Hilton Head Diner: A slice of Americana - 24/7

April 6, 2011 

  • Hilton Head Diner
    6 Marina Side Dr.
    Hilton Head Island
    Tel. (843) 686-2400
    Open 24 hours every day
    Complete menu available 24 hours
    Full bar
    In house bakery


    Grilled tilapia $10.99
    Liver and onions $10.99
    Tiramisu $4.99
    Napoleon $4.99

While Hilton Head Diner's roundthe- clock hours are reason enough to stop in, this quintessentially American diner also serves up an incredible array of choices.

Just south of the entrance to Palmetto Dunes on U.S. 278, this 1950s-style eatery offers a casual, accommodating atmosphere where kids are welcome and the service can be as quick or relaxed as you'd like to make it. Linger over coffee with a client or take the whole family out without breaking the budget-either way Hilton Head Diner is an excellent alternative to fast food, with way more personality.

Owned by brothers Edward Lehnen, who is the chef, and Nick Tsironis, Hilton Head Diner really delivers on value. The "Early Bird Menu" for $10.99 is unbeatable, especially given that it starts at 3 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are 16 different entrèes to choose from, each including bread, soup or salad, mashed potatoes or rice, vegetables and a choice of a short list of desserts. For an additional $1.99, diners can upgrade to a slice of Hilton Head Diner's in-house bakery's fabulous cheesecakes, pies or layer cakes. The early bird meals come with coffee or hot tea.

Portions at this restaurant are generous, no matter what you order. From a roasted half chicken to shrimp'n grits, the plates are brimming with comfort food.

Chef Lehnen, trained as a pastry chef in Miami, is the genius behind the nearly 20 different desserts filling Hilton Head Diners' glass display case. His thick sliced Challah Bread French Toast ($5.79) is amazingly good; it may spoil you for any other version.

Craving hot pastrami? You're covered. Hankering for a triple-decker club? Ditto. Seeking a burger and fries? You're in the right place. Even those in the mood for breakfast in the afternoon can satisfy their cravings at Hilton Head Diner.

The restaurant is a favorite of theater patrons attending performances at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. It's the perfect place for a glass of wine or a cocktail; your party might even come back after the show for dessert. The tiramisu, flavored with coffee liquor and cocoa, is heavenly.

"We strive to make our patrons feel at home," said Tsironis. "We want them to think of Hilton Head Diner as their place."

Watching folks enjoy their meals at the diner, it's clear that many do. With a nod and a wave, a gentleman seated himself at the counter, while two small children stood enthralled with the jukebox. Everywhere, people engaged in conversation. Hilton Head Diner offers what a diner should-tasty food and a good time.

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