I'm not going to shed crocodile tears over Anyone who knows me or follows my food writing and reviews knows the general disdain I feel for Castro Valley's restaurant scene.
I truly enjoyed when it was owned by the man himself, in its heyday. However in recent years, I feel that the quality and passion slid, placing it squarely in the center of Castro Valley's lackluster rank and file eateries.
The fact that all over Castro Valley is nothing to celebrate. However, Castro Valley does not exist in a bubble (excuse me for pointing out the obvious), and it is my assertion that residents are increasing their spending outside the borders on better food representing a better value.
If this paradigm persists, it spells eventual doom for the other eateries in our town that cannot or chose not to adapt. The only silver lining I can point to is that an eatery offering a unique experience and true culinary passion might eventually fill the voids. If and when this happens, I'm confident that we consumers will vote with our wallets and ensure that it thrives.
But for the time being, JD's closing has left a serious breakfast vacuum. So what are Castro Valley residents who want a tasty, hearty, value-laden breakfast to do?
Well, if you've not already heard of it, allow me to introduce you to the one-year-old Digger's Diner in Hayward.
The breakfasts at Digger's represent a level of quality and attention to detail which remind me of JD's back in the day. What's more, is that Digger's is open for lunch and dinner. In this capacity, they offer very, very decent sandwiches, salads, and burgers. In fact, they are a noticeable cut above what one will stand in line for, pay cash only for, pay more for, and receive chilly service for, at the highly-overrated Val's Burgers in Hayward.
Before you go getting your panties in a knot, here's a news bulletin for all you Val's worshipers: Digger's in Hayward takes credit cards and uses the exact same burger patties purchased from the exact same vendor — Weber's.
I learned this while culinary super sleuthing. The burgers are prepared with love, on a superior bun, with superior accouterments, and served with FAR better customer service and less sense of entitlement than I've experienced at Val's.
If that's not enough to capture your attention, the buxom burgers at Digger's are on average 20 percent cheaper than Val's. In addition, Diggers fries are nothing to scoff at, being exceedingly crispy and NOT tasting as if they were fried in a vat of tired hydrogenated soy shortening.
When we ordered them, they came piled high with one basket being ample to feed two adults and two kids. Diggers milkshakes are also the hands down winner if comparing the three establishments.
While I'd love nothing more than to stand upon the highest hill overlooking our valley, with bullhorn in hand, broadcasting my praise for restaurants within our borders, eateries that represent the value of Digger's Diner simply do not exist in Castro Valley at this time.