If you haven't made it down to Welcome Diner on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, you've been missing out on one of the more unique dining experiences that area has to offer. Between the scent of the Southern-style cuisine and the strings of lights that illuminate the patio after the sun sets, there are few places with as much effortless charm as this little downtown spot.
The restaurant's recent menu makeover removed some Creole staples, namely their red beans and rice (we're still in mourning over the loss), but the addition of another Southern favorite softens the blow at least a little bit.
If you've ever enjoyed authentic Southern fried green tomatoes, then you know how a crispy coating of batter can transform a simple piece of produce. And Welcome Diner's new menu item takes the classic fried green tomato to another level with the addition of a sweet corn relish, thought it does make the sandwich a bit messy to eat. The sweetness of corn balances out the slight acidity of the green tomatoes quite nicely.
The chiptole ranch might not seem a necessary addition, but it adds spice to the sandwich, an unexpected twist. Even the toasted sourdough adds to the equation, with a buttery crunch that serves as a perfect backdrop for the rest of the dish. At $8, it's a good deal, too.
There's also a new cocktail menu in place with options like a Negroni ($6); the Opening Act, with Domaine de Canton, Campari, lime juice, tonic, and mint ($8); and a Sazerac ($12).
And in case you were wondering, you can skip the new $6 Cannibal fries. The cheese gets cold too quickly, leaving you with a mess of Thousand Island-covered potatoes. But the Andouille Corn Dogs are well worth their $5 price tag and make a nice, sharable appetizer.
Welcome Diner 924 E. Roosevelt St. www.marthaandmary.net/welcomediner 602-495-1111
Tuesday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight