We get inside, and it is unlike anything I've seen in person. For starters, everyone is absolutely nice. I'm talking super nice - like cheerful nice. It's so unusual to see this level of kindness towards strangers, being that I grew up in L.A. I went with my buddies - Mike & Mike (not to be confused with ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning) - who had been to this diner the week prior, so they already knew what the score was. One of the Mike's (big Mike) prophesied that the people would instantly recognize them. Sure enough, we walk in and Betsy (yes, Betsy) says, "Welcome back, guys!" These were my initial thoughts after we got in (notice my pitch at the very end of the clip):
Pretty much, the only thing wrong with this place is that it is located in Bumfuck, Egypt. But I guess you kind of have to be to really have an authentic small town feel, with legitimate decor to go along with it. Every single employee was nice and extremely personable - I can't stress how awesome this was. This place rocked so much, their menus were cute (Salads 'n Such, in particular):
The service is second to none; if you are accustomed to 8 minute waits between refills, or 20 minute waits before getting your order in, Richie's will make you shit your pants. People were servicing us faster than pit crews (a little NASCAR humor there, since we were on our way to a race, afterall). On top of that, they put all of their soft drinks in stainless steel shake cups:
Well, after all this hyping up, you might be thinking...
Sure sure sure the people are the beans knees, the place looks far-out, and the service is gnarly... but how's the pricing and the food???
I'm fucking glad you asked.
Pricing was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be, with each meal ranging in the upper single digits, to about $15. Nothing came remotely close to expensive, and if you are on a serious budget, you owe yourself at least a shake. I'm serious.
First, let me introduce you to my friends - BBQ chicken, french fries, and two sticks of cheese. The BBQ is cooked outside daily, in front of the restaurant:
No clue about the cheese sticks, but when I heard it was an option instead of the biscuit, I had to pick it just to see what it was all about.
I'm glad I had the Mikes there to help me polish off the chicken, because I would have felt genuinely upset that such delicious chicken would go to waste. This chicken was made outside on the grill, and it turned out to be some of the best chicken I've ever had - this coming from a chicken lover. Even though the chicken was phenomenal, I just had to leave room for a shake; judging by the atmosphere, I could really sense their shakes were out of this world.
Small Mike had the fish and chips, which he said were better than the fish and chips he had in the UK. At first I called shenanigans, but then he gave me a piece to taste, and I had to rescind my allegations of shenanigans. Usually the extent of my seafood favorites are shrimp and sushi, but this was some tasty fish.
After I pushed aside the chicken, I decided I needed to take the plunge and order my shake. I ask our waitress for her recommendation, and even before I got the last word out of my mouth, she said, "chocolate banana."
Here's how my delicious chocolate banana shake came to me:
Moments later, after discovering how seriously amazing the shake was, this was my reaction (I say "banana" way too effeminately, especially the first time):
The best / worst part about it was that the waitress recommended it to me because she hasn't had sugar in the last six months due to her diabetes, and she wanted to see someone enjoy it. This milkshakes is heaven in your mouth. I'm glad I could help in my own way, I suppose. :)
Even if you never have any business being out that way, find a way to get out to Richie's Real American Diner. Overall, it is easily the best restaurant I've been to, even though it's not some fancy steakhouse, or expensive Sushi bar. The general feel, atmosphere, food and people just have to be constantly praised. I wish I was a spokesman for them, 'cause I would talk people's heads off about Richie's. Enjoy!
*Note: there are two other locations for Richie's. Please refer to their website for the Temecula & Murrieta locations.