I went to Karens Diner – our waitress made entire place yell "f*** off" at me
When you're 32, married and have a child, it's rare that you get to have a night out with your wife.
So when the chance came to try out a new American-style diner just a few minutes from where we live in north Manchester, I jumped at it.
However, upon walking through the door of the former site of Pizza Express, Prestwich, I had an instant feeling of regret as a waitress walked past and told us both to “f**k off”.
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Yes, we had entered the mad, bad, and now very viral world of Karen's Diner.
The unique diner has taken the world by storm – not because of its food, but because all its staff couldn't give a flying monkeys about customer service.
And you're not even allowed to settle in to the place before the abuse starts.
Apart from the (excellent, not joking, she was great) front of house member of staff asking if you're “aware” of the concept of the diner, it's all abuse all the time.
Simply put, it's kind of like experiencing what strange people who pay OnlyFans stars to shout abuse at them experience – just with good food on the side.
I'll get the food out of the way before talking about the overall “experience”.
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For a restaurant based on a gimmick such as this to survive long term the food needs to be good, and I'm happy to say that it is.
The menu isn't the biggest, and mainly consists of American-style dirty burgers, fries, milkshakes, cocktails and a few pizzas.
I had the Karen's Got Real Beef burger – minus the bacon – while my wife had the Oktoberfest Karen .
My burger was built on the tastiest overnight slow-cooked smokey BBQ beef brisket, complete with a caramelised onion and honey glazed BBQ sauce.
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It was pretty special.
The latter is a plant-based vegan schnitzel burger with vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato and vegan Aioli.
And thereby hangs the first bit of major abuse we got.
At the door you're asked if anyone is vegan or vegetarian – and that is a cardinal sin at Karen's.
Upon admitting that my wife was, the front of house woman grabbed a microphone and prepared to announce it to the entire restaurant.
Quickly, I replied “but it's for religious reasons”, thinking that this was stop whatever form of madness was about to take place.
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I was very, very wrong.
She replied: “I couldn't give a f**k about that”.
And with that, she told the entire restaurant – which was mainly filled with influencers more concerned with taking the perfect selfie than anything else – to tell us to “f**k off, vegans”.
We also had two pretty good side dishes of onion rings and sweet potato wedges.
The mains come with huge portions of fries, which was the only food-related downer, as they were super salty.
I'm guessing that's just a clever way of getting people to buy more drinks.
The cocktail menu provides enough variety for anyone who wants to try something different for a drink.
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Although it wasn't available at the time, the Nutty Karen contains vodka, peanut butter, ice cream mix, chocolate syrup and Reese's pieces – I was looking forward to that, and might venture back just for it.
With the food out of the way, I'm a little mixed about the overall experience.
Some of the staff were great at fulfilling the angry, give-no-s**ts part of the theatre, and I mean that with all sincerity – they were funny, sharp and witty.
But there were some who seemed to take it one step too far to the point where it was just awkward, and annoyingly one of them was assigned to our table.
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I don't know if this is because the place is new and she was testing the waters, but to completely ignore the table you're on to the point where other staff were having to pitch in for you, you kind of have to wonder whether that's one case of “taking the gimmick too far” – she also didn't say a word to us, other than to tell us to get our own "f**king menus".
That was the only negative from a pretty fun evening, where other tables were made to play a game of Spin The Wheel, where the prizes ranged from “buy your table shots” to “perform a catwalk in front of everyone”.
And on the way out, one of the most on-point staff members grabbed my phone and proceeded to take a selfie with us – complete with a middle finger salute.
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She did, off the radar, ask if we'd enjoyed ourselves and if the food was good – and then screamed “GOOD, NOW GET THE F**K OUT ALREADY”.
A wonderful ending to a very strange night.
The only caveat I have about Karen's is that I wouldn't recommend you go if you just fancy a normal meal out – this is very much an experience and it lends itself best to Hen parties and work-related events such as Christmas dos etc.
The food however, I would happily have on a regular basis.
In true Karen style, you can stop reading this review now and f**k off to some other part of the Daily Star website.
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