It can be hard to believe in and amongst the busy shuffle of the city, a traditional diner sits right on the corner of Market Square.
Cherries Diner of 212 Forbes Avenue is a comfort food oasis in the heart of downtown. Most importantly, its food is not only quality, but is also affordable for broke college students.
The vibe is fairly relaxed. It’s a quaint, little place where you seat yourself, and you don’t have to worry about bringing company with you either. Multiple people sit alone at tables, casually drinking their coffee while they catch the latest news from Channel 2 from either of the affixed TVs on the bright, deep-red walls. Of course, there are also tables for big parties for those interested in enjoying a big brunch with friends.
I have to admit it— it’s not the first time I’ve visited this place. Ever since I saw the sign outside advertising $3 for two eggs and toast, I was instantly hooked. The affordable pricing structure extends all throughout their menu and not just for breakfast items. A cheeseburger is just $4.50, a grilled cheese $5. What’s not to love?
Personally, I think a diner’s true strength is in their breakfast food. I started out with ordering a hot tea, $1.25, which is just a Lipton bag and some hot water, but I wasn’t expecting anything more than that. I decided I would try out the staples of what anyone would want out of a good American breakfast: eggs, bacon, toast, potatoes and pancakes. Here, they call it the Early Bird Special.
My server had the meal on my table in less than 15 minutes, which I was very impressed by. However quickly the food had been cooked, it certainly did not taste like it from the very first bite in.
The bacon was near perfection. It was deliciously not overdone, but rather chewy and tender. Next, I sampled the potatoes. They’re definitely standard breakfast potatoes, but that doesn’t mean they’re nothing to write home about. Seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, they’re a simple yet delicious addition to the meal.
The eggs are made to order. I ordered mine to be scrambled and was not disappointed. The eggs were light and airy, almost seeming to melt in my mouth. The toast is done like any signature diner, pre-buttered and with a lot of the spread. For me, I don’t mind, but, if that’s something you’re against, you’ll have to specify with the server when ordering.
Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast foods period, so I have the bar set very high. While this definitely was not the best pancake I’d had, it did make an impression. The taste, even with just a bit of syrup, was extremely sweet, and I made quick work of it.
While the Early Bird Special was a highlight for me, the diner offers some interesting specials as well. The Cherry Bomb Pancake and the Very Cherry French Toast are obviously fruit-infused breakfast entrees that reference the diner’s name. What struck me as most odd, but fascinating, was a Chicken Biryani special offered only on Fridays. For a place that serves mostly traditional diner food, the out-of-character choice is something I’ll definitely look into next time I visit.
From the time I walked in, the server was attentive to my needs at every possible moment despite handling multiple customers. She could tell when I was ready to place my order, always refilled my water and cleared away my finished plates immediately.
It should be noted that customers go up to the register to pay after the meal, and credit/debit is accepted for all of us who don’t carry cash in our wallets. They also take to-go orders as well. If you end up not liking your meal…too bad. Cherries Diner has a non-negotiable no-refund policy.
With tip included, I spent a little over $12 on brunch, and that’s fairly cheap for what is essentially two meals. I highly recommend if you’re in Market Square and hungry for some cheap, quality brunch food, turn the corner between the laundromat and McDonald’s and give Cherries a try.