Steals on meals: Phoenix's Welcome Diner

Each week reporter Tanner Stechnij explores some of the affordable options for local eateries around campus so that even college students can feel luxurious.

Even the classiest of people need a break from luxury to return to their roots. For me, it's Southern comfort food. Welcome Diner doesn’t promise charcuterie, tapas, candles or any of the other garnish associated with highbrow dining, but it is a blast from the past that few of our readers are familiar with — the ‘50s. 

The diner doesn’t look like much, but it is an artifact of a different time. The kitchen is a Valentine Diner from the 1940s. These diners in were produced in Wichita, Kansas, and sold to restauranteurs who would operate them as mobile restaurants. Thus, the quaint eatery has a history of its own. 

Welcome Diner was born in Winslow, Arizona, under the name of Hi-Way Diner before moving to its current location on 10th Street and Roosevelt.

A photo posted by welcomediner (@welcomediner) on

In 2002, Hi-Way was closed, renovated and reopened under the guise of Welcome Diner in 2003. Since then, it has been a neighborhood fixture — literally, it is in the middle of a neighborhood.

When I rolled up to Welcome Diner, I immediately found parking in front of someone’s house. The restaurant doesn’t offer any inside seating but has a lively patio with an eclectic mixture of outdoor furniture. Because of this, it is important to note that hours are seasonal. As Arizona heads into summer, the hours are Tuesday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It is closed on Mondays.

Phoenix residents can’t miss the diner's awesome happy hour. The drink specials are $1 off draft beers and classic southern cocktails like gin and tonics, whiskey sours, old fashions and hurricanes ranging from $4-6. 

But I was there for the food, so I ordered the “Little Birdy" and poutine fries. The food came out shortly after I ordered and my soul and stomach couldn’t be more satisfied.

I ordered two plates because I wasn’t snacking — I mean, this was my dinner. This proved to be a mistake because the proportions were quite generous.

I started with the fries, which had a southern twist on the Québécois classic. Instead of being drenched in a brown gravy and cheese curds, Welcome Diner’s poutine featured country gravy and cheddar cheese.

The “Little Birdy” sandwich was another beast entirely. The menu describes it as fried chicken and cheddar cheese between a biscuit, but what they failed to mention was how big the proportions were. For $6 I was expecting something a little larger than a Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Minis. Instead, the not-so-“Little Birdy” was the size of a small serving plate. Luckily, it was delicious, so I was able to make a dent.

By the time I was stuffed to my gills, I still had half a serving of both plates left, so I asked for a box and was on my merry way. I got two artery clogging meals for a little over $13.

Related Links:

Steals on meals: Tempe's La Bocca

Steals on meals: Tempe's RA Sushi Bar


Reach the reporter at tanner.stechnij@asu.edu or follow @tannerstechnij on Twitter.

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