THE PLACE: Every time a Joe’s Diner commercial came on TV, I said I’d eventually try it.
Then, when I wondered why I hadn’t seen a commercial in awhile, that made me remember to actually try it. And I’m glad I did.
The ’50s-style diner on the corner of Neil Road and South Virginia Street in south Reno met my expectations. Now, with the construction at Neil and Meadowood wrapping up, it likely will be easier to get to.
THE LOOK: Joe’s Diner prides itself on that old-time look. The outside is a vintage stainless steel diner with bright colored signs. The inside is open, with retro gray and red upholstery on the seat cushions and a checker-board floor.
The bar seating has bright red cushions and on the walls are old pictures and magazine covers.
Yes, Joe’s is retro, but they also have three flat-panel TVs just in case a game is on.
THE MEAL: Back in the day, I remember seeing something about a falafel at Joe’s on TV. Why in the heck is a ’50s diner serving a Middle Eastern dish?
I’m guessing many asked the same question, and it was taken off.
On this visit, the main features were the burgers, sandwiches and sloppy joes. My buddy ordered a traditional sloppy joe with cheese and a side of housemade potato chips.
The sloppy joe looked fresh with onions and peppers, and he said it had more of a tomato taste than a barbecue sauce taste. It was served with a mini American flag. Nice touch.
I had the chili dog. The chili was nice and hot over a quarter-pound beef frank. It came with tomatoes, pickle and onions, but I asked to exclude those items. The meal came in a small dish that kept the chili from spilling over, and that dish was on top of a plate full of shoe-string fries. The potato-skin fries were lightly salted with a nice crunch.
The meal came to about $18.
KUDOS: I can’t say enough how clean the place was. The paint didn’t really match, but I don’t think it has to at a diner. The important part is that it was done well. I liked the open layout, and the staff was great.
QUIBBLES: All diners have mini jukeboxes at the tables, and Joe’s is no different. The problem? Not one of those things worked. What a waste of space. The big jukebox in the middle of the diner had to suffice, but having the personal one operational would have been cool.
ALTERNATIVES: Their menu is huge. The 12 burgers to choose from looked very good, and only the chili burger was more than $10. They have 10 types of sloppy joe, including some with pineapple, onion rings, jalapenos, mushrooms, avocado and bacon bits. You can also put sloppy joe on just about everything, including salad.
The joint also has a large breakfast menu with french toast, waffles, eggs, pancakes and omelets.
RETURN TRIP: It’s a place I’d take my dad; I think he’d like it a lot.