Diners get what they want when they want it

Wade Vandervort

Metro Diner owners Tony Grappo, left, and Tony Alonge pose for a photo on location, Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Metro Diner

• Address: 9595 W. Tropicana Ave. and 7305 S. Rainbow Blvd. in Las Vegas; 249 N. Stephanie St. in Henderson

• Phone: 702-505-9810 (Tropicana), 725-333-8974 (Rainbow), 702-728-5721 (Stephanie)

• Email: [email protected]

• Website: metrodiner.com

• Hours of operation: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday

• Owned/operated by: Tony Alonge and Tony Grappo, Joint Venture Partners

• In business since: 2017, locally

Metro Diner, which was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” offers new takes on classic dishes, such as fried chicken and waffles with homemade strawberry butter and Charleston shrimp and grits.

Longtime Las Vegas restaurateur Tony Grappo and Tony Alonge, who recently relocated from Florida, operate the Las Vegas locations.

Who are your customers?

Metro Diner has something for everyone. We see families coming in for breakfast and college students coming in for lunch. We see everyone from blue-collar workers to business professionals.

What is your most popular dish?

Our chicken and waffles is hands-down our most popular dish. The chicken is fresh, brined for 24 hours and marinated for 24 hours before it is ready to be cooked. The waffles are topped with a fresh-made strawberry butter and the dish is served with a sweet and spicy sauce composed of maple syrup and a dash of Louisiana hot sauce.

What is your business philosophy?

We follow “the Metro Diner way” and its three guiding principles: people first, fun and courage.

What’s your overarching goal?

Our culture is about taking care of guests. Making sure the food is perfect every time is our No. 1 priority. If we ever make mistakes, we will apologize and fix it immediately.

What’s the best business advice you’ve received?

Consider location first. If you can be at the corner of Main and Main, people will see you every day when they are driving or out shopping. It’s good to be by businesses and by retail. It helps you move your business forward.

What obstacles has your business overcome?

There’s a tremendous amount of competition here. Customers are unforgiving because there are so many options here; you can’t afford to mess up. But if you do a good job, customers will be loyal and tell their friends.

What do you like best about doing business in Las Vegas?

We’ve been able to hire many sharp, enthusiastic team members. Many of them have had restaurant experience and know what’s expected. They’re easy to train, and we offer them opportunities. Several employees from our first location have already been offered management positions for future locations.

Where do you see yourself and or company in five years from now?

As a company, we’re looking to open between 30 and 50 diners a year. We plan to have eight diners in the Las Vegas Valley. We are opening at Serene and Eastern avenues by the end of the year. We plan to expand into Laughlin, Reno and Carson City. We also plan to expand into Arizona and Utah.

The atmosphere at Metro Diner is not like a typical diner. What exactly is different?

We have elements that bring you back to an old-school diner, like the black-and-white checkered floors, open kitchen and chalkboards. Those things are combined with updated, welcoming décor — the signs, the white brick wall, wood and paint tones, subtle green tables and chrome accents on the bar.

Why do you serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from open until close?

We want to provide our guests the experience they want when they want it. We have night-shifters coming in when we open who want dinner because they have been working all night and they deserve to be able to get that. And breakfast for dinner — who doesn’t want that?

You are new to the community. How are you getting yourself known?

It’s all about reaching out and engaging with our communities. We get involved with charity work, we work with local influencers and we win over one guest at a time.