We all love the Food Network show "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" and for good reason: we love to eat... and we love to compare scores on what meals we most enjoy.

Sometimes I find myself running an inner dialog of how I imagine Guy Fieri would describe some of the tasty dishes being served at our best establishments: "these burnt ends are incredibly tender and juicy" I would rave, "and the seasoning is juuuuust right!" 

If you've ever done the same thing while taking a bite of your favorite sandwich, then you know what I mean. We've got a lot of great diners here in Cedar Rapids. Here are my five choices of the best diners, drive ins and dives that are certainly worth checking into.

1- THE LOST CUBAN - 209 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids

This is truly one of the dining gems of Cedar Rapids. Reviewers on Yelp give the Lost Cuban 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Amazing ribs, hot pressed Cuban sandwiches, and just look at the pork and plantains on rice below! Great atmosphere, and a food experience that will bring you back again.

 

Daisy's Garage and Filling Station - 1119 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids

A relative newcomer in the old Butcher Block locale, and what a find! An incredible seafood selection including their famous steam pot with crab legs, shrimp, and sausage. Sliders, Po Boys, Tenderloin sandwiches...and I haven't even mentioned their sides yet, including the white chicken chili. The vibe is the coolest, an old garage with license plate decor and real man-cave appeal. I could park my chassis here every night.

 

3 - Brick's Bar & Grill - 320 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

 

A true "city" bar and grill that is a great lunch or after work destination. Also a good choice before a show or concert downtown. Reviewers love their blackened chicken, nachos, and wings. The classic burger goes great with their awesome selection of tap beers.

 

4 - Los Compadres - 2825 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids

Authentic Mexican food, family recipes perfected over generations, and a guacamole cart. Regulars love the lunch buffet, fresh and full of great selections. There is something special about a family restaurant, I think it comes from the pride of doing something well and the appreciation it brings.

 

5 - Gyro Hut - 1455 Mount Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids

 

This one definitely falls under the "drive in" category diner, as there is no actual seating here. It's pick-up 'n go (and they do deliver). Lots of customers say it's the best gyro in town, and yes, it's a little "off the beaten path", nestled into a literal "hut" off Mt. Vernon Rd. It's a neighborhood that takes pride in being authentic, and is unapologetic for it's grittiness, and that speaks volumes to it's determination of making the best of life no matter the circumstances or conditions.

 

[source: Yelp, Instagram]