The Redwood Diner has been a Hamburg St. institution since I was a little girl; I always remember it being there. They had been advertising $5.99 chicken parmigiana dinners on Monday night a few times over the summer. I go there for breakfast from time to time , but hadn’t been there for dinner in a few years. So one recent Monday, after spending the afternoon in the laundromat and missing lunch, I decided to pop in.
I was warmly greeted by Gloria Adrikpoulos who has owned the Redwood Diner with her husband, Peter, for the last 33 years. No matter how much time has passed between visits, you are always treated like a long time friend.
The layout of the dining room is open and spacious with three distinct areas. To the right of the front door is a large area with 14 booths, a raised platform in the middle has 6 tables and several large booths stretch along the front wall overlooking Hamburg St.
The walls are a combination of exposed brick and terracotta colored textured painted walls. Tiffany-style light fixtures with yellow/orange shades add a festive atmosphere. Everything is spotlessly clean.
I arrived at about 3:45 pm to a sparsely occupied dining room. At 4:00 a steady stream of diners filtered through the door, most being greeted by name. By 5:00, the dining room was full. Tables were taken care of quickly but nothing seemed rushed and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
I had every intention of ordering the chicken parm but there were a few other specials that caught my eye. Marinated chicken ($8.95), broiled pork chops ($9.45) and roast pork tenderloin ($11.45)
My waitress, the kind of lady who makes you feel like a regular even if it is the first time she has seen you, said that the pork chops were served “smothered” in an onion gravy. SOLD.
The dinner included all of the following:
A dinner roll & butter
A cup of soup – I chose the chicken Florentine, chunks of chicken and carrots, orzo and spinach in a light chicken broth.
A salad – lettuce, cukes, shredded carrot, a tomato and sliced onion with choice of dressing.
Potato – I chose mashed with gravy, though I could have had home fries or French fries.
Vegetable – choice of spinach or mixed veggies.
The pork chops. They were two meaty, a least 4 oz. each, boneless chops, smothered in the onion gravy which had a hint of tomato in it. Very Mediterranean. The chops were so tender, I didn’t need a knife.
Everything was very tasty and with all the different components, I felt as though I’d had a feast.
Since I’d been sitting directly across from the dessert carousel and eyeing it all the while, I knew I would succumb to temptation. ( OK, I don’t need to be looking at dessert to succumb to it, but allow me my delusions)
There were several fruit pies (strawberry rhubarb!) and I saw a chocolate cream pie whirl by. I knew the Redwood Diner makes its own cheesecake and rice pudding on premises.
A diner at another table asked the waitress about the carrot cake. The waitress informed her that the lady who makes the carrot cake hadn’t delivered it, yet. Just at that moment, the lady and cake walked through the door.
As a rule, I don’t care much for carrot cake. I don’t hate it but I would rarely order it. The only dessert I like less is apple pie. ( I know, how un-American is that) However, I was in the mood for cake and the carrot cake was the only choice.. My waitress, who hadn’t steered me wrong yet, said I would love it. She was right. The cake was beautiful, firm but moist. Loaded with carrots and walnuts. The cream cheese frosting was creamy and light but not too sweet. I thought it was fantastic. If you are a carrot cake lover, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
I finished my meal perfectly sated and happy. I never got my chicken parmigiana, but the people at the next table had it and it looked great. Next Monday.
My total bill for the three course dinner, an ice tea, dessert, coffee and tax was – get this – $16.80. How could you go wrong?
In addition to the multi course dinners, sandwiches, burgers, omelets, salad plates, pancakes, French toast, corned beef hash and all kinds of eggs are available. Prices range from $3.55 for a plain hamburger to $17 for sirloin steak.. Most lunch items are in the $7 range and dinners $9 – $12.
The Redwood Diner, a clean, comfortable family atmosphere with good food and friendly service.
The Redwood Diner
2688 Hamburg St. Rotterdam
Mon-Sat 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun 7:00 am – 10:00 pm