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We want to speak to the manager about Karen’s Diner

Karen's Diner food & milkshakes (image supplied)
Karen's Diner food & milkshakes (image supplied)

When we think of a diner, we’re picturing Arnold’s from Happy Days with pre-recorded lols and joyful applause, Brenda and Kelly rocking their 90s fringes at The Peach Pit (#teamdylan BTW), and all things wholesome, sugar and spice (or burgers and fries). So, what can one expect from a 2022 pop-up diner embracing this American pop-culture phenomena? Milkshakes, ice-cream sundaes, a jukebox, records on the wall…and the rudest, most insulting and miserable bunch of Karen’s running the joint (say what?!?). Yep, you read that right – get ready GC, the infamous Karen’s Diner is headed for Surfers Paradise in July so if you enjoy your burger served with a side of friendly and attentive service, #ByeFelicia. The staff at Karen’s do their name proud, dishing out nothing but rude, whiney, sarcastic ‘tude – and the best belly laughs you’ll have all year.

Delivering a horrendously good time, Karen’s Diner promises shut-up good nosh – and lots of actual “shut ups” from the narky waiters whose mission is to make your experience as Karen-y as possible. They may look the part in their cutesy pink uniforms, scalloped aprons and pin-on hats, but make no mistake – expect a serious case of b!tchy resting face.

Karen's Diner rude staff (image supplied)
Karen's Diner rude staff (image supplied)

Smile at them, they’ll roll their eyes. Try to get their attention, they’ll flick you the bird. And whatever you do, for the love of God, DO NOT ask for a refund! You’ll cop the full wrath of Manager Karen and LBH, the only thing more miserable than a Karen is a Karen with a Manager’s badge. She’s the ultimate no-nonsense misery-guts….and we are here for it!

Tickets are just $10 for this hilariously unique and interactive night out, including a seat in the authentic retro diner and a welcome drink on arrival. The delicious menu will leave your mouth watering, with classics such as The Basic Karen, with Wagyu beef, American cheese, tomato, oak lettuce, beetroot and garlic mayo. Chook lovers can indulge in a Karen’s Best Breast with grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avo and spicy mayo sauce. If you want to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to your burger, consult the ‘Burger Bolt Ons’ section of the menu where you can freestyle with extra cheese, bacon, onion rings and more. If a burger isn’t your cup of soda, then give Karen’s Chicken Bingo Wings a whirl, or the Loaded Cheesy Beef Brisket Fries, covered in slow cooked beef brisket and house cheese. It’s a heart attack on a plate – and they couldn’t give a toss.

Karen's Diner (image supplied)
Karen's Diner (image supplied)

If you’re after something sweet you certainly won’t get it from the staff, but the dessert menu has you covered with Karen’s Marvelous Churro Surprise, Karen’s Seasonal Waffle Bowl or one of the many thickshake flavours or floats. Karen also dishes up a mean (no pun intended) cocktail with the likes of Cancun Karen with tequila, watermelon liquer, Aperol, lemon juice and pineapple juice and The Passionate Karen with gin, lime juice, passionfruit puree and ice-cream mix. There are $11 shooters to get the party started with hilariously fitting names like “The Music Is Too Loud”, “I’ve Been Waiting Ten Minutes For Some Service” and “You’ve Lost My Business”. Vegetarians, vegans and non-drinkers don’t fret, you’re all catered for too, but don’t expect Karen to be happy about it.

Tickets are on sale now. Oh and if your name is actually Karen, make your presence known (which will you probably will anyway coz you’re a Karen) and your fellow Karen’s will give you a free drink.

Where: Secret location TBA, Surfers Paradise
When: 01 July – 31 December 2022 (various dinner/show seatings)

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Karen's Diner (image supplied)
Karen's Diner (image supplied)

9 American-style eateries on the Gold Coast

Brooklyn Depot (image supplied)
Brooklyn Depot (image supplied)

Yes, Americana fans, whether it’s the 4th of July or you just want a super-sized hot dog with the lot, the Gold Coast can cater to you. While it may not be widely acceptable to light fireworks and party in American flags here, you can get behind the land of the free and brave’s favourite pastime – overeating. Love ’em or hate ’em, those red-blooded yanks know what they are doing when it comes to grilling’ up dogs, burgers and ribs; and here are the Gold Coast’s top spots to get your American on.

