Rick’s Diner, Palmwoods

When we were on the Sunshine Coast we arranged to meet Carl’s parents for lunch in Palmwoods.  Palmwoods is a very small suburb in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast with a population of around 5,500.  The majority of the local shops line either side of Margaret Street and this street seems to be the focal point of the suburb.

Rick's Diner

Rick’s Diner

I knew Palmwoods has a pub but I wasn’t sure if we would be able to find any other dining options.

The bar on the footpath

The bar on the footpath

I was very pleasantly surprised to stumble across Rick’s Diner.  As we drove along Margaret Street, Rick’s Diner certainly stood out from the mainstream shops with its retro signs, funky furniture and proximity to the footpath and street.  This is where we would have our lunch!

The bar

The bar

Now…Carl’s parents don’t like loud music and when we walked in there was music and it was a tad loud and so our other option was to eat outside in the lawned courtyard where we could sit in the sun.  But Carl’s parents also don’t like fresh air so there was some suggestion that we instead retreat to the pub which I quickly squashed.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the pub; it’s just I’ve been there before.

You can't have a retro feel without Elvis

You can’t have a retro feel without Elvis

So after some argy-bargy I found us an outdoor table in the most sheltered part of the outdoor area so no one could complain the outing had given them influenza and as a bonus, when the sun came out from behind the clouds, we were all given some winter-warmth.

Outdoor dining area

Outdoor dining area

There’s a lovely history to Rick’s Diner.  As I understand it, originally the rear of the premises was purely a mechanic’s workshop with an area that also restored cars while the front of the property was a petrol station with those old-fashioned bowsers right on the footpath.  Some time ago the council told Rick he was no longer allowed to sell petrol so he kept the mechanic/car restoration side of his business but turned the original petrol station into a diner.

Sparkling clean workshop

Sparkling clean workshop

I love what Rick has done with the petrol station; it’s full of retro images and old wares and curios and booth seats and bar stools and photos of nude retro ladies lining the walls of the men’s bathroom – I bet you wonder how I know that!

One of the interior rooms in the diner

One of the interior rooms in the diner

Rick’s Diner comes across as a very happy place and has staff that are warm, friendly and welcoming in what is a very relaxed and casual environment.  Drinks are ordered at the bar and food ordered separately at the end of the counter.  Queueing to order food is a bit of a problem as you seem to have to stand right where the food comes out of the kitchen so it’s a case of ‘stand in the queue and be in the way’ of all the waiters.

Diners at the diner

Diners at the diner

The menu is ‘short and sweet’ with mostly burger options.  There are a few appetisers or ‘bar food’ and so we started with a plate of spicy chicken wings.  The wings were tender and mildly spiced and served with an aioli as a dipping sauce.  I thought this was a generous serve for the price.

Drinks to start with.  Unfortunately, the Vonu is not available but the glasses are!

Drinks to start with. Unfortunately, the Vonu(Fijian Beer)  is not available but the glasses are!

Plate of Spicy Chicken Wings $10.00

Plate of Spicy Chicken Wings $10.00

My mother-in-law ordered the New Zealand hoki fish and chips with a salad.  The chips here are great as they’re the chunky old-style of chip and served crunchy and crispy rather than soft and blond – crunchy and crispy is my preference).  Judy enjoyed this although I thought the salad could have been a little more imaginative.

Fish and Chips with Salad $15.00

Fish and Chips with Salad $15.00

My father-in-law ordered the fish burger.  It was crumbed New Zealand hoki with cheese, tomato, avocado, beetroot, lettuce, red onion, aioli and tomato relish.  There were no complaints from my father-in-law and I’m sure it was a very good burger it’s just his stamp of approval is unreliable as this is a man who eats slices of bread sandwiched together with honey and vegemite and says, ‘nothing wrong with that sandwich’.

Fish Burger $16.00

Fish Burger $16.00

Carl ordered the Rick’s Chicken Burger with chicken breast, bacon, beetroot, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cheese, red onion, aioli and chilli sauces.  You can choose ‘mild’ or ‘frickin hot’ sauce and Carl chose the latter.  The good news is that the ‘frickin hot’ sauce comes on the side and just as well because it is definitely ‘frickin hot’.  And as for the burger, it was wonderful with all those layers and flavour and the chicken was cooked all the way through without being dry and the aioli was light but full of intensity.

Chicken Burger with 'frickin hot sauce'

Chicken Burger with ‘frickin hot sauce’

I ordered the Rick’s Vegetarian Burger because it came with haloumi cheese and I just love haloumi cheese.  The burger had layers of different vegetables and cheese topped with a tomato relish and was certainly substantial.

Vegetarian Burger $18.00

Vegetarian Burger $18.00

We also ordered a couple of serves of chips which we didn’t really need but forced them down anyway.

Hot chips with aioli

Hot chips with aioli

When I was ordering the burgers I noticed there were some lovely looking desserts in the counter window.  I think these are out-sourced rather than made in-house but I thought we should try them.  We ordered the caramel tart because I loved the faux cigarette popping out of it.  The caramel was amazing; very dense and rich and creamy and the cigarette didn’t contain nicotine but rather, chocolate!

Caramel Tart with a cigarette

Caramel Tart with a cigarette

The other dessert we tried was the miniature pecan pie and I liked this less than the caramel tart because it was a touch dry.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Rick’s Diner is a refreshing and fun attraction to a suburb in the hinterland that’s otherwise not on the map.  It’s the sort of place where you can sit inside or out and soak up the atmosphere while leisurely enjoying your lunch or dinner.  I love how Rick turned a ‘lemon’ of a situation, handed to him by the Council, into ‘lemonade’.

