The other day, the wife & I were enjoying our normal routine: running errands all afternoon after playing with the cats all morning. We were headed for our regular dining spot, Douglasville’s O’Charley’s, when Ruth suggested we try the new Douglasville Diner. I had been meaning to stop by and sample our new hometown diner and, with some hesitation, passed up my favorite house salad with balsamic vinaigrette to experience what the diner had to offer. My, my, my…what a mistake.
For those of you who don’t know, the Douglasville Diner is the first in our town of a string of diners including the Carrollton Diner, the more famous Marietta Diner and the short lived Macon Diner (which had its automatic toilet flushers repossessed and had paychecks bouncing everywhere). It is located on Highway 5 in the old Ruby Tuesday building next to the Office Depot.
Our trip to the diner started out very well: two young gentlemen opened the doors for us, the hostess seated us promptly and our server was just as warm and kind as could be. Unfortunately, this was to be the end of our dining enjoyment.
Since I planned on reviewing the restaurant, we decided to have a conventional meal-appetizer, two meals, drinks, and desserts. While we ordered the queso dip and tortilla chips, the wife asked which beers they had on tap. Unfortunately, she started, they did not have any alcohol although they had a liquor license after waiting weeks for that alone. Now, let me make it very clear that Ruth and I are never rude in a restaurant; we completely understand the serving business and refuse to be those kinds of customers, so we didn’t press about the absence of alcohol even with a license.
While waiting for our chips and dip, I took a peek around the restaurant while the ball & chain looked through the menu. “I think I’ll get the gyro wrap…it’s hard to mess those up.” She was trying to give the diner the benefit of the doubt, although she had worked at the Macon Diner and had her own reservations of the business.
“Look at this place…it’s like Saved by the Bell and the DOT had a fight in here,” I noted the décor: so mismatched and cheesy…and not in that or Chilis kind of way.
Finally, the chips & queso arrived. We placed our orders with the very nice server: Ruth’s gyro and my chicken sandwich. “You’ll absolutely want to try the dessert,” she added. And after remembering that the Marietta Diner is famous for its desserts (and realizing that is probably where the desserts came from in the first place) we set an order for the tiramisu for me and the cannoli cake for the wife after our meals.
The queso smelled great…and I’m sure it would have tasted great as well…if it weren’t for the chips that didn’t really crunch so much as they did bend. Yes, the chips were stale. The whole bunch of them. So, we set the appetizer aside and prayed for a decent meal to follow.
While waiting for the sandwiches, which were taking a considerable amount of time, I counted four, five, six managers walking out from the kitchen doors. They all set down in a nearby booth, laughing and carrying on. The three servers I saw seemed to somewhat be in the weeds (a term in the serving industry for being in a little bit over your head with orders and customer demands). None of the managers, save the one female manager, got up to help. She moved behind the bar to assist the bartender (but not with alcohol, of course) and as it bothered me to see the men undeterred by the help needed in the restaurant, our meals arrived.
After thanking the server, I cut my fried chicken sandwich in half…only to discover the chicken did not look completely up to par, although cooked through. On trying the sandwich, I discovered the chicken was of questionable quality and gave up on it. I moved to the French fries, which weren’t half bad, and asked Ruth how her gyro was. “Pretty good…” I wasn’t convinced so I gave her that look. “Well, the tzatziki sauce is nice, but this meat is cheap…it can’t be real lamb.” So we finished off our fries and my coleslaw (which was actually the most enjoyable part of my meal, save the dessert).
The server seemed to not notice our almost full plates when she came to clear them and bring our dessert. The cakes were in fact the best I’ve ever had and I can honestly write to all of you that if you decide to end up at the Douglasville Diner, please let it only be for the desserts. The tiramisu was so rich and creamy with a fluffy lady finger inlay and the cannoli cake was so on point I almost stole it from the wife. The desserts were so filling we ended up packing up most of each slice and bringing it home.
All in all, the diner was a disgrace. It embarrasses me to see my hometown’s name on the building after the experience I had. I would suggest maybe opening a smaller, much smaller, dessert bar and changing the name to possibly the Douglasville Bakery because this diner? This is not what the doctor ordered. And for all those who feel the need to try out the diner, do yourself a favor and hit up the off of Chapel Hill Road. I promise you won't be disappointed there.