Ayman Mohieldin almost named his restaurant the Different Diner.
Instead, he and his business partners tried to create that vibe at the Lotus Diner in West Manchester Township.
The diner's look leans toward modern, with flat-screen TVs, tall chairs instead of mounted stools at the counter, a black drop ceiling and Wi-Fi. Mohieldin, 30, said they did not want to open a diner with a more traditional '60s décor.
"We did not want to follow suit," he said.
I dined there recently during lunch, even though the eatery's sign boasts "the best breakfast in town."
Mohieldin said he did his homework before opening in March and found the breakfast dishes offered at many restaurants are either low in quality or too high in price. He said Lotus Diner serves good portion sizes at reasonable prices.
"You're never going to see a $10 omelet in my place," he said.
I ordered a turkey wrap and a garden salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. To my pleasant surprise, the meat was sliced turkey breast - not deli meat. The cook grilled the turkey, melted Swiss cheese on top, and tucked plenty of lettuce and tomato inside the wrap. The best and most interesting part of the dish had to be the cranberry mayo, made from real cranberries.
Mohieldin said the fruity mayo has been a hit at the diner. He likes to introduce York County to some untraditional tastes like that and field a response.
Lotus Diner's menu has roots in Mohieldin's heritage. The eatery, which opened in March, serves Pennsylvania Dutch, Italian and Greek favorites. Mohieldin, who moved to York County from Egypt in 1999, said York has become his hometown in the states. He has family who've lived in Italy for more than 30 years, and said Egyptian and Greek cuisine are very similar.
He plans to offer a Mediterranean night in the fall, serving combination dishes of spinach pie, falafel and moussaka. If people enjoy the foods, he said he will offer them as specials
Mohieldin said customers have been very receptive to the new eatery, and that he welcomes feedback and sometimes hands out comment cards.
Many customers ask how the name came to be, so he printed a description on the menu. Mohieldin said the lotus is a symbol of purity because it grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom. He said the flower represents long life, health, honor and good luck and that he wishes that for the business and the people it serves.
"Of course we wish them the same thing," Mohieldin said. "We wanted to get more in touch with the actual customers. We do care a lot."
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If you go
LOCATION: Lotus Diner, 930 Carlisle Road in West Manchester Township
CUISINE: Pennsylvania Dutch, Greek, Italian
LEIGH'S PICK: Turkey wrap ($5.25); tossed salad ($3.95)
HOURS: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day
PRICE RANGE: $1 to $15.95
ACCEPTS: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and cash
KID'S MENU: Yes
DETAILS: Call 318-5739