When you step into Karen’s Diner you are asked a simple question; ‘Do you understand the concept of the restaurant?’ followed up with another simple one, ‘Are you going to cry about it?’
My sister and I answered instinctively ‘no’ to the second question posed to us, but truth be told we had no idea what we were getting into. You see, our road to Karen’s Diner wasn’t pre-planned at all. We were in Birmingham for a Sabrina Carpenter concert and had three hours to spare before it felt acceptable to begin queuing. We knew one thing only – we were hungry as hell – and the obvious next step was a quick Google search of the best restaurants in the very unfamiliar Birmingham. Little did we know we were going to hell itself!
That’s how we got to the point of being asked if we would be likely to cry over a meal before even being seated.
It took a while to lead us to the seats we had booked earlier on the train, and for a moment there I couldn’t help but wonder if the staff were making us wait as part of the “concept” or not. My sister, who is very much more adventurous than I am took it all in good fun, while I wondered if we had gotten ahead of ourselves.
Could I handle multiple ‘Karens’ at the same time? If you didn’t know (I’m sure you do!), whilst the meaning has evolved over the years, a Karen according to the internet is slang for middle-aged white and hysterical privileged women who will stoop lower than you can imagine to get whatever they want whenever they want. I wondered if we had just stepped into crazy land.
When we were finally seated, I took the time to look around the diner. For a restaurant dubbed the ‘rudest restaurant’ in Britain, it seemed a whole wide variety of people were keen to get shouted at. From grandmas to toddlers to middle-aged men with dad-bods – the crowd at Karen’s Diner surprisingly looked very family-friendly.
We were handed the pink and blue paper menu with a slow stare down from a waiter. Each waiter felt like a different type of Karen. There was the one that was very loud, probably “the leader of the pack” – they were a bit edgier than the rest and seemed to know just how far to take things to the edge of uncontrollable laughter that somehow hurt a little. Then there was another who acted like she didn’t care the entire time. She wore a permanent resting-bitch-face, and while I wouldn’t call her sluggish at all, she sure gave the vibe you’d never catch her running to your table with overdue food. Then there was one last waiter who was a bit like the other two – a perfect middle-ground who gave middle-fingers out quite freely.
As we debated choosing between ‘The Basic Karen’ burger and the ‘I Want To See The Manager Karen’ burger, the true entertainment began.
A few customers were called to the middle of the room and forced to spin a wheel. One guy was made to sing karaoke and whilst it was all in good fun, he did make our ears bleed which wasn’t all that good. Another had to pretend to be an animal and was called an idiot by the staff for continuously not understanding the rest of us had to guess what animal she was, and she didn’t need to tell us. And an elderly woman was asked to complete the lyrics to an Eminem song. No offense but it was clear popular tunes from the ’70s which she got to sing afterwards were probably her pick at a party.
By that point, I was laughing so hard I almost forgot how hungry I was in the midst of the orderly chaos. When things became quiet again and our table still had no food on it, I began to hear everything clearly, especially the sound of my stomach rumbling in hunger.
We watched as trays of food were being delivered and cried in silence each time the tasty-looking burgers were being served to a different table. Then, I recalled the big bold note on the side of the menu that read: “WE PRIDE OURSELVES ON QUALITY PRODUCE, FANTASTIC FOOD AND BY FAR THE WORST SERVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED”. We wondered if the long wait was also part of the shtick or not.
Is Karen’s Diner’s food as fantastic as it’s hyped up to be…?
Erm, YES. The fries were some of the best ones I’ve had and ‘The Basic Karen’ I ordered was delicious, to say the least. My sister got a gigantic burger double the size of mine, and although she struggled to hold it up, she hummed after every bite. You bet the staff called her out big time when she attempted to eat it with a knife and fork. I know – an abomination – I know!
We ordered two vanilla shakes that we devoured almost completely before we even got our food. So, towards the end of the meal, we added an extra Coke to help digest all the food.
The meal was flavourful and best of all, memorable. If you read my blog regularly you already know I’m not very patient a person, but I can easily say that it was worth the wait.
Am I Going Back To Karen’s Diner?
Would be funny if I said no after all this wouldn’t it? Of course, I would. Karen’s Diner isn’t just a great restaurant to get delicious food, but it’s a whole unique experience I’d recommend. Obviously, a decent sense of humour is a basic requirement at entry, but with that in the bag, it’s a guaranteed good time.
Even as a first-timer, I could tell there was a line the staffers wouldn’t cross so if you’re worried about that I wouldn’t worry. No jokes were made about race, sexuality or body type during our time there.
Whilst I’d definitely return to Karen’s Diner, I think I’d reconsider going there right before a concert as I did, because on its own it was already a highly stimulating experience. If you’re look for a relaxing meal where you won’t be disturbed, then perhaps you should find some place else. Otherwise, as I’ve already stated I’d recommend without hesitation. Get going to the only place where it is acceptable to be a Karen!
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Your restless romantic roamer