Stepping into Metro Diner late at night might feel a bit like stepping into a living version of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. Art deco booths and retro wraparound lights create a timeless atmosphere that belies the eatery's relatively young age and a menu that features modern twists on diner classics.
Deluxe on Broadway's cooks craft homespun diner fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, skillfully blending milk shakes and whisking together house-made quiche. Outdoor seating allows diners to sip coffee without taking a break from sunbathing or snowball fighting, and other guests can take refuge behind booths or on stools before the counter. Between bites, diners can take advantage of the WiFi service or peruse the framed pictures and frame-worthy thumbtacks that adorn the Tuscan yellow walls.
Grab a burger and milkshake before you hula-hoop in your poodle skirt to the sock hop hand-jive dance with today’s Groupon. For $15, you get $30 worth of fine dinering at EJ’s Luncheonette, an establishment so old school they have no home on the mind-blowing Internet. It also doesn't deal with futuristic credit cards, so make sure you’ve got enough cash for a tip on your journey back in time. Your Groupon is good at both EJ’s East and EJ’s West.In a 1950s diner your server might dress as Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley to entertain and delight you.In an 1850s diner your server might dress as an Apache warrior to test your loyalty to your family and recruit you to defend their once vast empire.
Nothing about Orion Diner makes customers feel rushed. The kitchen stays open 24 hours a day, which ensures that passersby always have the opportunity to stop and recharge with a cup of Italian Segafredo Zanetti coffee or melted-down AAA batteries for robot customers. Even the menu seems to encourage perusal and deliberation, occupying more than a dozen pages with rib-sticking comfort food that ranges from omelets and Angus hamburgers to baked ziti parmigiana and gyros.
Orion Diner's decor places it a notch above greasy spoon, but the ambiance is undeniably cozy. Brick columns appear along the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, complementing the warm earth tones of the dark tan booths and their pendant-lamp lighting. The recessed ceiling is designed to look like a shattered roof, which encourages diners to look up and gaze through the faux skylight at clouds all of 12 feet off the floor—NASA would have saved billions of dollars by launching spacecraft from this spot.
HAPPY TIME! packs a lot of flavor into a small space, serving popular Asian bites along with beer, wine, and a taste of local culture. Black counters flank the narrow white-walled eatery, where bottles of American microbrews such as Flying Dog and Victory, and imports such as Tsingtao mingle with fried or steamed pork buns and vegetable egg rolls. Aside from lending the space a casual vibe, the minimalist aesthetic has a greater purpose: to draw eyes toward the stunning visual artwork from Reaves Gallery on the walls and ears toward open-mic nights, comedy shows hosted by Derik Boik, and performances by local artists, poets, independent musicians, and bands from space. Patrons can also commandeer HAPPY TIME! for private events ranging from film screenings and "breakup" parties, with custom menus and beverage selections available on request.
Substitutions and special requests are met with a smile at this diner, even for dishes not listed on the menu. Good luck stumping the chefs, as their regular repertoire already includes everything from shepherd’s pie to mofongo—a Puerto Rican dish made with fried plantains.