Little Diner

9 Jan 2011
Cheap Eat (up to $7)
North Huntsville
3 out of 5

Melanie’s Take

I’ve driven down Jordan Lane a few times and noticed that there was this little place in a strip mall that was always busy. Shane and I were over that way on New Year’s Eve and decided to drop in for lunch. Little Diner is a smoker-friendly place that serves a mix of southern, American, and Korean food. Cigarette smoke is not my bag, but luckily no one was smoking when we went in. We were promptly greeted and our waitress was kind to make suggestions since this was our first visit.

I chose that plate lunch with meatloaf, mashed potatoes, macaroni salad, fried okra, and cornbread. Our waitress suggested the meatloaf because it was from scratch and the other protein options were frozen. She couldn’t have made a better suggestion. The meatloaf was some of the best I’ve ever had. It was moist, flavorful, and full of peppers and onions. The meatloaf was also topped with brown gravy, a nice addition to its flavors. My mashed potatoes were the instant variety (not my fave) and the okra was just ok, but the macaroni salad was surprisingly delicious. It was less of a mayonaisse salad and more of a mustard base with corn, green peas, hard-boiled eggs, and carrots. It was unlike any other macaroni salad I’ve had, but it would give any other a run for its money. Perhaps the best feature of Little Diner was its owner. He was personable and friendly…the kind of guy whose business you’d want to support. Plate lunch menu options change daily, and Tuesdays feature a dish called BUL-GO-KIE, a Korean specialty. If you want to give it a try but aren’t into smoke, carryout orders are accepted.

Shane’s Take

Occasionally, you just have to try something to know what it’s like, and that’s how we were with Little Diner. Melanie and I have driven by it a handful of times, and it often is busy, but neither of us had any expectations, as we know no one who’s eaten there, and we never bothered to research it. Fortunately, it turned out to be a good eat. The Little Diner atmosphere is plain. Being called a diner, I didn’t expect we were about to enter a finely-decorated establishment, and, well, we didn’t. There are few decorations on the wall, the lighting is fluorescent, and the atmosphere is otherwise simple. The store has a touch of character, but mostly it’s just plain. Despite its simplicity, it’s a warm place to be. The workers were kind and were enjoying each other’s company (too many restaurants have no time for employee laughter, don’t you agree?), and the presence of the owner’s courteous husband gave the store a comfortable feel. Without the people, the store would’ve been cold, especially with those dogged fluourescent lights, but with the people it was a nice place to be.

With the waiter’s recommendation, I ordered their most popular item, a burger with cheese and a side of fries. It was great. For one, it was huge—probably a third-pounder. It was perfectly fried, and it had a great texture. The toppings—mayo, lettuce, tomato, and cheese—were standard fare but well complimented the meat. I strongly prefer the flavor of a grill over a griddle, but the burger tasted good. Except for grilling it, all I’d do differently is add some Lawry’s seasoning salt. The fries didn’t have a spectacular flavor, but they were hot, fresh, and tasty. With lots of ketchup, they made for great fries, and they would’ve been even better if I’d added some salt. Regardless, at about $4 for everything, it was an excellent value. Five Guys, which beat out Little Diner for Huntsville’s best burger in 2009, would’ve wanted $8 for all that I ate, and the burger would still be fried. All things considered, I enjoyed Little Diner and recommend it. The service was prompt and friendly, and, as Melanie mentioned, the owner’s husband was courteous and kind. Plus, the burger was tasty and probably the best valued burger in town. The atmosphere isn’t anything special, but it didn’t detract from the experience. I look forward to returning. Final tidbits:

  • Check out the “Chucky E. Cheese” typo in the menu, as shown in the picture below. Upon leaving the restaurant, for a moment I thought about an evil doll taking the stage with some animatronic stuffed animals and hoofing out a verse or two of something like “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart”.
  • The sweet tea is so-so. It’s really sweet, but the flavor isn’t spectacular. A Coca-cola would work better with the burger.
Little Diner on Urbanspoon

4 Responses

  1. Cassie Grantland Lawson

    Thanks for the “smoker friendly” warning!!!!

  2. Phyllis Young Basham

    That meatloaf and burger certainly look yummy.

  3. Forrest Joel Grissom

    I’ve had a burger there before. It was definitely good and well priced.

  4. Lara Baswell

    these pics make my mouth water. Reminds me of Dubs Burgers in Athens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *