For most people, making pancakes is sort of a mindless process. But Joe Seriale isn’t most people. Though a chef at heart, Joe was determined to learn every facet of the food-service industry—throughout his career, he’s been a cook, head waiter, bar manager, traveling private chef, and has held upper management positions at food-supply companies. So when he finally got the chance to open his own restaurant, he knew exactly what he needed to do to set his diner––and its food––apart.
For his menu
at Joe’s Diner, he wasn’t interested in making run-of-the-mill pancakes. He created a recipe for buttermilk pancakes that convinced the Phoenix New Times to proclaim his the city’s best in 2010. The extra effort can be seen in many of Joe’s dishes, including biscuits with homemade chorizo gravy, muffulettas with family-recipe tapenade dressing, and fresh baked pies. And, of course, there's also the meatloaf first made famous at a café owned by Joe's grandma Dan, who gave him his first job at the age of 11.
Working alongside Joe is his wife, Joan, who has more than 15 years of restaurant experience and grew up less than a mile from the diner. Together, they serve breakfast and lunch in a dining room that harkens back to the diners of olden days, complete with black-and-white checkered floors, red vinyl booths, and meal orders transmitted through Morse code.