Brews News

The Diner on Clifton

(Sanchez 2014)
Lisa Sanchez
Last time I checked, there are approximately one bajillion local diners in Cleveland. They range from greasy-spoon to lounge and bar. I most recently visited my local diner with a cute and somewhat confusing name, The Diner on Clifton located at 11637 Clifton Blvd.

Although it's in my neighborhood, I can't say I would go out of my way to visit again, at least not for the food. The aesthetic, however, is very charming with its old school plush booths and bar stools. It has a warm, stucco paint job and a psychedelic mural of space on the ceiling. Plus, the tables also have a space-and-stars theme, which makes me feel like I'm in a sputnik-era eating establishment. I loved that part.

There were about four other people in the Diner when I entered for dinner, and three people on wait staff. The service was average, water refills and the like. I ordered honey-Dijon glazed pork chops and Derek, my partner in food harassment, ordered shepherd's pie, which is featured on the "Favorites" section of the menu. We decided to split an order of fresh-cut fries and sourdough onion rings. Little did we know what we had gotten ourselves into.

The fries and onion rings were deep-fried perfection. In fact, I venture to say that The Diner on Clifton's onion rings were the best I've ever had. They were crunchy and light instead of greasy or bland. Plus, as any relative can tell you, this girl goes hard on some French fries. I'm somewhat of a potato connoisseur and those fries were where it is at.
Our spread for the evening. I can still taste the onion rings. I can also still taste the pork chops, which is not as pleasant of a feeling.
(Sanchez 2014)
The rest of the meal, however, not so much. My pork chops and accompanying side of green beans were a solid "Meh". If I could make myself, I'm a bit reticent to spend $13.95 to get it delivered to me on fancy plates. The portions were generous, but there was a serious consideration to even finish the meal. Derek's shepherd's pie measured up about the same. Consisting of mashed potatoes, cheese, and beef, KFC could have delivered the same quality for half of the price. Obviously, it's diner food, so we're not expecting any grand culinary accomplishment. But, for the price I would at least expect more flavor per bowl compared to a corporation that has a dead man as its mascot.

Despite the so-so food, I can't emphasize how much I liked the atmosphere and interior. I would definitely go to The Diner on Clifton just to drink coffee and listen to 90s rock. That's not an over exaggeration. In the 45 minutes I was there I heard Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins and four, yes, count them, four Nirvana songs. If I had stayed a little longer I may have heard their entire discography. It's a place that seems welcoming and casual, just maybe don't eat too much of the food. Except the onion rings.

Overall, The Diner on Clifton may be convenient for some sobering up food or your morning coffee and hash, but I wouldn't venture in for much else. The Diner on Clifton serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner ranging anywhere from $1.25 for sides to $15.95 for a steak dinner. You've got a wide range of options, but not necessarily of taste.
The Diner on Clifton
11637 Clifton Blvd.
Cleveland, OH
(216) 521-5003
Monday-Friday 7:00 am-11:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am-11:00 pm
Sunday 8:00- 11:00 pm