Growl Review: Route 42 Diner & Dairy Bar

Category: Growl Review

Laurel R.

Route 42 Diner & Dairy Bar

By Laurel R.


Image courtesy of Laurel R.

The prices are very reasonable, and the portion sizes are generous. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-Whole
Nothing half-hearted about the way Route 42 has worked with the ’50s theme! GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-Whole
Our waitress was very pleasant and accommodating, as were the other servers and staff we encountered. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-Whole
Rather disappointing. There wasn’t anything wrong with my dinner, but I would never rave about it or urge others to try it. For me, and I sense for some of my fellow diners, the food just fell a little flat overall. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFade
The restaurant was spotless – absolutely no complaints there! GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-Whole

Summer Growlin’, had me a blast…

The Growlitas donned their poodle skirts and saddle shoes… well, in spirit, anyway!… and headed to Route 42 Diner & Dairy Bar for a “Blast from the Past” Growl on June 19, 2013.


Image courtesy of Micky G.


Image courtesy of Lisa M.

Center map
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Route 42 is located in a standalone building with plenty of parking at 2825 County Road 42, not far from the Windsor International Airport.

The first things that caught my eye when I entered the bright, spacious restaurant were its cherry red and white ’50s style diner booths, black-and-white checkered floor tiles, and a display of T-shirts with whimsical captions such as, “No Whining Allowed EVER!” and, “I went on a two week diet and all I lost was 14 days.”


Image courtesy of Lisa L.

The restaurant’s retro theme is supported by red-and-white checkered tablecloths, red Coca-Cola accessories, and red napkin dispensers, but most noticeable is the cheerful and busy wall décor of vintage-style posters and prints, tin signs, and vinyl records. No matter where you look, there is something interesting or amusing to take in… definitely a fun feast for the eyes.


Image courtesy of Laurel R.

I tend to be chronically early, so I was the first to arrive at the restaurant. I didn’t have to wait more than a minute or two, though, before our waitress led me to our reserved table and took my drink order… then repeated the process several more times as, one by one, our group members straggled in. Despite the fact that our staggered arrivals made it necessary for her to make several individual trips back and forth to make sure each of us had a drink prior to ordering dinner, she was unfailingly pleasant, patient, and accommodating.


Image courtesy of Lisa L.


Image courtesy of Lisa L.


Image courtesy of Lisa L.

I had taken the time earlier that afternoon to look at the restaurant’s online menu, and as soon as I saw that they offered pressure fried chicken my thoughts went flying to the oh-so-delectable offerings of same at Sweet T’s, and my choice was made.

Unfortunately, this was the first time in the evening that I was rather disappointed in my Route 42 experience. While the chicken was certainly moist and juicy, the skin was over-fried – far too dark and crispy, almost to the point of having a burnt taste. The side dish of coleslaw was creamy and flavourful, but the wavy crinkle-cut french fries, though a generous portion, were generic and uninspired (and, I suspect, previously frozen).


Image courtesy of Laurel R.

My chicken dinner came with a serving of rice pudding for dessert, but I opted to skip this in favour of sharing an order of 50 mini “Diner Donuts” with my fellow Growlitas. Yum. Fresh, hot, and tossed in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, all who so desired had their fill of the sweet treats, with enough left over for several of us to box up and take home to our families. (We opted for the regular donuts, but apparently you can also “Deck Out” your order with a variety of toppings such as S’mores, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Dutch Apple. Sweetness overload!)


Image courtesy of Laurel R.

We got a bit of a late start to our evening, so the restaurant’s 9:00 p.m. closing time arrived all too quickly and the neon “Open” sign was turned off while we were still finishing our meal. That said, I can’t say that I felt as though we were being rushed out the door; rather, the staff was gracious and flexible. They provided us with separate bills (always a boon when dining with a large group of individuals!), and patiently handled our separate payments.


Image courtesy of Laurel R.

Although I was slightly disappointed in my actual meal, I consider my evening at Route 42 time well spent – a fun and enjoyable experience. If as much attention was given to the details of the menu – working with fresh (rather than frozen) ingredients, for example – as has been lovingly devoted to the décor, Route 42 Diner & Dairy Bar would truly be a fun 5-paw diner destination that I would not hesitate to recommend.

