Causeway Diner- North Merritt Island-3-Stars
Located in a corner space in the eclectic Commerce Shopping Center, just south of Mitchell Ellington Park in Merritt Island is where you will find this competent little diner. The faded sign above the door gave me the impression that the inside might be run down and that they were slinging inedible slop. After being greeted cheerfully enough, I was shown an empty table and handed a menu.
Perusing the menu I had to agree with their claim that they have a very diverse menu offering up foodstuffs from American, Greek and Italian roots it certainly got my taste buds to take notice. Before too long a server approached and asked if I was ready to order. I asked for the Special of the Day, the "homemade" meatloaf with a side of mashed potatoes and before I requested a second side, I asked the server if the green beans were fresh or out of a Sysco can. It was at this point that I heard a lady holler from the back, "They are out of a can, Big Boy." Turning, I saw the owner looking at me with a slight smile as she said, "Yeah, I know who you are. I'm the lady who told you intents and purposes was wrong [in a review]." So, she was quick enough to spot an eggcorn as a result of auto correct, let's see how and if that translates to running a diner.
Within an acceptable amount of time, my competent server returned with my order. Everyone knows that a refined palate is an essential tool for a food critic; however, what is often overlooked is the food critics olfactory sense. As the two go hand in hand, I find it is just as good of a judge of what is to come as my taste buds are to what came. As such, the smells wafting up from my plate had that unmistakable industrialized scent. If the meatloaf was indeed homemade, they need a new recipe. I found it to be cooked thoroughly enough, but below average in quality and taste. If the green beans are coming out of a Sysco can...The gravy was, for lack of a better word, interesting. I mean, for all intents and purposes, it was gravy, but the consistency was more akin to water and it tasted bland and instant on the palate. The mashed potatoes were obviously instant as they had that unmistakable "fresh from the box" taste. The green beans were as expected. They were limp and tasted as if they come out of a can. Oh, that's right. They did. Unexpectedly, I received a piece of cake that was, so I was informed, baked fresh every morning by the owner. I found the cake to be fresh, springy and delicious, while the frosting was a tad sweet for my liking. Maybe the cake was baked fresh on site, but the frosting came out of a can? I can't answer that, just that it was too sweet.
Look, this place is never going to win any culinary awards, but it is familiar low-quality Sysco burn and turn. The owner is a hoot and can certainly bake a cake. Her staff are competent, pleasant and exhibit a strong work ethic. The Big Boy says, "For comforting slop house grub, an engaging owner who knows a thing or two about grammar and fun staff, this is the place for you." P.S. The secret to a meatloaf second to none? It must be a mix of 3 types of meat and these would be: ground veal, ground beef and ground pork, so sayeth James Beard #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout