Driving up to the chrome and neon home of the Studio Diner on Ruffin Road in the San Diego suburb of Kearny Mesa, I feel as though I’ve gone back in time. I had to chuckle though when I looked up at the marquee board that sits on top of the restaurant and it read, “Welcome Klingons”. The Studio Diner has a 50’s vibe and is open 24/7. It sits on the lot of Stu Segall Productions of “Silk Stalkings” fame and is currently a working movie and TV studio.
The decor is movie-inspired throughout the restaurant–an empty film reel acts as a condiment tray on every table, movie memorabilia are displayed in a glass case. I love the detail of the tin plate ceiling “tiles”. The names of a few of its menu items are also TV and movie inspired–very playful, inventive and descriptive such as “The Count of Monte Cristo“, “Babe Sandwich” which is their pulled pork sandwich, and their dessert selections are under the header, “Go Ahead…Bake My Day“. The restaurant serves everything from full breakfasts to appetizers to sandwiches and salads; comfort food items such as chicken pot pie and macaroni & cheese. They serve East Coast specials such as crab cakes and fried clams. They even serve beer and wine! And what diner menu wouldn’t be complete without a selection of malts, shakes and floats to choose from? Remember the 50/50 bar which was an orange and vanilla ice cream popsicle back in the day? They serve it up here in a shake and it taste just like the classic 50/50 bar!
I was having a late dinner at the Studio Diner with old friends on a Saturday night. It was a bit busy. There were people in costume who had just come from Comic-Con, the annual comic book and popular arts convention in the world. It was funny to see superheroes having dinner amongst us regular folk. We didn’t have long of a wait before we were led to our table. Because of their extensive menu, it was hard to make a choice. I wasn’t sure if I was hungry enough for an entree or if I should get an appetizer instead.
Our poor waiter kept returning to our table to take our order. I was there with my friends Anita and Semo; and we were waiting on our friend Jessie to arrive. While we were reviewing the menu, we kept talking which took our attention away from making a decision on what to order. After a few minutes we were ready.
I ordered the Chicken Pot Pie which came with a side of mashed potatoes and a choice of vegetable; I chose the sauteed asparagus. Anita ordered the Crab Cake Benedict with two blue crab cakes each crowned with a poached egg on top of a toasted english muffin and drizzled with hollandaise sauce. Semo ordered the Side Salad and the Boob Sandwich, which was a char grilled chicken breast with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and jack cheese on grilled sourdough bread. Our friend Jessie finally arrived and ordered the Crew Sliders, four mini cheeseburgers with grilled onions and pickles with a side of steamed veggies. The sliders were the biggest ones I’ve ever seen, almost as big as a McDonald’s Jr. Cheeseburger but meatier.
Dinner was very good, although Anita’s crab cakes fell short on taste. It wasn’t as flavorful as it should have been. But dessert more than made up for it. We decided to order from their “Freeze Frame” menu: I ordered the Root Beer Float; Semo ordered the 50/50 Shake; and Anita and Jessie shared the Gone Bananas Shake which was vanilla ice cream, bananas and peanut butter. It sure reminded us of our childhood.
All in all it was an enjoyable and what made it all the more special was the company. Studio Diner delivers on comfort with a twist and is a great spot to meet with friends after a date night, a late night movie or if you have the midnight munchies. My friends and I were so engrossed in our conversation, that we left Studio Diner shortly after 3:00 a.m.!
4701 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA 92123
OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY