400 E. Saratoga St. Open 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Call 962-5379. Fax 962-5380. If you're in the mood for a chocolate malt or a burger in a basket, just head on down to the newly re-opened Kids' Diner.
The stainless steel structure that made its movie debut in Barry Levinson's "Diner" and later served as a training ground for city vo-tech students is back in business. The decor is right out of the '50s, but the menu has favorites from several decades.
You can get "old-fashioned meatloaf like Mom used to fix" or a taco salad. Try a cheeseburger with fries if your appetite is hearty or the grilled chicken salad if you're watching your weight.
The mashed potatoes must be good, because they had run out of them by the time we stopped by for lunch. The hot roast turkey sandwich with homemade gravy ($3.95) came with cottage fries instead and was as warm and comforting as anticipated.
The dieter in our group opted for a taco salad ($4.25) and reported it tasty and filling even though she chose to skip the sour cream. And a tuna melt sandwich ($3.95), made with American cheese and served with fries, also got high marks.
The diner also serves cold sandwiches, fried chicken, chili and at least two kinds of soup. Its full breakfast menu -- including hot cakes, corned beef hash, oatmeal and hash browns -- is a tempting reason to get downtown a little early for the workday.
Everything on the menu is available in carryout, but it seems a shame to order a milkshake or sundae and not enjoy it from the soda fountain or one of the vinyl booths that line the interior, with the jukebox playing in the background.