm healthier than you" for once in my darn life). They weren't greasy and were actually quite tasty. My brother posited that the honey mustard was Ken's brand which is his favorite.

My soup was solid though needed pepper badly. Lots of noodles and chicken, I could've used more broth but couldn't complain about the taste (after I added pepper). The salad was pretty straight forward but man, the cucumbers on it were delicious. Maybe it was just me yesterday. Usually I avoid cucumbers unless they're pickled or in gin.

My brother and mom had reubens. They were huge, had some of the better onion rings I've ever had on the side, and made for two solid meals for any one of us at only $12.50. Dad had an open faced steak sandwich of some sort that he seemed to like a lot (same in terms of size).

My sis-in-law had French toast. I tried a bite of it and I will say that it was FANTASTIC - and with about a half pound of bacon on the side.

I got the Yankee Pot Roast. The meat was a bit touch but the potato pancakes and gravy were all delicious. I didn't try the cabbage as part of my "be nice to the family" campaign. I still have half of that in my fridge...

At the next table some hungover college kids had milkshakes. OHMYGOD I NEEDS ONE. They looked fantastic. Imma gonna go back, and get a milkshake, and french toast, and cover it in syrup, then go bounce off the walls of my office for the rest of the day. I HAVE BIG PLANS FOR MY LIFE.

Anyways.

I'd always dismissed this place as a Silver Diner clone. The food here wasn't super spectacular, but it was good, it was plentiful, and it wasn't expensive. I understand now why the line goes out the door regularly. Not every meal needs to be super fancy - this food made us all happy, if a bit needing a nap.

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Did a breakfast meeting here last week at someone else's suggestion. Agree the portions are plentiful and the prices low but the food was pretty disappointing. The french toast is supposedly a signature item so I ordered that. They didn't offer real maple syrup (hate that; when you grow up with it it's tough to ever stomach corn syrup substitutes) but it's a diner and rare is the diner that would. But the french toast itself was large and not well soaked so dry in the middle. The even-ness of the char made it seem like it had been pressed like a panini. Bacon was excessively fatty and not crisped. Coffee too diluted/weak. Just disappointing all around.

Service was passable but Metro 29, to me, is a super example of how "cheap" and "value" aren't the same thing. The prices were low making the place very affordable but a poor value. But that doesn't matter since the food wasn't good enough for me to return anytime soon.

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I don't really trust Fieri's show. He's never going to blatantly DISLIKE anything to spare the chef/cook/owner from being offended and withdrawing their permission to air the segment, which would just result in the "Triple D" crew having wasted their time transporting both Fieri, the camera crew, and that ridiculous car to the destination (they truck it across the country - that ain't free).

Also, during a drive down to Virginia Beach one time, I took Route 460 in lieu of I-64 specifically to try the supposedly "dynamite" and "on point" fried chicken of Virginia Diner during their lunch hour. It was no more remarkable than any other non-fast food fried chicken I'd ever had in the South.

Last but not least, I personally think the smaller restaurants that get featured on his show end up falling prey to a "curse" because when their previously sustainable level of loyal clientele is supplanted by the influx of tourists and local didn't-know-abouts, they almost always have to cut back on quality to keep traffic flowing.

That being said, Metro 29 is a "good" diner. It's not remarkable in any way, but it is *way* better than any of the Amphoras are, and the staff has always been prompt and nothing but friendly. If I'm in the Falls Church/Arlington area and want breakfast food, I'll pick Metro 29 over Original Pancake House in a second, as the OPH's quality has suffered since moving to their new location.

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that ridiculous car to the destination (they truck it across the country - that ain't free).

You must be a Mustang fan, frankly, the only thing I find worthwhile on the show are the flashes of the 1967 Camaro SS Convertible - a car I would happily take over almost any postwar American automobile.

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I don't have a problem with the car itself insomuch of how faked it looks when he drives it. And the car guy in me is pissed that it's being used as a prop so Guy can look more masculine.

I have no opinion concerning him, but I do know that he is an avid classic car collector with a passion for muscle cars of the GM variety – so not matter what, there is at least one thing I cannot fault him for, I mean he could be one of those freakish MOPAR devotees.

But back to food, I think you hit on a point that calls into question almost all of these shows that visit restaurants and offer commentary with the chef/cook/owner next to the person doing the opining - I think that the worst offender was Rachel Ray where you would practically see her fu... umm, I mean orgasm face whenever she tasted any food.

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I just noticed the subtitle on this thread refers to pizza delivery. I do not recall ever seeing pizza on their menu. Their website mentions pizza delivery, but if you click on it you are sent to another website that seems to impose a $25 minimum order for delivery, only delivers between 9am and 4pm, and still will not let you order pizza. Has anyone ordered pizza for delivery from this place? Has anyone even eaten pizza at this place? It would be nice to have another local delivery option if it is any good. The only pizza on the online menu is a pizza burger.

