With the economy crippled (and crippling), there are three reasons I would seek out diner food instead of, say, a truffle-laced steak: it’s comforting, it’s big and it’s cheap. Fitting, then, that I would happen across Two Dog Diner in Longmont.
Built around a bar reminiscent of the ’60s with tables lining the outside wall, it pulls off the diner motif well. And, with burgers smoking on a grill behind the line, it seems as genuine as the diners of
On a Tuesday night, however, Two Dog is not exactly hopping. One of only two parties in attendance, my friends and I cozied up in a corner, ordered a black-and-white shake (with a chai latte for variety) and ogled the menu.
Here’s the catch: If you’re expecting greasy spoon fare, you might be better served by the long-standing Denver Diner or Pete’s Kitchen. While Two Dog employs design elements to convince its comfort food-seeking patrons that this is, in fact, a diner, the food is not diner-esque.
Which isn’t necessarily bad. Sure, entrées cap at an unusual $18, but they’re not variations on a Sloppy Joe with onion rings, either. When was the last time you had honey-brined pork chops at a diner? Or, for that matter, had the option to select sweet potato fries as the accompaniment to your lamb burger with olive tapenade? It’s a niche unexplored, and one that took all of us by surprise.
Palates intrigued, we dove right in. I reserve highest praise for my lamb burger—tender and salty-sweet with the bite of kalamata olives. And while Two Dog was sadly out of sweet potato fries, I was satisfied with regular fries heaped (as I like them) with fresh black pepper.
Black-and-white shakes, however, don’t suit themselves to pot roast with horseradish sauce we discovered. Nonetheless, all three forks fought for the last few creamy bites. And the pork? Juicy, I’ll give it; but lacquered in sweetness, and a little tough, it could have used some more tender loving care. Still, the complementing mashed potatoes were rich and creamy and the medley of beans and carrots—while not a grandiose touch—made us feel as though our meals were balanced.
Dessert would have been a wondrous indulgence, but our portions were far too generous for sweets. The selection intrigued us, though: pumpkin pie, rich chocolate cake, cinnamon buns. Raised cake plates on the bar caught our eye as we were deciding for or against the sweets; each one was filled with oversized biscuits or hefty slices of two-layered cake. It’s hard to go to a diner and not order dessert. I will have to go back.
The trouble is, while we enjoyed our meal and got some good laughs from the trinkets that lined the tables (the salt-and-pepper shakers on each were themed differently), we couldn’t tell what Two Dog was supposed to be. Sure, this was a diner in form—a casual spot that neighborhood kids can visit for a shake after school. But it lacks the late-night charm (closing at 9pm on the weekends) and serves food lacking the greasy-fatty-salty-cheap satisfaction you’d expect.
In all fairness, Two Dog has succeeded on a culinary level. The prices might be a bit steep, but the food is solid. And while I can’t for the life of me pair the menu with the décor, I may be lacking the foresight to see a new concept in formation.
If that’s what’s happening, more power to them.
Two Dog Diner
645 Tenacity Dr., Longmont
Bottom line: Ambience is what you’d expect of a diner; food is higher quality and more adventurous than normal diner food; prices are a bit high.
Dear Yellow Scene,
I think this reveiw is a bit of a tragedy. In magazines and newspapers across this country, a restaurant review consists of more than one visit – sometimes three or four. It seems you reveiwed this “diner” that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with one meal. Not to mention that the ONE meal did not include dessert becuase everyone was too full! It is hard to give the review any regard because of this oversight. Restaurants live and die on the poison pen of reveiwers – a fact all restauranteurs know, but it should at least be a fair reveiw. It is inexcusable that three people had three dishes and forgot why they were there and finished everything on their plate before ordering dessert…weak! what a bout appetizers? what about breakfast? what about lunch? I don’t work at two Dog Diner, but I do enjoy breakfast here! They deserve a fair reveiw. If it is an economic concern for the magazine… then maybe the magazine should review one restaurant a month not two. But give restaurants a chance with a full review of the menu.