Payton Curry Pops Up at the Welcome Diner

Categories: First Taste
Jonathan McNamara

Thanks to Chef Payton Curry, life has returned to the beloved Welcome Diner, which sat sad and empty on the corner of 10th street and Roosevelt for far too long. The infamous chef kicked off the first night of his three-month pop-up project to a packed house -- and a packed patio -- this past Friday night.

The tiny diner was glowing as people filled the nine seats in the kitchen and couples, friends and families snatched up seats at the candlelit tables set up outside on the grassy front patio. Others chatted it up out front waiting for their turn at the chef's offerings.

As a huge fan of Curry's work at Caffe Boa, I drooled excessively over the menu. My non-foodie boyfriend even questioned my sanity at one point and couldn't understand how or why I would be obsessing over a burger. (A Niman Ranch grass-fed burger with green garlic and foie butter on a potato bun, to be exact.)

Jonathan McNamara
Lemon curd with toast.

Maybe my expectations were a little too high --- everything but the chocolate malt shake and the Diver scallops was, well, disappointing. Not bad, just a little on the boring side.

Jonathan McNamara
The fresh-pulled mozzarella with pesto was light and tender but the toasted bread it was served with just didn't do it justice. Same thing went for the foie gras and the lemon curd.

The purple fingerling fries were an awesome idea but were so dry I  left most of them on the plate. The chocolate shake that they were served with, however, was ahh-mazing. Not too thick, extra creamy and full of rich chocolate-y malt. After one sip I totally forgave Curry for the fries and bad toast.

And then, the burger arrived. The one I had waited all day for. It was okay but to be honest, I've had better burgers and they didn't leave me out $12. You could taste the high quality of the meat but the boring bun fell short of impressive. To be fair, I also may have ruined it with the addition of a slice of pepper jack cheese which dominated the entire sandwich and masked any possible flavor.

Jonathan McNamara
The amazing shake and not-so-amazing fries.

The night was salvaged when the scallops arrived perfectly seared, coupled with a chilled vegetable salad of crunchy baby asparagus, colorful cauliflower and a light, tangy dressing. Definitely the highlight of the night.

Jonathan McNamara
Delicious Diver Scallops

The one thing that impressed me more then anything that came out of the kitchen was the service. Our water glasses were never empty and the servers were genuinely friendly and happy. That is an extremely hard thing to come by these days, particularly on a restaurant's first night. 

Welcome Diner is open Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and First Fridays from 5 p.m. to close. Check out for the daily menu.

Location Info

Welcome Diner

924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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Dain Gore
Dain Gore

Was it super busy? I still have yet to go to Pizza Bianco for my lack of patience, even for awesome food.

Shannon Armour
Shannon Armour

I haven't been there yet either mainly because there is no one who I would want to hang out with for 4 straight hours waiting for food. We only had to wait about 5 minutes to grab a seat. I think if you follow him on twitter you can reserve a spot too.

JuxtaPalate Food Blog
JuxtaPalate Food Blog

I did a drive by that night, but I was sooooo cranky and exhausted I would've been Debbie Downer. But maybe those scallops would've turned my frown upside down! I'll visit this weekend.

Shannon Armour
Shannon Armour

I meant to pop over to Cycle afterwards but I was so full I thought I was going to explode. Hope they had successful night!

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