What are your impressions of the classic American diner? Growing up mine was of busy dining rooms full of elderly people where the fare was plentiful but seldom good. Their menus were as thick as phone books and every waitress addressed you as sugar, honey or darling, which can be creepy if not delivered correctly. Many of the diners from my youth have since been bulldozed and replaced by Starbucks, but a few remain and Atlanta is actually home to one of the best! The Marietta Diner sits on Cobb Parkway just north of 285 and is an easy trip from the city. It’s been around for almost 20 years and is the passion of a large Greek family that runs the joint, which explains the spanakopita, moussaka and souvlaki on the menu. Don’t get me wrong, no one is going to mistake the food at The Marietta Diner for that of Per Se, but it’s charming in its own way; the food is high quality, they have a cake case that can rival any in NYC and the servers still call you sugar…in a good way!
The first thing you see when you walk through the shiny doors are the two large cake cases housing upwards of 40 varieties…and they’re huge, coming in close to the size of a car tire!
The menu at The Marietta Diner covers all of the classics, but unlike most diners it’s actually manageable at only a few pages; I have been to some diners in Jersey where the menu is literally 20+ pages. I tend to stick to hot sandwiches like the paninis, gyros and my all-time favorite the open faced sirloin; grilled to a perfect medium rare and topped with a little homemade remoulade, it’s pure comfort food!
Upon seating at your table you’re greeted with a fresh plate of spanakopita, which is a nice change from the typical boring bread offering; it offers a little taste of the diner’s heritage to all who enter, and it’s pretty damn good.
My other favorites are the lamb gyro and the ruben panini, with juicy corned beef, melted Swiss cheese and a little kraut…you’re going to need at least two napkins for this!
This probably goes without saying, but the portions are huge and I almost always take half of my order to go. While portion size can be a bad thing in some peoples’ opinions, the size of a slice of cake here is downright obscene; trust me when I tell you to order one piece for every three people. The hardest part about ordering is deciding which kind to try; I recommend going to the display case and asking questions there.
The Marietta Diner is a great place for a comfortable, laid back dinner; especially if you’re looking for above average comfort food or just want to stop in for a piece of pie and a coffee. I usually go about once or twice a year and would probably be a more frequent visitor if it was closer to my house…which would probably be a bad thing for my health based on my ordering habits! If you want to learn more about the diner check them out on this episode of Diners Drive-ins and Dives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59h7X5AKnsQ