When the first River City Diner appeared on Main Street in 1994, the only thing assuring Richmond that a rift hadn't opened in the space-time continuum was the unchanging amount of bobby socks people wore. With its vintage Americana and unwavering commitment to the comfort foods of the '50s, the diner soon sprouted into three, drawing families in with its music memorabilia and motorcycles. And those diners walked away satisfied, naming River City the Best Diner of 2011, 2012, and 2013 in Style Weekly.
Milkshakes and malts made with premium ice creams are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the menus are concerned. To help quell hunger pangs, the chefs also slow-cook pot roast and whip up home-style country-fried steaks topped with white gravy. The kitchen's eight-ounce burgers, all-beef dogs, and deep-fried catfish round out the roster, giving guests a glimpse into a simpler time.
Recently praised for having mom-worthy meatloaf, d’egg diner offers Virginians a menu full of day-long breakfasts, crowd-pleasing burgers, and single hungry-human-approved sandwiches; d’egg west’s menu serves up a similarly smorgas-y selection. The d’eggwich ($4.99 d’egg diner/$5.29 d’egg west) places your choice of breakfast meat, a fried egg, and a fried parmesan tomato in the middle of an onion roll, and the Greek omelette ($6.79 d’egg diner/$6.99 d’egg west) delivers three eggs, spinach, and feta to your tongue buddies. Lunch items for the breakfast-weary include the swiss-on-rye tuna melt, which, in accordance with vegetable zoning ordinance, comes with a tomato at d’egg west ($6.50 d’egg diner/$6.99 d’egg west). The d’egg burger ($6.99 d’egg diner/$7.99 d'egg west) reunites beef and fried eggs 20 years after their nasty ketchup custody battle, with bacon and one fried egg on a cheese-covered patty at d’egg, and two patties, an egg any style, grilled onions, bacon, and mayo at d’egg west.
Though the food is comfortably familiar, the décor is a cross between a sea vessel and a spaceship. So while guests order classic burgers, stacks of chocolate chip pancakes, and bowls of chilled gazpacho, they can admire Cesar’s Diner's cosmic-oceanic aesthetic. A space age-evoking shiny chrome ceiling reflects the sky blue and periwinkle booths, and porthole windows contrast the sprawling, knee-to-ceiling windows along the front walls. Servers navigate this scenery around the clock on the weekends, moving grub from grills to table so clients can indulge cravings for midnight breakfasts after a night on the town or after having spent the previous 24 hours at the diner.
Staying true to the charming eatery’s moniker, Sunrise Cafe’s bright, yellow walls surround diners while they enjoy piping-hot cups of locally roasted brews and a rotating menu of decadent morning and afternoon eats. After perusing the chalkboard menus lining the eatery’s walls, patrons can order their pick-me-up of choice—such as an Almond Joy latte ($3.75) or Columbian coffee—to pair with a savory breakfast wrap of eggs, cheese, and homefries packed inside a flour tortilla ($7.49) instead of a pillow case. Sweet morning treats include a stack of french toast buried beneath a fluffy mound of whipped cream ($7.49) or a Sunrise belgian waffle dusted with fresh fruit ($7.49).
Open 24 hours a day, Amphora's Diner Deluxe and Amphora Restaurant plug yell-holes with tasty eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The eateries share a menu loaded with local and international dishes ideal for feeding a hungry family or Spartan army. Mouths waiting for main courses can munch on appetizers such as pita chips and baguette slices dipped in hot spinach and artichoke dip ($6.95), or spear hunger with thai shrimp skewers smothered in a ginger-soy glaze ($8.95). Treat taste buds with royal deference with a selection of grand plates, including the sloppy joe bake served over screwy rotini pasta ($12.95), Cajun rib-eye steak with mango salsa ($18.95), and two fresh lump crab cakes, broiled or fried ($19.95).
In existence for more than 60 years, The Dairy Bar maintains its cozy, neighborhood feel while dishing out a menu of delectable desserts, sandwiches, and more. The Dairy Bar’s creamy milkshakes, which were voted "Best Local Milkshakes" in 2009 by Richmond Magazine, follow a simple, time-tested recipe of local Garber’s ice cream and 2% milk. Each shake is chilled to 32 degrees and infused with strawberry, mocha, or mint chip flavor spirits, producing a euphoric effect akin to seeing a child laugh or watching a mermaid break-dance. The Dairy Bar's café fare shows support for neighboring businesses, featuring Hanover tomatoes and Cupertino’s bagels in handcrafted breakfast sandwiches and hearty burgers.