Bay-ites love the Diner

As we walked up to Bay Diner to have lunch recently, my wife took notice of a bunch of bicycles parked out front. We stepped inside to see a couple booths filled with kids and several others sitting at the bar-height counter.

The scene reminded my wife of her childhood in Bay Village, riding her bike down to Grebe’s. It was a diner just like Bay Diner and at the time one of the only restaurants in town.

Bay Diner opened for business a little over a year ago by the Petrillo family. The son, Mike Jr., is head cook and manager.

The restaurant’s interior features an eight-seat counter – in classic diner style – with booths and tables filling the remaining space. Retro black-and-white photographs of Bay Village landmarks, taken by Mike’s wife Joanna, that hang over the booths give the diner a real hometown feel. Antique license plates and nostalgic calendars make for interesting viewing. Mike laughs and tells me that customers come in trying to give him more plates for the walls.

As I sat and talked to Mike, he informed me he had a pot of Chicken Paprikas cooking on the stove.

“Everything is homemade here,” Mike said. Being of Hungarian descent, I look forward to going in on a Thursday when it’s served as a special.

I started my meal with a cup of the Roasted Red Pepper Soup ($2.99). It was wonderfully rich and creamy with nice chunks of peppers and crumbled beef, so delicious even my finicky six-year-old son loved it.

My wife order the Roast Beef Wrap ($6.89). Freshly sliced beef with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, shredded Cheddar cheese and topped with a horsy sauce – it was quite tasty.

I opted for a Patty Melt ($7.99). This half-pound burger served on grilled Jewish Rye with Swiss cheese and grilled onions was very good.

Both items had a choice of homemade chips, fresh-cut French fries or crispy tater tots, once you try them it’s really hard to choose just one.

On Fridays you have to stop in for the Yellow Lake Erie Perch ($12.99). Lightly breaded and fried to perfection, served with a creamy cole slaw. Remember, only on Fridays.

I love a good Gyro ($6.79). First, let’s get the pronunciation right – “year-oh.” The sandwich features hand-carved lamb, slightly grilled to give the edges a crispiness; tomatoes; grilled onions and cucumber sauce served on a pita. You can’t go wrong.

Other dishes I look forward to trying are the Breaded Pork Chops ($9.99 for one, or two for $11.99), Pierogies ($8.99) and BBQ Pulled Pork ($8.99), all served with potato of the day, vegetable and side salad.

Also the list of sandwiches, wraps and melts is extensive, so please look carefully before choosing.
Let’s talk breakfast. The most important thing with breakfast is variety, and there is no shortage at Bay Diner. A limited breakfast menu is available all day.

Two Bay Cakes ($3.99) are light, fluffy and delicious. For a dollar more, you can select chocolate chip, banana or blueberry to tempt your sweet tooth.

“BBB” Bay’s Big Breakfast ($6.99) offers two eggs, two Bay Cakes or French Toast, sausage, bacon, hash browns and toast. Only meant for the most adventurous eaters, I couldn’t do it.
Hash browns or tater tots are offered with breakfast; trust me and order the tots. I don’t know what it is about them, but as my friend Leah said, “Have you ordered the tater tots? They’re great!”

Service is fast and friendly.

The diner will be rolling out a new menu and online ordering in a month or so, but as good as the items we sampled were, I’m none of them will be leaving the menu anytime soon.

Mike says he is looking forward to school starting because St. Raphael students often stop in for breakfast before school, at lunchtime and after school lets out, adding some extra business. A new generation of Bay kids are making their own memories at the neighborhood diner.

With only a handful of restaurants in Bay Village it’s important to make a good first impression and Bay Diner has done that, giving them the opportunity to go the distance.

3 stars out of 4.

Steve Novak

Steve Novak is a Westlake resident and 30-year veteran in the restaurant industry, working at all levels from dishwasher to manager to chef/owner. The Observer makes two anonymous visits per restaurant and does not accept complimentary meals.

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Volume 3, Issue 17, Posted 6:37 PM, 08.23.2011