We've been eating here for years. It's great before a Blues or Cards game, or after a night on the town, as they are open 24 hours on the weekends. Lately, however, we've noticed a significant slip in the food. About a month ago, a group of friends and I ate here around 3 AM on a Saturday night. I ordered meatloaf with mashed potatoes, one of their specialties. When my meal arrived, the meatloaf was lukewarm on the outside and stone cold on the inside. The mashed potatoes tasted as if they were made a few days ago and sat in the fridge, and contained some water. Meal rating: F. I realize even the best restaurants have their nights, so I figured I'd give them a pass on this one. So lets fast-forward to early this morning: I had a friend in town and as we were out for a late night on the town, I decided to treat him to the diner. I ordered their "South City Philly," he had a Cuban sandwich. The meal arrived fairly quickly. My Philly was a big disappointment. Two greasy slices of bread housing a layer of green peppers, onions, and swiss. The peppers and onions were tasty enough, but the "steak," or lack thereof, consisted of a few meager slices of tough, grayish meat, drenched in grease from the vegetables. For a reference, Subway gives you about twice as much meat, on a bigger slice of bread. The fries were the worst part. They were as limp as a 300-year-old corpse, and soggy as a wet sponge, just drenched in grease. They were disgusting, inedible, and my friend, who ordered the Cuban sandwich, said his weren't any better. Their fries USED to be perfectly crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and deliciously seasoned. This meal rating: F-. I'm not sure what's happening late in the night behind the scenes in the kitchen, but it's understandable that it might not be easy finding a skilled cook who wants to work overnight hours on the weekends. Because we've had so many good meals here prior to these past two experiences, I'll give City Diner one more pitch. If it's strike three, we're not coming back.
I only give city one star because zero is not an option. Granted our waiter may have been new, however our manager was not. Our table was a party of 7, 2 couples and 5 singles. We did not order our food with special instructions. On four separate times after telling our waiter we would like beverage refills half of the table received refills and finally after 15 minutes I got up and serviced our request with another waiter. Most of our food arrived however there was one plate that had to wait 10 minutes longer. Getting our check was a nightmare. We offered how to split the checks when our order was taken, but the waiter refused and said he would split the checks at the end of the meal. When check time came we were left sitting for over 35 minutes while the waiter attempted to process the tickets. I called the manager who apologized and I thought he would help the waiter process. Instead, the waiter was left to cipher alone. I asked for the manager again and the waiter ignored my request. Finally another waitress got the manager, who again apologized, typed something on the computer and left the waiter once more to cipher. The manager returned with 30% off coupons for a FUTURE visit which by this time would never happen. Still no check. Finally the waiter handed my check over...it was wrong. Again he ciphered then came up with my check. By this time I was beyond mad. I told the manager that I felt he should comp my check for the gross incompetence of not only himself, but his staff. In front of the entire table the manager informed me that I had eaten the food and he did not run a charity. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? My check was only $25. We were at the restaurant for over 2 hours due to gross incompetence. 2 hours of my time in my office is billed for $150. PLEASE my time and pallet are worth more than an insulting 30% off coupon.
Love the food, the service and the atmosphere. I've been surfing Grand Street for about a year. I end up down there for meetings or just to have fun with friends and always end up in Tower Grove for Saturday soccer. Anyway, I discovered City Diner about 8 months ago and go about twice a week. I never order the same thing - and everything I've ever tried has been good. The staff has been very nice to me every time I'm there, maybe they recognize me and know I'm a good tipper...but even the first time I was there I had a great experience. Tips for awesome food: I really love their fried chicken. I admit I've had that more than once :D and their irish coffee rocks my face off.
The Horrible Hostess.
June 11, 2011
FYI - The young lady with the long red hair (the hostess) has a big issue with African Americans entering the restaurant. We were very disappointed with her. She needs to take a diversity class to clearly understand what the word discrimination means. This young girl treated my fiance' and I as if we had a disease when entering the door. She did not give us any eye contact and mumbled a few words before directing us to a table in the back of the restaurant. Keep in mind, the place was literally empty.
No, we did not stay at the back table she so boldly gave us. We walked right to the front of the restaurant and sat by the front door (passing all the empty tables the hostess passed up).
