Old Towne Diner in Old Towne Orange

 In Dining Out

photo-37Anybody been to Old Towne Diner yet, right here in OTO? I stopped by last night with my son to check it out. The place was cute, very old timey with red pleathery booths, juke boxes on each table (that actually do work which is fun) and a simple American style menu. The look and feel pretty much deliver on the name.

Their menu is made up of burgers, hot dogs, a few sandwiches and salads, all named after streets in Old Towne Orange. I ordered the Lemon Street Bacon Chili Cheese Dog and shared it with my 7-year old. They do have a kids menu, but no simple hot dog on it, which surprised me. Luckily he enjoyed the chili dog and I did too. It was good…but not great. They also have a variety of types of French Fries. I tried the Ranch fries, again good, but not great.

photo-40I was there on a Wednesday night at about 6:30 and I was surprised that there weren’t that many people in there. The person behind the register said that lunch is really their busy time. Here’s the thing, and you know me-I like to find the positive in everything, but this new spot was lacking energy. The food was good, the decor was fun and on the mark, but the energy was not there. Partly I think perhaps the staff, but I’d rather head over to Watsons for a similar meal, wider selection and more energy. I just don’t think they hit the mark with this one.

Now I like to ponder as to why this type of restaurant isn’t happening and others are. I think in part it’s the marketing and the energy created around a new spot, none was done for this restaurant and marketing buzz translates to people, which translates to energy. They haven’t posted on their Facebook page since they opened and the link from that page to their website goes NOWHERE (I’m a social media consultant and this drives me crazy). However, that’s not all it is. We’ve got a lot of new restaurants in OTO that are doing extremely well and some that there is big buzz around. Smoqued and Linx are 2 coming that I cannot wait to try and I think it’s the originality of the food, at least my perception that what’s coming is original and different. Looked at Smoqued’s Facebook page, they have been working to give us the scoop with 700 fans and lots of regular updates about what’s coming, they’re already involving us and getting us excited. They might not deliver, but I’m excited to find out.

I’d love to know your opinion too. Go and try out Old Towne Diner and post a comment here. If you LOVED it, then send me an email and I’ll let you post a shining reader’s review. oto@getcommunity.com

Old Towne Diner is located at 152 N Glassell, right across from Zito’s.

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Showing 10 comments
  • Ashley

    I haven’t been yet, but I sent in an email via their website nearly three weeks ago and haven’t heard back. I’m among the gluten intolerant in old towne, and wanted to know if they were considering working with the Bite Market or another supplier to have gluten free options. Sure, I can order a burger without a bun, but it’s sure a whole lot better with one.

    I’m disappointed that a new restaurant, even to tell me no, wouldn’t write me back.

  • Jeff

    I haven’t been into the Old Towne Diner yet, but I always question what the fascination with 50’s diners are in 2012. As it stands now in the Circle, you have Watson’s (a real, historic diner), Ruby’s (a recreation of a diner, but has roots in OC) and, to a lesser extent, The Grinder (not really a 50’s Diner, but it does have an old time feel). I guess my question really comes down to is, what makes the Old Towne Diner different, and why should I care?

  • Tiffany

    Sucked ass, looks cool but boring vibe, dull staff. Looks like this place is run by someone who knows nothing about the restaurant business. Oh well, perhaps it will last longer than Blue Frog #2

  • Richard

    Thanks for the review, I may check it out after Paul’s haha. It’s probably not doing as well due to it’s location, but folks out there already know Zito’s. They’re familiar with pizza, they walk by and see Olde Towne Diner and would probably think, “This is new, but I think I’m craving more of Zito’s and stick to what I’m familiar with.”

    It could probably be their sign? I walk by first thing I see is that sandwich shop (I forget the name), I see Jalapenos, and I see Zito’s and I know Rocky Mountain Chocolate/Candy store is there, but Old Towne Diner is something I’m pretty sure I’ll miss or not realize that it’s there.

  • Nancy Collins

    Pricey for the quality of food. No hook to draw me i other than the cute jukeboxes. Cookie cutter Americana decor. One more notch In Al Ricci’s belt, one more thing for him to crow about. Enough already.

  • Clyde

    I liked it, the staff I thought was really cool not dull; in fact the manager was really helpful and came to the table to help out my Family too. Ive lived in Old Towne probably longer than most of the posters (complainers?) here combined. I still enjoy my Watsons, My Rubys, and now My Old Towne Diner. The burger was the best Ive had in the Plaza-Bar none. It took a little longer than I was expecting, but it was worth it. I know they are new and just starting out; and I am willing to give them a break until they fully hit their stride and find out what works for them. 149 Grille took a while to find its stride, but it has absolutely amazing pizza now. Ive met Al on a few occasions, and I find him nothing but pleasant and a good businessman. Im sure giving this enough time, this will work out somehow too. As for Gluten Free-if you want that-go to Bite Market and dont make a restaurant change its entire menu for one person. I had a friend of mine after pressure from one or two people add a vegetarian platter to their place only to have those same one or two people NEVER come in. Wasted time and Money on complainers. You cant please everyone.

    But overall, I liked the place; hope to see a few changes. But I will return

  • Jon Dumitru

    Just got home from my 1st visit to the joint, and unlike Nancy…I’m hooked…I had the “Plaza Burger” and it was awesome. Fried Pickles…Yuuuupppp!!! and the shake was truly something else. Loved the buns too and found out they make them fresh onsite. I like decor, very retro and fun, and the staff was awesome and so friendly. I had a great time, completely stuffed and a total fan!

  • Robert Willkens

    Went to this place last night with my wife, friendly staff, food was good and the prices were reasonable, dont see why there is so much hate on this place. I’m guessing it has to do with owner’s competition

  • Chris T.

    Old Towne Diner – some of you are over thinking the concept!

    “The Courtyard” was designed by Leason Pomeroy with food service on the bottom floors and business offices on the top. With Italian/Pizza, Mexican/tacos, French/crepes and candy a good mix was a Hamburger place (The Blue Frog really tried to fill the space and did a good job but it just did not work out)

    Instead of tearing everything out of the diner a fairly easy transition would be a bright colorful diner in the middle of The Courtyard. The Old Towne Diner is not in competition with Ruby’s, Watson’s or The Grinder, that is ridiculous…. Simply put filling a much needed space at The Courtyard.

    As for the Al Ricci “hate” comments

    (One more notch In Al Ricci’s belt, one more thing for him to crow about Enough already).

    Ignorant is the only word I can come up with!

    Al Ricci has stepped up to keep The Courtyard from having a vacancy along with many other things in Old Towne he has done to help. I don’t think the hard working staff at the diner deserve the comments made about them on this post….. they work hard and are very happy to have a job in the City of Orange in part thanks to Al for employing them.

  • Robert

    I’ve been twice.

    During my first visit, I was real excited to try the coconut cake that had been given great reviews. The burger was fantastic – far superior to any other I’d had in Old Towne. The bummer – they were out of cake! Uuuggghhh!

    I didn’t wait long to return as still needed to try this cake everyone was buzzing about. The burger was not as outstanding the second time. It was good, but certainly not the burger I had the first time. I left happy though, as I was finally able to get a taste of one of the best desserts in Old Towne – a near religious experience.

    Final score: Let them eat cake!

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