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01 May 12 Restaurant review: Take trip back in time for food, fun at Chrome Plated Diner

I guess it’s too much to expect a joint named Chrome Plated Diner to actually be clad in chrome, especially when it’s in the middle of a strip shopping center.

Putting that aside, everything else about the Chrome Plated Diner was what I expected, from the dcor to the music to the menu.

Torey and Tiffany Smith opened the eatery in North Anthony Center earlier this year. Torey Smith is the third generation of his family in the restaurant business. His grandparents ran Willie’s Family Restaurant and his mother, Sharon Adams, ran Sharon’s Diner. She’s still cranking out amazing pies at Chrome Plated Diner, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about the dcor, appetizers and main courses first.

Chrome Plated Diner pulls out all the stops in re-creating the diners of the ’50s and ’60s, except, as I’ve already said, for the chrome.

Red booths and barstools, a black-and-white tiled floor, chrome bumpers repurposed as shelves, and gaskets on the walls set the tone and hearken back to the days of muscle cars. Toe-tapping music from the ’50s and ’60s plays over speakers.

“The only thing this place is missing is a jukebox,” my lunch companion said.

The menu is mostly retro diner food as well, with typical breakfast fare served all day as well as burgers, fries, sandwiches, salads, wraps, etc.

We started out with the breaded pickle chips appetizer, which came with a side of ranch dressing. The dill pickle slices were hand-breaded, crispy and hot out of the fryer. Delicious dipped in ranch dressing.

I know I should have ordered something healthy after those breaded pickle chips, but once you’ve started walking down the road to perdition, it’s kind of hard to make a U-turn.

So we ordered burgers. I ordered the Little Willie, a 1/3 -pound cheeseburger topped with coleslaw, accompanied by fries. The burger was cooked thoroughly, no pink showing (not that they asked how I wanted it cooked), served on a plain, unimpressive bun. The coleslaw was very wet — so wet that when I picked it up to take a bite, the sandwich dripped and dripped and dripped. And then I had a puddle of sauce on my plate, so I couldn’t put it down or the bun would have turned into a sodden mess.

So am I complaining? Not really. The burger was good, as in sauce-dripping-off-your-chin good. The coleslaw added just the right touch of crunch. I would suggest that they use a slotted spoon to serve the slaw onto the burger, however, so there isn’t as much runoff.

The crinkle-cut fries were pretty ordinary, but hey — what’s a burger without fries?

A burger with waffle fries, that’s what. That’s what my lunch companion ordered to go with his Mustang Sally burger, a 1/3 -pound cheeseburger topped with Swiss cheese, bacon and an onion ring, served on Texas toast. The onion ring looked to be homemade, and the burger held up well (better than my bun) between two pieces of Texas toast. The waffle fries were a better choice than the regular old French fries.

By the time we finished our burgers, our arteries were sending up little flags saying “Abandon ye all hope,” so we said, what the heck, and ordered dessert.

By all means, save room for dessert at Chrome Plated Diner. These handmade beauties — mostly pies the day we were there — are on display in a glass case by the front window.

I ordered caramel apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. The pie was warmed, causing the ice cream to slowly melt into it. I don’t think there’s much better than the combination of warm, cooked apples, a generous portion of caramel sauce, melting cinnamon ice cream, walnuts and a slightly salty piecrust.

My companion ordered the Snicker’s pie, a tall piece of pie with lots of whipped cream and pieces of snickers mixed into the filling, all on a pastry crust. Cream pies aren’t my thing, but they sure are his.

My only complaint about the diner is this weird thing that happened with the booth while I was there. When people sat down in the booth directly in back of me (the seats were attached) the impact made me sort of lurch forward in my seat.

No big deal if it happened once, but it happened numerous times. And I don’t think the people directly behind me were doing anything unusual, but, every so often, it was as if they lurched back in their booth and I simultaneously lurched forward in mine. You know, that whole “equal and opposite reaction” business. It got so irritating I had to suppress an urge to slam my back into my seat and send them flying forward.

So I’d suggest, when possible, the Chrome Plated Diner leave every other booth empty for the sanity of their customers.


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