Donna’s Diner In Sharon, PA mixes classic and modern American dishes to create an eclectic menu in a fun retro setting. Even though I was born after the heyday of the diner era, a love of hearty home-cooked food and good old-fashioned rock n’ roll makes it easy to hold this diner as one of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat.
I live almost an hour and 40 minutes away. But I have still managed to take in lunch at this quaint diner, located in beautiful downtown Sharon, PA, about a dozen times since they opened in 2011. I do a lot of business in the area as several of my clients, including the diner, are located there. But believe me, it’s the food and the atmosphere that makes me be sure to block out enough time in my day to take a lunch break when I’m in town.
Donna’s Diner is exactly what you picture when you think about diners of the 50s. The experience starts as you approach – its chrome exterior ensures that you can’t miss it as you roll down State Street, even though it’s the shortest building around. It’s always decorated with hand-painted artwork in the windows, cheerful flowers are out front when it’s warm, and twinkling lights are hung for the holiday season. You can hear oldies hits playing over the speakers as you approach to get you ready to rock your meal.
Inside, the pressed tin ceiling, retro light fixtures, fire-engine red booths, and black and white checkerboard floor transport you back in time. It all invites you to take a seat at a table that looks like the one that my grandma had when I was a little kid. In the warm months, you can sit out in the Diner’s backyard, which is located on the banks of the Shenango River. This is the perfect spot to eat outside, and if you happen to be in town during one of Sharon’s WaterFire Weekends, you can get in on one of their parties which provides you with access to the best view of the festivities in the town.
All of this is cool, daddy-o, but let’s remember why we are here in the first place… to eat! The menu at this diner is so much fun, with all the dishes being named after diner-era pop culture. Grab a ROCKIN’ REUBEN sandwich or warm up with a bowl of THUNDERBIRDS chili. Go on the lighter side with a SUMMER LOVIN’ salad featuring chicken, strawberries, mandarin oranges, bleu cheese, candied pecans, and red onion, or have a hearty dinner with one of their BLUE PLATE SPECIALS.
But what would a diner be without burgers and milkshakes? You can’t go wrong with one of their award-winning WinnerBurgers, which are served with their freshly made potato chips dusted with dry ranch powder. There’s a dozen burger staples on the menu, as well as a WinnerBurger of the Day, so you are sure to find a combo to suit your taste. I’m a fan of the BLEU SUEDE SHOES burger myself, because melted bleu cheese crumbles on a burger is a wonderful thing.
Pair your burger with the ultimate milkshake experience, tailor-made to your liking! Donna’s Diner features old-fashioned hand-scooped milkshakes that let you stretch your confectionery creativity. Start by selecting strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla ice cream. Then customize your shake with their list of 50 toppings – yes, 50 toppings! If you pick two, that’s 1,225 different possible combinations! Pick three and there are 19,600 different combinations! Really, the possibilities are endless. Too overwhelmed to decide? Ask one of the Diner Girls for their favorite combos, or try one of the specialty seasonal shakes.
Whether you are hungry for a quick bite or a full meal, in the mood for a sweet treat, or even craving breakfast, which is served all day, Donna’s Diner is sure to serve up good eats and tasty treats to satisfy any appetite.
Plan Your Trip…
Donna’s Diner is right in the heart of Sharon and is open 7 days a week from 7AM to 8PM. There’s plenty to do in the area so make a day of it and explore the town’s great shops, such as The Winner, located next door, or spend the weekend at Buhl Mansion Guesthouse & Spa just a few blocks away. Its location makes it a prime spot for enjoying local events such as the biannual WaterFire Sharon, or the Holiday Extravaganza in November.
To check out the full menu, see what the current specialty milkshakes are, or get directions, visit donnas-diner.com
Photos by Laura Ackley.