The Riata Diner & Tavern
190 S J St
Livermore, CA 94550
The Riata. Is is a diner? Is it a Tavern? It’s a classic in Livermore. Upon entering, you quickly get the impression that it has its regulars.
Located on the corner of South J Street and 2nd Street, it’s in a great location in downtown Livermore. I’m not sure how long The Riata has been here, but with the great mural they have on the outside, it gives you a sense of being around during Livermore’s historic ranching past.
That feeling doesn’t go away when you enter the restaurant. The atmosphere was vibrant, loud (but not too much so) with only one or two empty tables. it’s It keeps that country feel with cowhides on the ceiling and cowboy hats perched along the walls. Being a suburban boy and my first time here, I felt a little out-of-place. But with our friendly and attentive waitress I quickly felt at home.
Before she came back to take our order, I hopped up to take a peek at their selection of beers. The taps centered behind the bar kind of remind me of the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones with its array ten tap handles that’ll satisfy most anyone’s taste. Being a local supporter, I chose Altamont’s Shelter IPA ($5.75). Andrea had a Coke ($2.25).
A hot loaf of fresh bread skewered with a knife arrived with our drinks while Andrea and I chatted about our week. Before we knew it, a Hawaiian Burger with Fries ($9.99) sat in front of her, while a Patty Melt and Fries ($9.99) eagerly awaited me.
Her burger definitely tasted Hawaiian with its strong pineapple slices, caramelized onions and provolone cheese. It was sweet, fruity and extra juicy. She said it was worth enough to get again. My Patty Melt was a perfect match for the IPA. The rye was gently toasted and the beef was cooked perfectly medium with just the right amount of pink. With its Swiss cheese and grilled onions, I devoured every last bite. It was surprisingly really good. Oh, and I can’t forget the fries; moist on the inside, crispy on the outside with a really nice flavor. Overall, our dinner was superb, especially at $30.50 before tip.
The highlight of the night though was when a flower lady was passing through the restaurant. While everyone passed on buying roses, the waitress stopped her and bought some flowers from her. Even during the hustle and bustle of work, there is always time to stop and smell the roses. It was a nice thing to see and heartwarming end to the night.