Easy Street Diner
The team at Easy Street changed the American food game on the Gold Coast big time. Besides the super cool and Instagram worthy all American diner interior, the food is so good you’ll be back for more! It’s the optimum hangover hangout but be advised they’re usually super busy, even on a Monday. Food-wise, they’ve got it all, from Mac ’n’ Cheese to burgers to fried chicken (yes, even fried chicken with waffles and maple syrup). The most ordered burger on their menu though? Look no further than the Double Royale with Cheese, it’s simply double the meat, double the cheese and double the experience. Extra points for ordering in your best American accent à la Pulp Fiction.
Where: 2563 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Easy Street Diner (image supplied)
Easy Street Diner (image supplied)

Brooklyn Depot
The guys at Brooklyn Depot set the bar high for all the other American eateries on the Coast. Get in there and chow down on bourbon-glazed beef brisket, good ole’ Texas Style Short Ribs or grab the Statue of Liberty hot dog sprinkled with potato chips. Not full yet, well wash it all down with one of their delectable assortment of authentic 1950s style shakes, we suggest The Nutty Professor with the sweetest combo of Nutella and Peanut Butter and a shot of Kahlua can be added for a little 18+ zing.
Where: The 4217, Beach Road, Surfers Paradise

Fat Freddy’s
Coined as a ‘clean-cut dive bar’, expect to see all the nostalgic odes to North American yesteryear at this Broadbeach hotspot. If you’re not there to catch live action sports, you must certainly go for the food. If it’s you and someone else, we highly recommend the Fat Freddy’s Feast: two burgers, loaded curly fries and four pieces of fried chicken wings. And if there’s space, a Chocolate S’more thick shake to wash it down! The effort at Fat Freddy’s has been to reinvent American Diner classics and provide late night eats until very late, seven days.
Where: 50 Surf Parade, Broadbeach

Fat Freddy's (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Fat Freddy's (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Eddies Grub House
All marinated in blues and rock n’ roll, Eddies Grub House is the go-to spot for a killer burger or fried chicken in Cooly whilst serenading you in the smoothest soundtrack of any bar around. The usual burgers can be found here but if you’re seriously hangry, go for The Triple BBQ Heartbreaker with 3 x char grilled 120g beef patties, TRIPLE bacon, TRIPLE cheese, red onion Boozy BBQ sauce and a special sauce. You might need a mate to tag team you on this one. While you are there, pick up an order of the cheese-topped and gravy slathered Chizzle and Grizzle Fries — outstanding. Then, settle yourself in, but don’t forget to taste your way through their impressive American whiskey collection.
Where: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

The Loose Moose
Ok, we cheated a little on this one, but as Canada is a very close cousin to the USA, it’s still worth including. This Broadbeach venue promises ‘dirty food made clean’. So, if you’ve been craving Buffalo Wings (do you think you could handle them tossed in the Ass Burner sauce featuring the Carolina Reaper Chilli Sriracha, the hottest in the world?) or one of their four seriously awesome Hot Dawgs, go crazy and keep a relatively clear conscience (until you devour that Snickers Brownie at the end). Another Loose Moose selling point is their extensive bar selection, offering 130 whiskeys, 30 rums, 20 gins, 60 bottled beers, plus a large selection of vodka, cognac, tequila, wine and 25 beers on tap!
Where: Oasis Shopping Centre, Broadbeach

Loose Moose (Image: © 2016 Inside Gold Coast)
Loose Moose (Image: © 2016 Inside Gold Coast)

Luckie’s Diner – The Collective
Pork Belly Nuggets are the gift that just keeps on giving, and if you haven’t dropped by The Collective in Palm Beach to try them out, we suggest you rectify this stat. The whole Luckie’s menu reads like a fantastical and delicious excuse to grab some friends and indulge in the guiltiest of cheat day meals. Share a variety of side plates to get started before chomping down into one of their classic burgers. You’ll be planning your next visit before you know it.
Where: The Collective 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

House of Brews
House of Brews might be more famous for their controversial cocktails and endless selection of quality beers, but their food menu is definitely worthy of a mention! The Onion Ring Tower with Boston cheese sauce is the perfect start to your evening snack attack. Now can we introduce you to the Ultimate Wing Bucket… 100 wings for $100! You do the math, how few people can you invite to achieve your maximum wing annihilation? If there’s room, the usual Mac ’n’ Cheese and Cheesy Fries should round out your meal. It doesn’t get more American than that!
Where: 17 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise

