Breakfast Review: Karen’s City Diner

As soon as I heard Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” come over the radio as I read the Travel section of today’s Post, I knew I had to honor an idea and begin to blog.  So thus the journey and our first review of local breakfast in Richmond begins…

“Honey”, “Sweetie-pie”, and “Sugar” are a few of the names you may be called at Karen’s City Diner (no apparent web site) located on West Broad Street.  This Diner has a home feel as many of the patrons are on a first name basis with the staff.  And there doesn’t seem to be any egos among the wait staff either as everyone stops by the table to fill your coffee, check on the food, or just say hello.  Kids, particularly small children get plenty of attention.

This is my third time eating at the Diner and I could kick myself for not writing reviews earlier.  To sum up the experience, this is a neighborhood place.  There are plenty of smiles and good banter that come standard with a pot of coffee.

The food is served fast and hot.  The short order cooks let tickets fly right behind a traditional diner bar.  If you’re headed in for a Sunday breakfast, get in early to enjoy your paper.  After 9:30 or so, you may have to wait unless you are a party of one and can handle the bar.  The outside porch apparently doesn’t get going until 9am, disappointing if you’re an early riser.

I have found the food to be consistent.  You’ll find the quality and preparation to be the same on your third visit as the first.  Hot, quick, and plenty are the value drivers of this place.  These guys don’t spend time making the plate or the food pretty.  If you expect that, you may want to look elsewhere.

Karen's City Diner Richmond Virginia

Today I ordered up the corned beef hash, two eggs over easy, hash browns, dry wheat toast, and coffee.  The eggs were perfect and for those who like eggs-over-easy, you know how easy it is to screw those up.  Just right eggs-over-easy is a pure demonstration of short order cooking skill.

The hash was great, just what I expected.  It was placed on the griddle and heated through, brown and crispy in some places.  Golden brown and crispy would not be how I would describe the potatoes however.  It appeared these guys just barely warmed the hash browns.  I should have used the ketchup.

Total time for me to get through the Post, eat, and enjoy a couple final sips of coffee was about 40-45 minutes.   I got out for under $11, tip included.  A little over-priced for the food quality.  Not too bad for the experience and a full stomach.

Overall the breakfast was average.  But this isn’t why you go to Karen’s City Diner.  Coffee pots have been surgically implanted at the end of the wait staff’s arms and they seem to like it.  Neighbors gather to talk of their kid’s first steps, or pancakes.  Families gather to discuss Uncle Jack’s barbecue mishap the night before, or Aunt Eunice’s crazy eye.  And guys like me just looking to read the paper can do so in peace with lots of hot coffee.

B-Fast Review:  3.5 out of 5 eggs awarded.

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