I’ll start by saying the Welcome Diner is aptly named. During my visit, I felt like I was at a backyard party surrounded by friends and family, only the food was outrageously delicious. I’ve probably insulted everyone who’s ever invited me to a backyard party but that’s okay, if I get bumped off the guest list I’ll just go to the Welcome Diner.
While searching for a place to eat and have a few drinks, my friend and I stumbled upon this quirky little Phoenix treasure nestled in a residential neighborhood. I liked the vibe right away. To me, the place looks like a vintage soda vending machine. The outdoor seating area has trees, large scale artwork, community picnic tables and strings of twinkle lights overhead. Adorbs.
We figured out pretty quick that you order at the window then seat yourself. The indoor area is small, only nine stools at the counter where you can chat with the bartender and watch the chefs create your meal. But there is plenty of seating on the patio, which is where we wanted to be anyway.
As we waited in line we couldn’t help ourselves from asking customers, “oooh, what’s that?” as their food came out. Yeah I know, obnoxious, but everything looked so amazing. People got a kick out of us obvious drooling newbies, assuring us that no matter what we ordered, we wouldn’t be disappointed. I’ll fast forward a little, to say that they were right!
Everything at the Welcome Diner is made from scratch so it does take a little time to get your food. While we waited, we enjoyed a couple drinks. A customer recommended my friend get the Hurricane, a mixture of rum, orange, lime, pineapple and passion fruit. Yeah, hello! And you gotta love a place that proudly serves Pabst Blue Ribbon. It made for a very satisfying round one.
We were enjoying our drinks and the atmosphere so much we almost forgot why we were really there, the food. A little Welcome Diner tip, the portions are massive so order wisely. We didn’t.
My friend is a true Southerner and ordered the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich which she admitted rivaled any she’s ever had. It looked delicious but I couldn’t spare a bite since my meal was big enough to feed four people. I got the Big Jim, who if he was an actual man instead of a sandwich, would have turned me into a stage five clinger. Cheddar cheese melted over fried chicken and bacon with sausage gravy oozing out, served on a buttery homemade biscuit. Oh my!
Somehow we managed to save some room for the sides we ordered. Poutine fries smothered in sausage gravy and cheddar and because we have no self-control, the herb infused mac & cheese. Both were amazing there at the table and later, at 1am, while I sat chowing from the take-out container in bed.
Last, but definitely not least, we finished with an order of Beignets, doused with local honey and powdered sugar. They passed my friend’s test, who declares herself a Beignet connoisseur. I found myself wanting to lick the bowl, which means it passed my test also.
The Welcome Diner now sits high on my Phoenix favorites list for their amazing food, wonderful atmosphere, friendly staff and of course, Big Jim.
*images taken from Welcome Diner Facebook