‘A modern American diner’: New Dinerbar on Clifton opens with menu items old and new

LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- The Diner on Clifton is back!

But the popular, long-time establishment that closed back in 2016 has relocated and is completely revamped -- into the Dinerbar on Clifton. The new Dinerbar, which features menu items old and new, plus a full bar, opened Aug. 15 at 1181 Clifton Blvd.

"We love the outcome of this space, and we're really happy because we've been pretty busy...and mostly everyone is happy we are back," said owner Perry Drosos.

The former Diner on Clifton was located a few blocks down the road on the Cleveland side of West 117th Street.  The Diner had been without a lease for more than a decade, and because the landlord wanted to make changes to the building, it was forced to close in April 2016 after 17 years.

In the time since, Drosos partnered with Fevi Gountis on the new venture. They said it's been a challenging and fun process.

The new location is much bigger and has a large outdoor patio, where customers are welcome to bring their dogs. Inside, there is a lounge area, lots of table seating and, as Drosos described it: "The heart of a diner - the counter, and now a bar."

There are touches of the old space, including the large lit 'Diner on Clifton' sign along with vintage light fixtures.

And the menu?

"I did change and create some new items, but most of the menu is what it was before," said Drosos, who came up with all of the recipes. "I call it a modern American diner. We are breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the unique thing about is we serve breakfast all day. It's a diner."

They still have their famous mac and cheese, burgers and salads. And there is Drosos' famous Garden Vegetable Chowder.

The menu includes the Dinerbar Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon and Hollandaise sauce with chorizo sausage from the West Side market. And there is the house soup, Drosos' famous Garden Vegetable Chowder, which he created himself.

Gountis is from Baltimore, and Drosos says some of the new items on the menu definitely have her touch: Maryland crab cakes, a crab cake sandwich and even Dinerbar Crab Cake Benedict. Anther new item is risotto balls, deep-fried and with pesto and Parmesan cheese.

The partners hired a pastry chef for the restaurant, and there is a large pastry case with some pretty amazing desserts including homemade HoHos and Hummingbird Cake, which is unique to the Dinerbar.  Hummingbird Cake is a southern cake that's similar to carrot cake but made with pineapple and banana.

Drosos and Gountis also put their personal touches on the drink menu. One is called "Perry's Perfectly Pink Cosmo" after Drosos.

"My friends and people who know me, it's kind of joke, but I brought the cosmo to Cleveland," joked Drosos. In 1992-93. Just saying. No one knew how to make one, and it was me."

Gountis says the Dinerbar's Passionate Pepper drink is something she actually found in South Beach. It includes jalapeno, lime juice, passion fruit puree and cilantro.

The Dinerbar on Clifton is open seven days a week and serves breakfast all day.

Gountis and Drosos said they can't believe how busy and successful the new diner has been.

"It's been extremely overwhelming and amazing, and I don't think we expected the amount of people to come through," said Gountis.

For more about the Dinerbar on Clifton, including the location and hours, click here.