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I have no opinion concerning him, but I do know that he is an avid classic car collector with a passion for muscle cars of the GM variety – so not matter what, there is at least one thing I cannot fault him for, I mean he could be one of those freakish MOPAR devotees.

But back to food, I think you hit on a point that calls into question almost all of these shows that visit restaurants and offer commentary with the chef/cook/owner next to the person doing the opining - I think that the worst offender was Rachel Ray where you would practically see her fu... umm, I mean orgasm face whenever she tasted any food.

Freakish MOPAR devotees? As the proud owner of a 1966 Barracuda, I'm going to give you one chance to revise your remarks. :)

As for Metro 29, I used to eat there pretty regularly when I worked in FC. Frankly, the food is decent and the prices are fair for what you get but the portions are way too big. I used to get THREE meals out of the Greek salad.

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As for Metro 29, I used to eat there pretty regularly when I worked in FC. Frankly, the food is decent and the prices are fair for what you get but the portions are way too big. I used to get THREE meals out of the Greek salad.

I feel like I have ordered the wrong things then the few times I have gone, because based on my experiences about five years ago, I have not gone back and don't understand why people like it here. What sections or foods are to be avoided here? Are breakfast items okay now (they weren't when I went)?

Thanks.

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Are breakfast items okay now (they weren't when I went)?

I find the breakfast link sausages to be plump and tasty, although I find that breakfast here can turn into a pricey affair compared to other places in the area. The portions for most of their plates are indeed large, if that turns you on.

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I actually went in this morning to grab lox and cream cheese on a bagel but the menu price for this was a staggering $13.99, so I could not pull the trigger. Is there a more expensive lox/cream cheese/bagel in the entire country?

Well, Metro 29 comes close with an All The Way Bagel (toasted jumbo bagel with lox, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, olive and Bermuda onion) ringing up at a preposterous $13.50.

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I will say that Saturday night was well fun, Sunday morning; however, had some lingering set backs due to the hard core balling I did Saturday night, which may or may have not included lawyer prom and then last calls at a couple bars in my ball gown, throwing it back with my friend who can drink me under the table and worse.  I was REALLY glad when she went to brunch with a friend the next morning and totally let me off the hook for going, as well.  Hubby asked me where I thought I might want something to eat and Metro 29 was my first choice.  There is something about food that you know there are no surprises in these types of situations.  I really thought I was going to get hash and eggs, but I ended up pleasing the three year old in me and getting chicken tenders and fries.  Neither item is anything special, and I know both come pre-frozen, but hey sometimes you just want some plain chicken fingers on a Sunday and Chic-Fil-a isn't open.  Hubby had a grilled ham and cheese and his inner three year old was equally pleased.

We definitely have our Metro 29 days.

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I will say that Saturday night was well fun, Sunday morning; however, had some lingering set backs due to the hard core balling I did Saturday night, which may or may have not included lawyer prom and then last calls at a couple bars in my ball gown, throwing it back with my friend who can drink me under the table and worse.  I was REALLY glad when she went to brunch with a friend the next morning and totally let me off the hook for going, as well.  Hubby asked me where I thought I might want something to eat and Metro 29 was my first choice.  There is something about food that you know there are no surprises in these types of situations.  I really thought I was going to get hash and eggs, but I ended up pleasing the three year old in me and getting chicken tenders and fries.  Neither item is anything special, and I know both come pre-frozen, but hey sometimes you just want some plain chicken fingers on a Sunday and Chic-Fil-a isn't open.  Hubby had a grilled ham and cheese and his inner three year old was equally pleased.

We definitely have our Metro 29 days.

This is an awesome post and I often feel the same way.  The only difference (other than those mornings being way fewer and farther between now that I'm getting older) is that I tend to stick with the gyro platter in those situations :lol:

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I will say that Saturday night was well fun, Sunday morning; however, had some lingering set backs due to the hard core balling I did Saturday night, which may or may have not included lawyer prom and then last calls at a couple bars in my ball gown, throwing it back with my friend who can drink me under the table and worse.  I was REALLY glad when she went to brunch with a friend the next morning and totally let me off the hook for going, as well.  Hubby asked me where I thought I might want something to eat and Metro 29 was my first choice.  There is something about food that you know there are no surprises in these types of situations.  I really thought I was going to get hash and eggs, but I ended up pleasing the three year old in me and getting chicken tenders and fries.  Neither item is anything special, and I know both come pre-frozen, but hey sometimes you just want some plain chicken fingers on a Sunday and Chic-Fil-a isn't open.  Hubby had a grilled ham and cheese and his inner three year old was equally pleased.

We definitely have our Metro 29 days.

That would be the place to go after some hard core balling.  Sometimes we also go with the kids.   :D

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This video is the first time I've ever watched Guy Fieri, and it's all I need to see to know why he's both wealthy and disliked by many (his shtick doesn't bother me, but if I had to watch him on a regular basis, it would become something akin to torture).

But forgetting all that nonsense, my takeaway from the video is the roasted lamb, and watching it makes me want to make a special trip to Metro 29 Diner and order it.

The only problem is that I don't see it on their menu, in any form. Does anyone know if they serve it on a regular basis?

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Any recent opinions on Metro 29 Diner?  Need a kid-friendly breakfast/lunch option in Arlington in a couple weeks, and I seem to be leaning this way.

I've been once in the past year - I think unless you're really picky, it will do just fine for a kid-friendly breakfast (it has more competition for lunch).

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Speaking of Metro 29  I was there last week for a weekday brunch with 2 old friends.  As referenced above each order is massive.  I think the breakfast dishes (egg dishes) are quite acceptable.  Not unique or dramatic, just well prepared.  And of course massive.  Onion rings as mentioned above tasty.  Dinner dishes??  I don't know.  I wouldn't expect anything terrific.  By the way coffee mediocre or worse

Service was very professional. 

I hadn't been there in quite a while.  I'd go back for breakfasts.  I'd go back for my old style Sunday brunch.  4-6-8 people, lot of Sunday newspapers. They have booze for Sunday mimosas or bloody's.  Expansive breakfast spreads.  I'd insist on bringing thermoses of Qualia coffee.  If they want to charge a "corkage/thermos" fee.  I don't care.  It would be worth it.

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On 5/18/2018 at 10:07 AM, dracisk said:

But you look so friendly and jovial in your profile photo. 😉

On 6/11/2018 at 10:07 AM, DaveO said:

I'd insist on bringing thermoses of Qualia coffee.  If they want to charge a "corkage/thermos" fee.  I don't care.  It would be worth it.

This was probably 10 years ago, but I remember going there for breakfast one Sunday.  At a table near me, a couple had brought in Starbucks coffee.  They sat down.  The manager told them they had to get rid of the coffee or leave.  They left.  Perhaps the policy has changed since then.

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12 hours ago, hopsing said:

This was probably 10 years ago, but I remember going there for breakfast one Sunday.  At a table near me, a couple had brought in Starbucks coffee.  They sat down.  The manager told them they had to get rid of the coffee or leave.  They left.  Perhaps the policy has changed since then.

I described the coffee as "mediocre or worse"  Don described it as "pretty awful'.  Mediocre is being generous.  Using the adjective "pretty" with awful is also being generous. 

BAD COFFEE.--imho

My idea of thermoses was fantasy.  Although I used to bring in nearby Starbucks coffee to a restaurant I frequented.  I knew the owner very well.  While I liked much about the restaurant the coffee was terrible.  We discussed it.  He told me to go to the Starbucks. (I might have brought him some Starbucks) I used to do that and transfer the coffee into one of his mugs.  For me at least, that is a one in a thousand type of experience.  I wouldn't do it elsewhere.

But while I'll definitely return to Metro 29 for breakfasts or brunches....that is lousy coffee.

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There used to be a place in Brooklyn Heights where my sister and I would routinely hit Starbucks first and walk in with our coffees for breakfast.  However, they didn't care because we always ordered the egg special.  The special came with coffee so we were "paying" for coffee anyway.

My defense against bad coffee is to bring with me those Starbucks instant coffee packets.  Put one of those in the coffee and it immediately improves.  I use the Italian expresso packets.

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4 minutes ago, hopsing said:

There used to be a

My defense against bad coffee is to bring with me those Starbucks instant coffee packets.  Put one of those in the coffee and it immediately improves.  I use the Italian expresso packets.

GREAT IDEA!!!!   Thanks

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4 hours ago, DaveO said:

I described the coffee as "mediocre or worse"  Don described it as "pretty awful'.  Mediocre is being generous.  Using the adjective "pretty" with awful is also being generous. 

BAD COFFEE.--imho

My idea of thermoses was fantasy.  Although I used to bring in nearby Starbucks coffee to a restaurant I frequented.  I knew the owner very well.  While I liked much about the restaurant the coffee was terrible.  We discussed it.  He told me to go to the Starbucks. (I might have brought him some Starbucks) I used to do that and transfer the coffee into one of his mugs.  For me at least, that is a one in a thousand type of experience.  I wouldn't do it elsewhere.

But while I'll definitely return to Metro 29 for breakfasts or brunches....that is lousy coffee.

Man. I haven't been to the Metro 29 probably since I changed jobs in 2008. I used to be a semi-regular for lunch, as I could make 2-3 meals out of any of their lunch dishes. The coffee sucked then. Hard to believe it still sucks in this coffee-crazed day and age. But even by diner standards, it sucked.

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14 hours ago, DaRiv18 said:

When people talk about sneaking in Starbucks because the coffee there sucks . . . The coffee there must suck!

is serving lousy coffee (does it come with free refills?) a way to discourage squatters?  

Oh it sucks. Yes to the refills. It would take a normal person quite a while to finish some of their platters, so there's no issue with squatting.

Reminds one of the old joke about bad food and large portions except here the food is pretty good. Only the coffee is subpar.

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