Laurel R.‘s Overall Rating
Fun, cheerful, retro vibe… spotlessly clean… friendly and accommodating staff – despite my so-so meal experience, I would return to Route 42 for everything else it has to offer. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-HalfGpawRating-WholeFade


Comments from fellow Growlers
Kim S. said: “Route 42 is a cute place with a fun, nostalgic vibe. I enjoyed the retro memorabilia, the checkerboard floor. If only the jukebox was functional! The service was prompt and friendly during our visit, and the restaurant itself is shiny and spotless. As for the negatives, I should start by saying I’m not a huge fan of diner food to begin with. I tend to stay away from anything fried or overly heavy, so my menu options were fairly limited. What I did order – a veggie burger with a side salad – was mediocre at best. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect the veggie burger was frozen, not fresh, and the main component of the salad was a whole lot of iceberg lettuce. Bland and disappointing. Initially, I reasoned that, as a diner, they probably don’t get a lot of people ordering veggie burgers or salads, but I think that if you have an item on your menu, it should be a fresh, quality item, regardless of how frequently it is ordered or how it lines up with the rest of your dishes.”


Image courtesy of Kim S.

Micky G. said: “I can see why the people I spoke with really raved about their Route 42 experience. It’s a great “diner” experience. The food is better than a “greasy spoon” and the serving sizes are generous for the prices charged. The atmosphere is fun and unique and the wait staff was friendly and attentive. It’s a clean, well run diner serving diner fare – and as long as you go there with that expectation you will likely be pleased with your visit. If you want a “dining experience”, however, there are lots of other places we’ve reviewed that will please you more.”


Image courtesy of Micky G.

Lisa M. said: “Loved the atmosphere and the memorabilia covering every inch of wall space. Surprisingly it wasn’t visual overload; instead it gave you a great feeling of nostalgia. The numerous T.V. screens playing ’50s movies and cartoons had me riveted. My apologies to my fellow growlers but I love old T.V. shows. The food portions were incredibly generous so I would give this place 5 paws for value hands down; however, the pressure fried chicken wasn’t a shade on Sweet T’s and the crinkle cut fries weren’t anywhere close to inhouse made. They shouted McCain frozen to me. The best part of my dinner was the yummy root beer float – haven’t had one of those in ages! – and the cinnamon sugar mini donuts. Warm and tasty! Route 42 is clearly a “treat” meal, a fun diner experience I wouldn’t mind doing again, but on an annual basis I think given the scarcity of healthful menu options.”


Image courtesy of Lisa M.

Julie B. said: “Route 42 is a cute little diner with its bright colours and old memorabilia from the ’50s posted on the walls for you to enjoy. I ordered the pan fry fish with salad on the side. The portion was very generous and nicely presented on my plate, but it lacked flavour even with the fresh lemon I squeezed on it. On the way out, a few of us noticed an ice cream parlour and doughnut maker at the end of the restaurant. I made a mental note to come back with my kids for some old fashion floats and doughnuts.”

Have YOU visited Route 42 Diner & Dairy Bar?
Tell us about your experience!

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Kimberley
    June 23, 2013, 9:17 am

    Nice review, Laurel! I love the close-ups of the art and memorabilia, too.

    It makes me feel a bit better to see others had mixed feelings about the food; I was worried my comment sounded a bit grumpy or snobbish. The place has a ton of character, at least. I just wish they put the same amount of effort into putting out fresh products as they did with the decor.
    Kimberley recently posted… I can think of MANY worse places to die than James Franco’s house.My Profile

    • Laurel R.
      June 23, 2013, 11:22 am

      Thanks, Kim! The more I think about it, the more I feel they would have SO much potential if they would reevaluate their menu choices and make them a little LESS ’50s authentic (i.e., frozen french fries)!
      Laurel R. recently posted… An Artist’s Date with The Art CartMy Profile

  • Sylvia V June 23, 2013, 1:55 pm

    Great pics and review! I’d love to try this place despite the comments on the food. My expectations are now set. Anyone up for breakfast?

  • Lisa L July 3, 2013, 7:13 pm

    My better late than never review….
    Without sounding like a parrot let me say that I agree 100% percent with the comments made from the other growlers. I loved the vibe of the space and appreciated the friendly and courteous staff. My motto is always when in Rome…… and I never miss an opportunity to try another version of a club sandwich-so without hesitation I ordered up the chicken club. I am by no means a club sandwich expert but i’d say Route 42 offered up a generous and tasty sandwich and although a pile of fresh cut fries would have set it off, I didn’t mind the fries screaming “McCain” (lol). As far as a diner experience goes, I say good job Route 42-and keep making those beautifully delicious donuts!


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