Parts from an EH Holden - this had to be photographed because we once had one of these cars

Parts from an EH Holden – this had to be photographed because we once had one of these cars

Verdict:  When in Palmwoods, definitely pay a visit.

Hotly Spiced with Mr Rick Diner

Hotly Spiced with Mr Rick Diner sitting beneath the ‘retro’ Encyclopedia Britannicas

Rick’s Diner:  14-16 Margaret Street, Palmwoods QLD 4555 Ph:  07 5445 0933

Popular with lots of bike lovers

Popular with lots of bike lovers

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  1. What a fabulous little diner! The decor is perfect. The food looks really good, too! The hot sauce cracks me up…’frickin’ hot’ LOL I would definitely eat here!! 🙂

  2. I think Rick did quite well turning his petrol station into a diner. All the meals looked tasty and quite filling. Well worth the cost. I don’t know that I’d like a dessert that looked like it had a cigarette stubbed into it but I’m glad that it was tasty too. I would have gone with the individual pecan pie with a strong cup of coffee which would have taken care of any dryness issues.

    Your FILs sandwich choices (honey and vegamite) sound like the sort of thing men who don’t cook throw together to fill them up. 🙂

  3. Cute little joint Charlie, love the unique ambiance. And food looks great and well priced. I bet Carl’s parents love the place. One heck of a business guy…from converting a petrol pump to a diner or having a desert with a Choco cig stuffed…wow. Now that is the kind of puff I would love to have.

  4. I can never pass up haloumi either–or crunchy and crispy chips! Looks like a fun place to visit.

  5. What a fun place, Charlie! I’m so glad you won and didn’t have to go to the pub! Food sounds fantastic too, and great value! xxx

  6. What great photos. So glad you convinced them to stay! The food looks wonderful.

  7. This looks like one of the hangouts from old 90s shows, like Friends! I wouldn’t mind going there often 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  8. What a great find. And funny too.

  9. Funky and retro – what a nice combo! The place is good enough for me. I can’t ask for a long menu. What a nice place you found, Charlie!

    Gourmet Getaways

  10. This place looks great and has some wonderful character! Food looks fantastic too!

  11. Mr B eats vegemite and honey sandwiches – there I was thinking he was the only one 😉 I may not tell him he has company in your FIL…

    I’m glad you won with choosing the location as it’s always nice to try something new and the decor here is definitely fun, and the food seems reliable (and generously served) too.

  12. That looks like a nice and different dining find, Charlie. Lovely looking chips, too!

  13. Pete would love to visit, definitely his kind of place – hmm, not sure when we would be able to do that though.
    Have a wonderful weekend Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  14. This looks like a great diner. These types of restaurants are my favorite types in the summer. It’s hard to beat a good beer and burger outside. Although your winter would work just as well. 😉

  15. Drooling.
    I love this place.
    The spicy wings look FAB.
    The sandwiches GIGANTIC.
    And the desserts SINFUL. WOW> xxxxxx

  16. OOO,
    and the photo is ADORABLE)))!!

  17. That was some chicken burger! Big food! And I’m sure Carl’s parents are lovely but really – not liking to eat in the fresh air??

  18. What a neat little diner!! Great pics 🙂

  19. This sounds like a lovely cool place to eat! Those chips with aïoli look very tasty & so does the fish burger,..the caramel tart with the cigarette in it, what a creative idea! Ha!

    Cool, relaxed but appetizing foods! x A gem!

  20. What fun. I might have to go back to visit. My first meal there was a shocker but that was a couple of years ago. Well done that they’ve impressed you!

  21. What a cute themed place! What was the cigarette made out of?

  22. I love this place, Charlie. I think the backstory on Rick’s Diner is so appealing and the decor is great. The food appears to be really good, too. 🙂 I know I’d have been very happy with each of the food options you described. Very tasty indeed!

  23. That Rick Diner is not a bad looking chappie is he? Glad you managed to get a god lunch and please everyone! c

  24. Ohh Rick’s Diner looks like something you would find in America and not Australia 🙂 I love all the retro chairs and decor, the food looks great too especially the spicy wings and caramel tart for me hehe glad you know you’ve had a lovely trip!

  25. I would love the ambiance of this place and I know that my husband would especially the auto-themed decor/background, being an automotive machinist and all.

  26. What a great, fun place indeed Charlie! The food sounds pretty decent, and it’s definitely great that the council didn’t shut down another local business. Certainly somewhere I’ll stop next visit up north.
    Btw, I’m glad your inlaws didn’t catch influenza from the sunlight- my mum came down to help me over the last surgery a few weeks back and managed to bring pneumonia with her…. 🙁 xox

  27. SONS… The first pic with all the bikes out front made me think of Sons of Anarchy. #totalfan 🙂 Australia really should get on the Diner bandwagon, they just ooze coolness. Guess Ill have to plan a trip to visit, we don’t have anything like it here in the Berra.

  28. No joke, I’m eating a chocolate pecan pie right this second and it is miraculous; the chocolate crust and chocolate drizzle on top mitigates the sweetness of the oh-so-gooey caramel. But no cigarette! 😉

  29. What a very cool place and I love the chips served in the fry basket!

  30. OH MY GOSH everything looks so wonderful! I shed a tear of joy looking at that fish burger 🙂

  31. Nice place…. like to serve the chips in the fry basket…

  32. Jeff Porter says:

    I would like to visit Palmwoods,but there is no public transport on weekends. Maybe the bus companies should step up

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