August 2007

Over Easy at the Hilton Head Diner

Author: Becca Dupps Edwards

The “soup jockey” (waitress) brought me my “birdseed” (breakfast); “dough well done with cow to cover” (buttered toast) and Zeppelin (sausage) “in the ally” (on the side). Everything was right out of the “radar range” (oven), prepared to perfection and not in need of any “sea dust” (salt) or “axie grease” (butter). A cup of “moo juice, mud thrown in” (chocolate milk) completed my meal, and I sat satiated, savoring the smells and tastes that turn back the culinary clock for so many patrons of the Hilton Head Diner.

Even if you do not speak diner slang, the word “yum” is universal and probably on the tip of your tongue when you are seated in a “gallery” (booth) and eating up the good food and great atmosphere at this island staple. After all, the proof is surely in the “sleigh ride special” (vanilla pudding). The Hilton Head Diner has been serving it up hot and hearty, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 14 years.

And from the first firing up of the grill, Eddie Lehnen—the chef—has ruled with an iron spatula, making the Diner a favorite for many hungry fork and knife wielding warriors. “I made the menu from the beginning,” explained Lehnen. “Over the years I have added wraps, panninis, multiple different cakes and pastries, low-calorie dishes and salads, and the souvenir shop.”

Lehnen’s favorite thing to make is the cakes. “There are so many options on how to make them, and you can invent different types,” he said. “And my favorite thing on the menu is everything because it all tastes so good.”

Hundreds of clean plate club members would agree, naming the Hilton Head Diner as a must-have meal while visiting or living on the island. Lehnen attributes the restaurant’s delectable reputation to a few delicious reasons. “I think many love the Diner because we are a modern and clean establishment where you can get anything you want from eggs to pastries and steak and fish, and it’s all freshly prepared in the house.”

Lehnen relishes his duties. “My secret to success is being hands-on throughout the whole service, seven days a week, from buying food and watching over other chefs to our commitment to making quality food at a good price.”

Perhaps even more savory is Hilton Head Diner’s business philosophy. “By having a great staff, we have had very little turnover for many years and a very good management team,” Lehnen said. “This simple ingredient has been, and will continue to be, a recipe for success at the Diner.

So whether you like your “cackle fruit” (eggs) “Adam and Eve on a raft” (poached on toast) or “wrecked” (scrambled), if you have not tried the Hilton Head Diner yet, you have not lived. From “java” (coffee) to juke boxes, wi-fi to a “windmill cocktail” (water), it’s easy to speak the language of good food and a full belly at the Diner.

Hilton Head Diner
6 Marina Dide Drive

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