Carnegie Coffee Company) but two new-to-us places! After watching the Kentucky Derby (also known as watching the horse I bet finish in 13th place so now SP owes my dad money) we decided to try a place right down the road from us: Central Diner & Grille.
I'm not sure when it opened. I think I've read that it used to be a Denny's, but since I don't even remember having a Denny's on Steubenville Pike, I think it's safe to say that either 1) We don't drive on that stretch of road much to get where we need to go in Robinson and/or 2) My powers of observation are absolutely awful. I didn't notice Central Diner & Grille until late last summer and when I did notice it, it was because of the packed parking lot. Its Facebook page bills it as a Diner/Greek Restaurant.
I think what has kept us from going is fear of a long wait. Did I mention the place always looks jam packed? It was busy on Saturday a bit before 7 pm and we feared a long wait. The very personable guy (owner? manager?) taking names told us it would be a 5-10 minute wait and we were skeptical. However, we really were seated in 5-10 minutes. The place is like a well oiled machine - it's controlled chaos, choreographed effectiveness. No sooner do diners vacate their table than a busboy swoops in and quickly - and I mean quickly - cleans and re-sets the table. But no swooping in until the diners have cleared the dining room. There is no rushing diners. The boisterous manager/owner (?) quickly calls your name and seats you, your waitress zips by to deliver water, grab some menus if you don't already have them, and you feel a little dazed at the rapid efficiency that doesn't feel rushed or frenzied.
After all that food you would think we'd pass on dessert. But we didn't. We did, however, get it to go.
I'm sad that it took us so long to try Central Diner & Grille. It's definitely a great non-chain option in the land of chain restaurants. The menu has something for everyone, huge portions, and what we had was very tasty. The iced tea was fresh brewed. The employees were very friendly and welcoming. It is busy, but as we experienced and as we read on several other reviews, you don't have to wait long to be seated. It can be rather loud in the dining room, but honestly we've recently dined at some restaurants that were much, much louder, in my opinion (like Urban Tap, where I could barely hear myself think and left with a headache).
We'll definitely be back.