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Metro Diner's patty melt

Having been to many a diner—including one back in the '70s near Manchester, Connecticut, along with a few in a Yonkers, NY and, of course, New Jersey—I was slightly skeptical about a diner coming to Sarasota. Would it be good, hearty food or a fraud? I've been to a few places that claim to be delis but aren't really, and when I walked into the new Metro Diner, at Westfield Siesta Key, I confess I was expecting the same kind of thing.  
 
Shame on me.
 
Metro Diner delivers even more than the name implies. The menu boasts hearty food, including some of the best fried  chicken and waffles in town, made even better with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and hot sauce drizzle. Get lots of napkins ready and make sure to eat the waffles fast, before they cool down, so they're not soggy. The chicken is insanely moist.
 
Then there are the sandwiches. The patty melt is a throwback must. The juicy meat drips down your chin, stuffed inside buttered slices of rye with grilled onions and Swiss cheese. I devoured it in about 6 bites. So good. And believe me, I've taken down my share of fried pork sandwiches with provolone, wilted spinach, caramelized red onions, bacon, fried jalapenos, sliced tomatoes and garlic aioli on grilled Italian bread. (Pro tip: split it or you'll burst.)
 
Breakfast for dinner is my thing, so Metro's stuffed French toast with berry compote would only be better if I could wear my pajamas to the restaurant. Huevos rancheros with chorizo sausage is another standout. 
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Classic diner comfort food

There are daily specials like beef pot pie and several ladies at the next table swore the Western omelet is a darn good one. As Metro Diner looks set to expand, I hope the team keeps the quality and portion sizes intact. And may it never change the chicken and waffles.
 
Oh, and wear sneakers for several laps around the mall after you finish eating—you'll need them!
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Metro Diner

$$ American, Breakfast/Brunch, Southern 3501 S. Tamiami Trail

Metro Diner, a burgeoning chain born in Jacksonville in 1992, opened its first Sarasota location in July 2017 in a revamped space inside the Westfield Siesta...