The Gem City Dinor – Erie,PA – Fat Guy Reviewer: Adam

Spellcheck is insisting that the name of the restaurant is wrong, but it’s just one of those weird things in the Erie, PA area…. Diners are often named Dinors instead. Why? Who knows? It could have just been a typo in some long-gone publication or it was just a way for this little town on the shores of Lake Erie to be a little bit more unique. The name comes from an old and often-used nickname for Erie, and it goes something like, “…Erie is the Gem City in the crown of Pennsylvania…” or something along those lines. Anywho….

Gem City Dinor

The Gem City Dinor is a welcome addition to the region’s locally owned and operated eateries. The new establishment is owned by a delightful couple of folks by the name of Richard and Elaine (not married as many think, just good friends and business partners), and the environment within the dinor is light, modern, airy and open, all while maintaining a hometown feel with small details such as the different salt/pepper shaker sets that adorn each table. They’re all different, and they’re not your normal set from the local five and dime or restaurant supply outlet. But did I get a picture of them? Well, of course not! O well, I’ll just have to go back…

My co-worker Scott and I visited the dinor on the second day in operation, but you couldn’t tell that they’d only opened the day before. The service felt more like the place had been open for years instead of just a day. The staff was all very well trained, our food came out in a very short amount of time, Richard came out and asked how the food was (my guess is that he has a hand in things where the kitchen operations go), and Elaine also came by to chat with us briefly. It made our visit that much more pleasant. Since this is a dinor (or Diner if you prefer), and since such establishments are known for breakfast food, we both ordered off the Breakfast portion of the menu. They serve breakfast all day, and they are open for and serve lunch as well. I ordered the ” 2 pancakes, 2 Bacon, 2 Eggs and Sausage” Breakfast which comes in at around $8. The pancakes themselves are enormous… The pictures don’t do them justice. They’re of a size that I thought was long gone from the tables of diners everywhere. We have a few breakfast places in town, and even though some of those have been around for quite some time as well, they don’t offer the “Classic” diner-sized pancakes that the Gem City does. Wow! And the flavor! Buttermilk pancakes with a twist. Scott and I posited that the pancakes might contain a bit of buckwheat as well that gives them a little extra kick. Hard to say. More …ahem… testing is required.

The Coffee. Normally I order coffee at a restaurant out of some morbid curiosity just to see how bad it is, but here that was not the case. In Erie, we are blessed with a growing number of non-chain choices when it comes to a good cup of coffee, and on top of that, we have a couple (possibly more) local coffee roasters. Across the street from Gem City Dinor is another locally owned and operated family business by the name of Millcreek Coffee. I order coffee for my office from there, and as it turns out, Gem City gets their coffee from Millcreek as well. I could tell by the aroma as soon as our waitress set it down in front of me. For one thing, I couldn’t see the bottom of the cup through the dirty water type of coffee some places serve, no this was black as the night itself, and the flavor is some sort of house blend that might include my favorite varietal, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Let’s just say that whatever the blend is, the folks at Gem City chose wisely.

In conclusion, the folks at Gem City Dinor are on the path to great success, and I can safely say that this place is Fat Guy Approved with two thumbs way up! Map below:

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