I’ve always been impressed with the vibrant and diverse food scene Gainesville has to offer, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. Gainesville has been seriously lacking in the comfort food arena, and with Metro Diner, a new contender has finally arrived.

Upon pulling up to Metro Diner, I knew it would be an instant classic from the bright green neon sign that warmly welcomed us and when the first question our waitress asked was, “Can I start you off with some pumpkin spice coffee or peach tea?” Yes. You most certainly can.

Originally started in Jacksonville in 1992, Metro Diner has opened locations in St. Augustine and now Gainesville, and has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Metro Diner

Photo by Jocelyn Gordon

The service is amazing here. Three employees, aside from our waitress, came over to ask how we were during our visit. The place also evokes a quiet nostalgia–exactly what you would expect of a diner. Photos hang from the walls, displaying framed reviews and pictures of their most famous dishes.

The food itself absolutely lives up to the advertised “comfort food with flair.” Whether you get breakfast (served all day), lunch or dinner, their extensive menu will not disappoint.

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A photo posted by Ken Eats Gainesville (@keneatsgainesville) on

Metro Diner’s “Triple D Famous” claim to fame is the Meatloaf Plate. This dish is served with mashed red skinned potatoes, two slices of meatloaf–covered in gravy of course–a fresh baguette, zucchini and squash. As described on DDD, the meatloaf is made of some delicious and unexpected ingredients, and really has what was so accurately deemed “exterior crustification.”

Need a decadent brunch to cure your hangover? “Yo Hala on the Square” is your guy. This dish is a heaping mountain of challah french toast stuffed with bananas, brown sugar, cream cheese, hazelnut syrup that’s topped with a blueberry-strawberry compote. This meal will leave you in awe–and wanting a salad for your next meal (check out the Pittsburgh Steak Salad–it has french fries in it).

Metro Diner

Photo by Jocelyn Gordon

If you want a more traditional breakfast try the “San Francisco Benedict”. This English muffin layered with poached eggs, Canadian bacon, tomato, avocado, spinach, and hollandaise sauce cannot be beat, especially when accompanied by crispy hash-browns.

Just like the menu, the serving sizes are massive, making it almost, yet not completely, impossible to finish. With so many irresistible options, it’s impossible to visit Metro Diner just once.