The waitresses never stop moving at City Diner. They maneuver past each other behind the counter to refill coffee, answer the phone, ring up orders and grab plates, yet they still find time to jaw with regulars. They might even sing along to one of the oldies playing on the speaker, but not in a contrived, Johnny Rockets kind of way. It’s retro without really trying.
The same ordered chaos reigns in the kitchen, as line cooks pile plates with chicken-fried steak, sausage gravy, Texas toast, extra-thick bacon and signature oversize pancakes (Finish one, and you can sign your name on the white brick walls.).
With American cheese in the omelets, unremarkable hash browns and an Italian steak being the most exotic dish on the menu, City Diner is no-nonsense blue-collar counterbalance to the eclectic, international City Market across the street. Customers trade sections of the Kansas City Star, cooks put Mickey Mouse ears on kids' pancakes, and the waitresses know which regulars will want a to-go cup of coffee when they pay their checks. If you come again, they'll remember your preferences, too. Note that City Diner is cash-only. A typical tab for two: $25 with tip.