To add insult to injury, there were 3 groups of Caucasian guests who entered the restaurant and were properly greeted and had the option of sitting in the front section of the restaurant. When exiting the restaurant she smiled and thanked them for their service. When we left, all we got was complete silence and a very disturbing stare out the door.
To make a long story short, we were very displeased with her ignorance. I started going to the South City Diner 4 years ago and never had a problem with their service. It's so sad to see what it has become. To the manager Richard, I would hope you wouldn't continue to keep people employed who discriminates. This could be a liability to your business.
For the record, our server Shelly gave us good customer service and the food was good.
It's really sad to know the one person who ruined our experience was the first person you come in contact with. In these current economic times bad customer service plays a very important role to your business. I will never recommend anyone to eat at the South City Diner. We've already told many people and different organizations about our experience and they've second the motion. It really doesn't pay to be ignorant. In the end, it can cost you in more ways than one. Get rid of the hostess or lose the one color that keeps you in business "GREEN CASH".
nice casual environment for average food. well it is great because it is 24 hours on the weekends, which is nice. it is a relaxed casual environment where i think anyone would feel welcome. maybe it was my shoes, but the floor was so greasy i felt like i was walking on ice! the booth was really small and crowded even with only two people in it. the service left a little to be desired but not horrible. the food was ok. about denny's quality. the atmosphere was cooler than dennys though :)
The food is nothing special. Might as well go to IHOP or Denny's.
The wait staff consists of "people with attitude" so all you get is crappy service with a crappy attitude.
The only reason to go here is for the fancy decorations.
South City Diner is crashing and burning!.
I have been a loyal customer for many years, but my last 2 visits have made me very unhappy. Both the service and the food are really suffering. For example, it took 30 minutes to get our meatloaf sandwiches. They were cold and dry, the mashed potatoes were so-so and the gravy was slopped all over the plate like a toddler did it. Our food was dropped off by someone other than our waitress. We asked this person for some silverware and she said OK--never returned. We then asked a waiter servicing the table next to us if he could give us silverware. Without even looking at us he said "I wish I could help you" and walked away. We sat for at least 5 more minutes with no silverware and our crappy lunch getting crappier. I got up and got us silverware out of a bin next to the cash register. We never got refills on our drinks, the waitress only came back to drop off the bill, and when she took the bill with our credit card it took forever for her to come back! I really regret going there.
Save your money or go to Denny's if you want mediocre food and yucky waiters.
Cool place, horrible food..
Many of my friends drag me to this place for late night food or Saturday/Sunday morning breakfast. In the 15+ times I have eaten here, I have only been happy with my order once. Yes, once. Now, I'm not a picky person and frankly have only returned food to a kitchen at two places 1) the Parkmoore which is no longer in business, and 2) City Diner.
Examples of how they have made me unhappy include (but are not limited to).
Cold chicken fried steak. Not cold as in sitting out too long, cold as it pulled from the freezer and not cooked through.
Cold coffee as if it had been sitting in a cup somewhere for 30 minutes prior to it reaching my table.
Eggs ordered over hard and received runny.
Potatoes not fully cooked, just browned.
Undercooked hamburger pink and runny.
Now I am not the only person I know who has had issues with their food, just the one of my group that has difficulty here ALL THE TIME. Seriously, it's become a running joke in my group to see what is going to be wrong with my order. Again, I've only sent food back a few times in my life, and even though I always have problems here, I don't always send the food back for correction (with the exception of undercooked meat, that always gets sent back).
It was decent. The staff was average. The food was average.
I was completely expecting something more...Exciting.
The outdoor seats are very limited, they are right along the sidewalk and many people walk past you while you are eating, which is not very comfortable.
Grand is more notorious for it's other restaurants.
Better than a diner.
Service must have improved. We ate at City Diner at least four times a week in mid-2006. Service was above average every time except once. There is a wait for breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning; no wait other times. A metered parking lot is on the east side of Grand, half a block south.
One sign of quality is that they grind their own coffee beans and make salsa from scratch. The excellent mashed potatoes, hash browns and cottage fries seem made from scratch also. My favorite dish is the polenta appetizer, which comes with a delicious sun-dried tomato sauce. Other favorites are vegetarian eggs benedict and blueberry pancakes. They sell a lot of milkshakes. My wife likes the cole slaw because it has a vinegar dressing with no mayonnaise. The only things mediocre are side dishes they don't make from scratch.
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