WESTMONT – When the Moondance Diner closed a few years ago, few people knew the diner had undergone a sale some years back. Original owners James and Peter Romas still had strong feelings for their old restaurant customers, staff and food concepts and wanted back in.
While the name Moondance Diner now belonged to someone else and could not be used, James and Peter looked for a name that would convey the spirit of the resurrected diner. After completing negotiations with the landlord and playing with color palettes and themes, they chose Citrus for the diner’s name.
Bright and sunny, just like a citrus field, surrounded by lots of windows and splashes of citrusy color, Citrus Diner is the perfect place to supercharge and begin your day or refuel at lunch.
Inside, the restaurant is comfortable and squeaky clean, which often tells me a lot about the kitchen conditions. Service is attentive and spot-on, and plating from the kitchen is flawless as well as picture perfect. One morning before a breakfast visit, I called to inquire about lunch items being served at 8:30 a.m. The reply, “You can have whatever you want” in the most cheerful and sincere voice, speaks volumes. These are perfect examples of a restaurant running on all cylinders.
Most days feature a rotating breakfast and lunch special (posted on Facebook) as well as daily coffee, iced tea and soup specials, which are posted for the week. Morning coffee lovers will find Citrus’ coffee to be of the more sturdy variety with refills coming hot and often.
With nearly 100 menu options plus substitutions and sides, 34 ingredients to create your own omelets, scrambles and skillets and the daily specials, making you selection can prove to be a formidable task and perhaps, your most difficult decision of the day.
I’ll begin with breakfast and the Southwest Scramble, a rotating breakfast special. Colorful and hearty, chorizo adds richness to the egg scramble that complements the smoothness of the chive, tomato and cheese mix. While I am a confirmed hash brown lover, Citrus serves a grease-free breakfast potato that was made even more enjoyable by sharing the Scramble's side of salsa. Breakfast potatoes are also available with a cheesy option.
Several breakfast meats are also listed with a nicely spiced pork patty duo the highlight. There’s also bacon, turkey links, Canadian bacon, ham, corned beef hash and chicken ‘n apple sausage to round out the offerings.
The Works omelet holds no surprises … it’s got it all. Perfectly cooked, the Jack and Cheddar mixture provides a rich contrast to the hearty ingredients (bacon, ham, sausage, mushrooms, onions and tomato) inside. Several Eggs Benedict options combine crab cakes or corned beef hash or spinach and artichoke hearts or the conventional Canadian bacon with poached eggs on an English muffin and topped with a luxurious Hollandaise sauce.
Most egg dishes come with breakfast potatoes and toast (a nice sourdough option normally found on the West Coast is available), but give strong consideration to Citrus’ fresh fruit option. It is always fresh, seasonal, delicious and a nice healthy option.
Specialty items include Mexican wraps and burritos (the difference is in the ingredients), Breakfast Quesadillas, Frittatas of all types (open-faced baked omelets) as well as several breakfast sandwiches.
Pancakes, French toast and Waffles are also featured on the menu in traditional style or in an elevated form with interesting ingredients incorporated into the dish. Pancakes are hearty, large and come two to an order. The Crunchberry adds granola to the batter (choose wheat or white flour) for a nice crunch and blueberries for a sweet ‘n sour complement. The accompanying warm, blueberry compote completes the presentation and was not overly sweet. A nice trend I’m seeing is the availability of real maple syrup for a slight upcharge, and it truly makes a difference.
Healthier options are also available such as Body Definition, which utilizes egg whites for the omelet along with smoked turkey, spinach and mushrooms. Dry nine-grain whole wheat toast, fresh fruit and no cheese make this calorie friendly dish a nice option.
The Triathlon is available in a beautifully presented parfait glass or an easier to enjoy bowl. Yogurt is layered with granola and fresh fruit and topped with a cinnamon sugar nut mix creating layers of flavors.
Muffins, served as an accompanying side with some dishes including the Triathlon, are not an afterthought but a gently warmed, fresh house-baked muffin in several flavor choices. I have enjoyed the banana nut and the chocolate on numerous occasions.
Lunches should always begin with tortilla soup, which may be the best soup in DuPage County and would certainly garner my vote. Thick, hearty and bursting with flavor, the tortilla soup blends the crunch of tortilla chips and the coolness of tomatoes with a nicely spiced and flavored roux. While tortilla soup comes in a cup or bowl, it is also available in quart containers for carry-out with all the toppings packaged separately. It’s a monthly dinner staple at our home when added to a salad or panini!
Several entree-sized salads can also be found on the menu. The Pecan Dijon combines seasoned chicken breast with bacon, avocado, tomato and pecans along with the Cheddar and Jack cheese mix. It’s large enough for a take-home container, holding up well even after the honey Dijon dressing is added.
Sandwiches span a large range with the Yacht Club and Avalon Sunset two of my favorites. A nicely grilled chicken breast sits atop a grilled bun with bacon, avocado and melted cheeses on the Avalon Sunset. Spice it up a notch by substituting Cancun dressing in place of mayo. The Yacht Club picks up a little extra from the use of sourdough and the inclusion of ham and turkey along with bacon and the addition of avocado to the standard lettuce and tomato mix. It’s these type of subtle extras that help set Citrus apart.
While most diners choose fries, a mix of sweet and regular potato chips is also available that is house-made and absolutely addicting. Request a side of ranch or Buffalo sauce for a nice flavor addition.
Located at the corner of Ogden Avenue and Pasquinelli Drive in the St. James Crossing shopping center, Citrus and its predecessor, Moondance, have anchored the corner spot for nearly 20 years. With both breakfast and lunch options served throughout the day, the menu versatility is a big plus and will please most. Parking’s a breeze, service is super friendly, catering is offered, carry-out is timely … and there’s also the tortilla soup!
So if it’s a business meeting, a long lost friend catch-up, a family breakfast, a soup pick-up, a weekend brunch or just a little mid-morning escape time; Citrus Diner will brighten your day – adding enough zest to keep you coming back!
WHERE: 844 E. Ogden Ave., Westmont
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. seven days a week
DRESS CODE: Casual
INFO: 630-655-1840 www.citrusdiner.com
NOISE FACTOR: Medium Buzz
For more restaurant action, follow the @chitowndiner on Instagram.