You can go your entire life living in Cincinnati without ever knowing the Madison Diner ever existed, but you would truly be missing out. Tucked in the back corner of the loveably retro Madison Bowl, the Madison Diner tops our list for the best secret diner of the Queen City.
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Madison Diner caters mostly to hungry bowlers while the pins are falling, but they also serve their faithful fans with breakfast even before the lights turn on in the bowling alley.
Our last visit, like so many other times, was before the bowling had commenced for the day. The bowling alley itself was dark and quiet, a unique experience in its own right, but back in the corner, glowing its 1950s-ish glow, was the greasy spoon of our dreams, the Madison Diner.
Although we were the only patrons when we first sat down, this quickly changed as person after person started to fill the stools around us. Of course, the server knew each by name. (One order was even started for one man before he ever walked in the door.)
We all ordered the breakfast combo, just as we do almost every time we visit… A couple eggs, some toast, a little bacon, and 2 hash brown patties with a drink. All for $7.
The lunch and dinner menu focuses on classic diner fare… burgers, fries, and their famous cornbread and beans. We can attest to its tastiness as well.
In case we didn’t already love everything about this little traditional diner, the Madison Diner is also a family-owned and operated business. From what we’re told, it’s a big family… each doing his or her part for the family business. In fact, we’re pretty sure it’s been a member of the family who served us each of the many times we’ve visited.
Whether you’re looking to grab a snack while bowling 10 frames or just want a fun diner for a classic greasy spoon breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we’re willing to bet you find the Madison Diner just as endearing as we do.
(Couple of pro tips… Madison Diner DOES accept credit cards, but the straight-out-of-the-70s style bar adjacent DOES NOT. You can bring your food from the diner into the bar. and in the rest of the bowling alley.)
Madison Diner (inside the Madison Bowl)
4761 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45227