My wife and I had a favorite little sushi place in Davenport located at the corner of Brady Street and Kimberly Road. We were more than saddened that they closed the place up a couple of years ago. Early last year, we noticed a lot of work going on in the building that used to house the sushi joint and we soon found out that another restaurant was going into its place. In June of 2016, Sam's Diner - a family-style restaurant - opened up. We had heard from a couple friends that the food was pretty good and we decided to give the place a try on an unseasonably warm recent Sunday morning.
There's a lot of other family restaurants around the Quad Cities that are similar to Sam's Diner - they serve breakfast all day long and they're more than likely owned by a Greek family. The gold standard at our house for family-style breakfast places is Jimmy's Pancake House in Bettendorf. (Click here to see the Road Tips entry on Jimmy's.) We knew going into Sam's Diner for the first time that it would have to do a lot to live up to the level we've come to expect with Jimmy's. But we'd heard good things about the place from friends who had been there previously, so we were hopeful we'd have another place to put into our rotation for breakfast places in the Quad Cities.
Sam's Diner shares a large parking lot with Griggs Music at the corner of Brady and Kimberly Road. (See map) We were able to pull right up front when we got there around 8:45 that Sunday morning. Inside the restaurant, it's a considerable change from the sushi place that featured a nice little sushi bar and a couple teppanyaki tables in the corners. The seating featured a number of high backed booths and heavy tables with good sturdy chairs. The hostess who met us as we came in the door put us in a booth along the window that looked out on to Brady Street.
The menu isn't fancy at Sam's Diner - most of the typical breakfast items are available - omelets, pancakes, French toast, skillets and cereals are the most prominent items. They also have your typical American-style diner comfort foods such as burgers, sandwiches and light entrees.
Our server came over to greet us - a young lady with a neutral demeanor - and I will have to say that she was a little rough around the edges. When my wife was asking how they prepared the eggs for the Denver croissant sandwich, the girl was confused. "They're eggs," she said. "They prepare them flat."
"Yeah, but like scrambled, fried or an omelet," my wife asked.
"Yeah," the young lady sniffed. "Something like an omelet." We kind of chuckled after she left and figured that she hadn't been on the job all that long.
And that's exactly what my wife got - the Denver omelet croissant sandwich with a side of hash browns. The croissant was pretty big and there was a large Denver omelet in between the slices of the croissant. Under the omelet with the veggies included were slices of grilled ham. My wife thought it was just all right. She thought the hash browns were a little underwhelming. They were almost room temperature when she took a bite of them.
I got a Swiss cheese and corned beef omelet with a side of hash browns as well. I had a choice between pancakes or toast and I thought I would like to try the pancakes. It was a huge omelet with chunks of corned beef mixed in. But it turned out the corned beef was the processed variety and pretty lifeless in taste. My hash browns were also served to me at nearly room temperature and they seemed to be pretty greasy. I think I had one or two bites of the hash browns before I decided to forget about eating any more of them. The pancake - as in one - they served was sprinkled with powdered sugar and a small tub of maple syrup came with them. The taste of the pancake was also sort of bland and I wasn't impressed with it. Neither was my wife who is somewhat of a pancake connoisseur and makes some pretty mean pancakes at home.
Our initial reaction after our breakfast at Sam's Diner was one of "meh!" It's a nice place inside, the server we had was a little rough around the edges, but the food wasn't what we would call all that great. We weren't certain we really liked the food all that much and we never did go back to see if it was any better than on our initial visit. Some people must like the place because we always remark that there seems to be a number of cars in the parking lot at Sam's Diner when we drive by. But it definitely didn't make the rotation of Quad City area breakfast places that we like to go to.