Thank Baby Jesus It’s NOT My Momma’s Meatloaf! Diner 437–St. Petersburg, Florida

21Aug09

diner437 **(a post that breaks blog-length “rules,” but when you see how much food we ate, you’ll see there was no way around this)

Where the motto is “It’s not your Momma’s Meatloaf,” Diner 437 more than delivers on that promise and exceeds all expectations. In fact, self-proclaiming that they serve “American Comfort Food” is nothing shy of selling themselves short. If they instead advertised “Some of the Most Delicious Food You’ve Ever Had In Your Entire Effin’ Life,” they’d be much closer to the mark.

Located at 437 Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, Diner 437 is a quaint restaurant, tastefully decorated as an updated diner. Hand-painted diner waitresses reminiscent of pin-up girls flirt with the open kitchen that practically begs you to sit at the counter and watch Chef Domenica “Donnie” Macchia masterfully cook whatever you’ve ordered from her unique menu (listen carefully, she’s probably humming a tune while she cooks—a sign that she loves what she does).

The menu is carefully designed with a focus on fresh ingredients and amazing flavor combinations. While there for lunch with three friends, this Fatty-On-Assignment Correspondent sampled the following (you might want to loosen your belt buckle now):

Diner437--Starters

From top to bottom

  • Warm, soft pretzels with spicy grain mustard for dipping
  • Salad special with mixed greens, orange segments, goat cheese, and vinaigrette steeped in Earl Grey
  • Fried green beans and asparagus spears with citrus dipping sauce
  • French fries fried in duck fat with roasted garlic aioli, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • (not pictured) Sweet potato fries like I’ve never had. It’s not a secret that I’m over the sweet potato fries craze and really don’t find them all that great usually, but these were different. I found later that they were tossed in butter and brown sugar. Lesson: add butter and brown sugar to anything I’m not excited about and it makes the world better. They tasted like Thanksgiving. Yum!

From left to right (oh yeah, we kept on going):

Diner437--Sammiches

  • Roasted chicken breast sandwich with sautéed spinach and shallots, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese
  • Pork tenderloin sandwich with and sweet and sour red cabbage, Shock Top mustard on grilled country white
  • Seared tuna sandwich with tomato, avocado, jalapeno dressing on wheat berry toast
  • Lobster BT sandwich: lobster salad, applewood bacon, and tomato on brioche

All were amazing. I went into that Lobster BT with trepidation. For $12 (the most expensive sandwich on the affordable menu), I expected the lobster salad to be 2934871928 cups of mayo with a tablespoon of fake lobster; and I couldn’t have been further from reality. It had piles and piles of real lobster, lightly dressed. All sandwiches come with fries (the regular variety) or a salad complete with a choice of delicious homemade dressing. I opted for a salad with Green Goddess dressing—a thick, avocado-based dressing with a perfect tang.

As if that wasn’t enough (christ, people, it was 36 hours ago and I’m still full), we went back a couple of hours later and tried a contender for the upcoming Fall menu: homemade beef and pork brat with homemade pickles and grain mustard—of course, made with beer and cider. We roly-poly’d our fat asses out of there before we could dive into the dessert menu, though we’ll undoubtedly be back soon to work our way through that.

Service = impeccable, Prices = unrealistically reasonable, Atmosphere = casual, classy, full of personality, Food = I can’t stop talking about how amazing it is! If you find yourself anywhere near St. Petersburg, don’t let a hurricane stop you, make your way to Diner 437—and go with an empty stomach.

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2 Responses to “Thank Baby Jesus It’s NOT My Momma’s Meatloaf! Diner 437–St. Petersburg, Florida”

  1. 1 annette baesel

    Diner 437 is my fave in St. Pete…or practically anywhere. I’m so glad that you had a great experience and have written such an inviting (and absolutely truthful) review. You must return soon for the fall menu when one of the new sandwiches is gong to the Deep Fried Turkey breast sandwich (open faced with mashed potatoes and kick ass to die for gravy). Maybe I’ll see you at the counter one of these days.

  2. ahhh… there were many other visits to Diner 437 (subsequent blog posts pending) while I was in St. Pete. And that open-faced deep fried turkey sandwich was HEAVEN! I’ve also sampled the desserts and re-fell in love with it all. In a twist of fate, my flight out of St. Pete was cancelled yesterday, so I’m here for (another) farewell (again) goodbye (no, for REALS this time) meal with Chef Donnie (who I’m pretty sure I have a food crush on). 🙂


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