Eater Dallas has a very important Heatmap which helps everyone in Dallas feel at ease about the ins and outs of dining. It was really weird when Pop Diner was listed last week. Even more interesting was realizing this place is located next door to Max’s Wine Dive in the West Village. A diner beside a fancy dive has to be doing something right.
The first thing people need to know is Pop Diner is open 24/7, which is crazy great. I figured the food would be gross because I’m kind of a diner snob. That’s right. Nobody’s perfect. Please throw me a diner snob bone. There are different categories of diners. Some diners produce grease bomb food ready to explode in every belly across the nation. Other diners feel disgustingly dirty. Then there are the “I’m drunk and hungry” diners that all college people fondly find appealing. There’s also the old-school diners where Marty McFly went in Back to the Future. These diners have traveled through time with marvelous milkshakes in the most fantastic way.
After taking a seat at the bar, aka the safest place for acceptable service in any restaurant, I soon spotted a tuna melt on the menu. Ordering a tuna sandwich at a diner is as courageous as fighting on the front line during war. The first step in diner-tuna-survival is to demand to be given the tuna status of your order. Chunk light? Take a hike. Confirming at least two times that the tuna is truly albacore is necessary before moving on with your diner life.
Let’s talk about the owner. This guy rolls up to the bar with some kind of black something on. It was a zip-type of shirt that almost said, “I’m the owner. You guys got somethin’ ta say aboud it?” This zipper was unzipped just enough to let me know he was well above average cool. This moment felt like a scene from Goodfellas and this owner was playing Ray Liotta. This is how I feel inside, so it must be true.
This guy is from Detroit. After a full blown investigation, it has been uncovered that this particular owner has none other than a Detroit mobster accent. I don’t know much about Detroit, except they must have mobsters there with mobster accents. Since the bartender said the owners are from Detroit, I’m assuming this is some kind of Detroit mobster accent.
Eminem is from Detroit, right? I wouldn’t put this owner in an Eminem kind of accent category since rapping has probably played a part in giving Eminem a unique accent of his own. I picture all of Pop Diner’s owners being from a scene in Good Fellas. Walking around the diner, daring anyone to step out of line. They might have the car parked just out back— ready to take troublemakers somewhere else, if you know what I mean.
Since I can spot owners from at least 42 feet away, it was a question that didn’t need to be asked. As he stood at the bar talking to the bartender, I went in for the owner-conversation kill. “Are you the owner?” Of course he said yes because I already knew he was the owner. Talent. He suddenly sat down for a mini interview.
Things are different at Pop Diner. This place is first class clean. Just try and find something that feels dirty. It’s not possible. After being taken on a tour of the kitchen, it’s fair to say these guys are not messing around when it comes to cleanliness. People in Dallas need to know just how clean this place is. These are real deal restaurateurs. Diner doesn’t have to mean dingy, people. Get with the program. Just because it’s a diner doesn’t mean it’s a boring pit of filth. This place is beyond clean. I felt cleaner just from being there last week.
Tuna judgers can relax. Pop Diner uses albacore on their tuna melt. This sandwich is something only mean people will ever complain about. There’s nothing to complain about when discussing Pop Diner’s tuna melt. Their veggie burger is excellent as well. It’s not dry or boring, as most veggie burgers tend to be. The owner sent out a few dishes from the menu that he feels are fabulous. I don’t eat hotdogs, chicken, beef, etc… It’s your deal to decide if any of these are delicious.
After spending an afternoon at Pop Diner, it’s apparent the owner is like a gentle, friendly mobster type of guy that’s probably from the suburbs of Detroit. This is where mob-looking nice guys in Detroit have to live– the suburbs. It makes sense. The only conclusion to reach is that Pop Diner is a positive addition to the West Village. Karaoke starts soon, so move it or lose it. Also, be on the lookout for another segment of our Signature Cocktail Series where Pop Diner’s bar manager will be slinging drinks all over the place.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch
3600 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75204