Metro Diner opened its doors for the first time on W. Kennedy Blvd this morning, bringing the chain of retro eateries to Tampa for the first time.

With a motto of “once you walk in, you feel like a local,” diners are treated to "meals made with love." Those walking in might get the vibe of a typical Northeast diner, the air full of the scent of strong coffee and syrup-covered pancakes, though the concept was founded in Jacksonville. For the snowbirds and tourists from the Northeast Corridor, Metro Diner provides the familiar taste of home.

The expansive menu includes breakfast favorites like fried chicken and waffles, classic benedicts and various omelets. They also have unique dishes like a cinnamon roll pancake and croissant french toast. One of their most popular plates is the Metro Pancake, also knowns as “The 12-inch Challenge” because the pancake is so large.

“When you order this pancake you can’t even see the plate. It’s one of our “Wow!” plates,” said managing partner Aimee Helms, who joined the company after over twenty years running an Outback in Colorado. Because the pancake is so large, the challenge is just to empty your plate, which Helms said is rare. "When we set them down everybody goes 'oh my gosh!'"

But as every diner should, they also have lunch and dinner favorites for those who choose savory over sweet. The most popular savory item on the menu is the Holy Davoli Burger, topped with lettuce slaw in between two grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with American cheese, ripe tomatoes and hickory-smoked bacon.

Helms wants locals of Tampa to know that they are a diner in every sense of the word, including making you a regular. They expect a server will know your name and order as soon as you walk in the door.

Metro Diner is located at on 4011 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL, and is open 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week, with most entrees running between $10 and $13. Breakfast is served all day. 

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Picture by author.