The Buzz Builds for Metro Diner Preparing to Open First Las Vegas Location

Favorite Florida restaurant lands in Las Vegas Valley to offer taste of nostalgia

Written and photography by Debbie Hall, Informer Media Group
Exterior photo by Jayne Furman

Metro Diner, the popular Florida restaurant as highlighted on television by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, will open the first of three locations in Las Vegas on March 14. Since Las Vegas is a 24-hour city, Metro Diner will offer all-day breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.

Menu items by founder Mark Davoli will be featured including Yo Hala on the Square and Crab Cake Benedict. Metro Diner was featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2010.

The menu offers made-from-scratch twists on old classics, including fried chicken and waffles topped with housemade strawberry butter and Charleston shrimp and grits with signature sweet and spicy sauce. Kids can find something familiar, too, including macaroni and cheese and pigs in a blanket, on a special kid’s menu.

Tony Alonge and Tony Grappo, joint venture partners

Longtime Las Vegas resident and restaurateur Tony Grappo and Tony Alonge, who brings restaurant expertise from Florida, will operate the new Las Vegas Metro Diners as joint venture partners. Grappo, with previous experience in Outback Steakhouse, is very excited about this new diner opening in Las Vegas.

“At Metro Dinner, we offer over 80 items, all freshly made and cooked as well as huge portions. People can share a dish. But whether sharing or not, it is affordable and a great value,” Grappo explained. “There is something for everyone with the variety of items we feature.”

Many customers will eat at Metro Diner three to four times a week, with a breakfast meal, lunch and then dinner with family or friends. It features an open, scratch kitchen and counter seating as well as patio dining.

According to Alonge, who moved from Orlando, “Las Vegas is a town of foodies and people love to dine out. While Orlando is more about the attractions, I am finding people in Las Vegas love their food, to party and have fun and we are now here to cater to the people of Las Vegas.”

“We served menu items that people grew up with and our motto, ‘Where the locals eat,’ says it all, whether in Florida or Las Vegas,” Grappo said. “We have such a following in Florida and we are ready to serve the same following in Southern Nevada.” With the open kitchen, Grappo likes to welcome customers to “dinner and a show.”

Tia Campbell, staff member of community outreach programs for Opportunity Village poses with new Metro Diner employee Selina W. from Opportunity Village

Each new restaurant will create 100 jobs and one of the new employees is Selina W. from Opportunity Village. Tia Campbell, staff member of community outreach programs for Opportunity Village, is excited for Selina, who has previous restaurant experience and happy about this new opportunity.

Another aspect of employment at Metro Diner is the opportunity to advance to a managerial position in the company. “We love to see young people grow and 90 percent of our staff can become managers,” Grappo said. “This is not only our job, but our life and our passion. We just enjoy it that much.”

Nick Samero, managing partner for the soon-to-be-opened Rainbow Boulevard location, is working at the first location to be opened. Relocating from Florida, Samero said, “Las Vegas is a more service-based and entertainment with a different lifestyle from Florida.” He also worked for Outback Steakhouse and is excited about the offerings and atmosphere at Metro Diner.

The Davoli family established Metro Diner in 1992 with a single eatery in Jacksonville, Florida. The restaurants are known for warm, welcoming service, large portions and indulgent comfort food with flair. With most dishes priced under $15, the eatery offers a great value offering all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Jim Lyden, managing partner, Tropicana location

Metro Diner will start with three Las Vegas locales. The first located at 9595 W. Tropicana Ave. opens March 14. Other locations to be opened include restaurants on Rainbow Boulevard in Las Vegas and Stephanie Street in Henderson. The total number of restaurants planned for Southern Nevada will be eight, including Laughlin, with more locations to be opened in Northern Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

The weekend before the opening, Metro Diner will host a special preopening private event to benefit the Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Habitat for Humanity. “We are thankful for this opportunity to partner with Metro Diner for their Charity Event,” said Jackie Valdera, Acting Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas. “With the donations received from this event, it will help Habitat continue the mission in providing low-income families in need with decent and affordable housing.”

When it opens March 14, the Tropicana Avenue Metro Diner will operate 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To learn more about Metro Diner, visit www.metrodiner.com, like Metro Diner on Facebook and follow @MetroDiner on Instagram and Twitter.

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