Rosie's Diner wants to be a diner for all seasons, for all meals, for all people. And I literally mean all people: Its five-page menu lists more than 100 combined breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, entrées and salads, most using ingredients from US Foods. This is not counting the seven different french-fry toppings, the 21 items on the kids' menu, or the 17 flavors of shake.
This rush to the middle is reflected in co-owners Abraham Tellez and Ken Hertel's expansion plans: They've got three more Rosie's planned for the Front Range, then for locations near Houston, then a hope of being bought out.
The '50s decor is certainly suited for mass consumption, with repeated sightings of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and the kids from Grease. Red and black are everywhere, half a fake Cadillac acts as the host stand, and you'll dine to the sonorous tones of "Surfin' Bird."
And if you haven't heard the word, this is the second location of a Monument staple, parked in a new development just north of New Life Church. It's still an underdeveloped commercial area, and probably a smart spot. Besides a few select dishes, though, location is the best thing going for Rosie's.
The coffee from Elevation Coffee Traders was decent, while appetizers like fried pickles ($4.99) and mozzarella sticks ($5.99) tasted OK. The flaky and buttery chicken quesadilla ($7.99) came off best, though it arrived with a strange, cilantro-laced guacamole that was way more unpleasant to eat than it sounds.
An order of liver and onions ($8.50) prompted this comment: "You're the youngest person I've seen order that." It won't happen again. The meat was dry and chewy, needing every ounce of the gravy and onions to give it life. Good bacon on top, though, and our great server did offer to take the dish off our bill when it lay unfinished.
Moving on, there's so much damn food on the menu that we completely skipped breakfast, soups and salads, bringing us to lunch.
Getting the worst out of the way, the guacamole and jalapeño burger ($8.99) had two serious problems: first, the weird guacamole, and second, a burger patty with such a serious "off" flavor that I retched. It tasted almost like dust. Somehow, the ground beef rebounded fine on the restaurant's rich Texas Toaster ($8.99): patty, bacon, red onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles and American and Swiss cheese on Texas toast.
We topped one set of fries with an awesome homemade green chile ($1.99 extra), and another with cheese and bacon bits ($1.29), which quickly hardened into one solid piece. Still, the Memphis BBQ chicken burger ($8.99) we paired with those bacon-cheese fries was my favorite meal — moist, messy and tender, and great with both the onion ring and grilled onion toppings.
Besides a Hershey's Syrup-bombed chocolate shake ($3.50, with refill container), we're left with two other entrées. The California Club sandwich ($8.99) offered shaved turkey, mayo, tomato, Swiss cheese and bean sprouts on a grilled croissant, which all worked fine until my mouth found more guacamole. And a fish and chips ($8.99) of three filets of swai (farmed shark catfish) were big and hot, but basically flavorless, with a tendency to crumble instead of flake.
You can understand why expansion-minded entrepreneurs would offer something for everyone. But usually, it's best to leave a few things out.