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Tito's Diner reviewed
Get your just desserts, and lots more--including a nice mix
DAVE ELLIS/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Visit the Photo Place
By Linda Salisbury
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Tito's Diner in Central Park looks like an old-fashioned diner, with its chrome-style shine inside and out, but don't expect the typical blue-plate specials--except perhaps at breakfast.
The breakfast menu includes omelets, biscuits and gravy, pancakes and the like. Lunch and dinner include burgers and cheese steak; however, you can also order specialty Mediterranean fare, such as kebabs, that reflects the owner and chef's Egyptian heritage.
Family-owned Tito's had been open about seven months when we ate there, and is recognizable as the building formerly occupied by the 5 & Diner.
The new owner has retained the '50s ambience, and recently hosted an Elvis impersonator.
My Dining Partner and I stopped in for dinner and were welcomed by the gracious wait staff. We decided to sample both American and Mediterranean dishes.
There were other types of entrees, as well, such as Italian and Mexican. There was something for everyone, and vegetarian offerings were clearly marked with a "V."
We began with fried calamari ($6.99), a bountiful portion served with a marinara spiked with horseradish for a bit of zest.
There was plenty to share had we opted for a single appetizer, but I also ordered the baba ganoush ($6.99).
The homemade eggplant dip was mildly seasoned and served with pita chips.
Our excellent server, Gamal, steered me to the chicken, rather than beef, kebab as part of my Mediterranean shish kebab dinner ($11.99).
The platter came with two large grilled kebabs crammed with large chunks of well-cooked chicken breast, grilled pepper, a vegetable medley, rice that was dotted with pieces of red and green pepper, and delicious pistachios.
It was served with a side of tahini dip.
MDP ordered baby back ribs ($12.99) and substituted a house salad for the fries. The ribs were meaty, tender and slathered with a very good barbecue sauce.
The slaw on his platter had a mild dressing, and his green salad, with a dash of fresh dill, was excellent.
The portion of ribs was so large there was plenty to take home.
When Gamal told us that most of the desserts were homemade, MDP ordered banana cream pie ($3.99), and I, a triple chocolate fudge cake ($3.99).
The pie was the right portion size for dessert, looked as if it was prepared by a pastry chef, and was delicious.
My fudge cake, I think, was mostly layers of rich fudge with strips of chocolate cake in between. I rarely use the word "decadent," but it applies to this dessert.
Tito's will satisfy large appetites at a reasonable price, and if your sweet tooth expresses cravings, make it happy with the desserts.
Linda Salisbury is the author of the Bailey Fish books, an award-winning adventure series for kids.
What: Tito's Diner Address: 1695 Carl D. Silver Parkway, Central Park, Fredericksburg, near Cowan Boulevard Phone: 540/548-3408 Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-midnight. Prices:
Soups and salads: $3.99-$10.99
Children's menu: $3.99-$5.99
Desserts: $3.49-$3.99The Scoop: Family-friendly, clean, excellent service, specialty nonalcoholic cocktails and shakes, and large selection of offerings for breakfast Payment: Major credit cards accepted.