TGI Friday's (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
TGI Friday's (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Born in New York in 1965, the people of the Gold Coast rejoiced when the experts in American bar and grill diners opened in 2019 at Robina Town Centre (still the only location in Queensland). Arguably the founder of the iconic ‘Happy Hour’, TGI (thank god it’s) FRIDAYS is where it’s at all week! Offering all your favourite American dishes like Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites, Wings (with five different sauces), ribs, burgers and some of the most decadent desserts around, make sure you leave enough room to fit in one of their ultimate cocktails.
Where: Robina Town Centre, Robina

Hard Rock Cafe
Every major city’s got one; Hard Rock Cafe is the ultimate American restaurant/sports bar (but interestingly, the first Hard Rock Cafe actually opened in London in 1971). But how many can say their iconic neon guitar sign caught on fire? Yeah, ours was a flaming’ guitar back in 2004! You can’t go wrong ordering the Original Legendary Burger (the burger that started it all), but of course you’ll need a side of Golden Onion Rings some beer or cocktails to wash it down, just make sure you save room for the Hot Fudge Brownie — the ultimate American experience for all the family.
Where: Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Hard Rock Cafe burger (image supplied)
Hard Rock Cafe burger (image supplied)

11 of the sweetest Gold Coast bakeries

The Pastry Emporium

Oh baked goods, why do you taunt us so. Taste sensations, tick. Better with butter, tick. Comforting when cold, tick, tick, tick. They’re almost too good to be true but, as demonstrated below, they are true and there are Gold Coast bakeries galore which is just fine by us.

Here’s a list of the top 11 bakeries within which you’ll find said exceptional baked treats and happy carb loading Coasties.

Custard Canteen
By the insanely talented team also behind Bam Bam Bakehouse, Custard Canteen is the newest of the bunch, serving up absolutely next-level Portuguese custard tarts, almond croissant tarts, the gooiest of cookies and various breakfast and lunch goods. Find them down Talle Creek way and good luck floating gracefully once you’ve sampled a few (thousand) of those.
Where: Tallebudgera Recreation Centre, Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach

The Pastry Emporium
While it may be a slightly fancier version of the good old fashioned bakery, it is still in fact, a place where goods are baked and some of the most incredible goods you’ve ever tasted at that. Now with two convenient locations, The Pastry Emporium creates magical, almost other worldly cakes and desserts while also whipping up a croissant you would probably die for. They also do the breads and the coffees and if you moved in there, we wouldn’t judge you. Please invite us over.
Where: Shop 2, 90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters and 4/28 Campbell St, Bundall

Bam Bam Bakehouse
Needing no introduction is Mermaid’s Bam Bam Bakehouse – creators of the most original baked treats the Gold Coast has ever seen and the absolute love of our lives if we’re honest. Known for creations such as Gaytime Eclairs and Ink Gin Choux Bomb, it’s another level of baked treat magic and everything tastes more delicious than you could possibly imagine.
Where: 2519 – 2521 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Paddock Bakery
Hidden amidst a little garden oasis is Paddock Bakery, a café/garden wonderland in Miami also cranking out insane baked goods. How about a Milo Milkshake donut? Yah. Wagon Wheel donuts are also a thing and baby Nutella bots are the real deal. The donut selection changes all the time but there is always something available to blow your dessert loving mind. And your other minds.
Where: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami

Fosters Bakery
A Nobby’s institution, Fosters has been serving up the baked goods dreams are made of, for many a year. Their pies are some of the best around and we may have been known to indulge for breakfast, lunch and dinner many days running. Classic pastries from Fosters are also always a good idea, there’s vanilla slice, custard tarts and donuts and you should absolutely get one of everything.
Where: 1/2227 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Burleigh Baker
For the love of sourdough, this place is the goods. We are quite partial to the olive sourdough, because olives are life but there are many varieties, all of which are the perfect addition to a warming soup and/or lathered with butter. Oh and all their sourdough is of the organic and artisan varieties AND they do incredible cakes like a Raspberry and Pistachio with honey frosting and honey caramel drizzle. Two please.
Where: 13/50 James Street, Burleigh Heads

Custard Canteen

Fuel Bakehouse
So many delicious things come out of this delightful place you guys. Some of the best doughnuts around, tasty delicious pies that are quite large and very filling, croissants, danishes, all of the very best things. There are two Fuel Bakehouse locations so you need not worry about missing out. And you absolutely don’t want to miss out.
Where: 44 Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Waters and 39-45 Tweest Coast Rd, Cabarita 

Coolangatta Pie Shop
Pies are one of Gods greatest gifts to all of us, particularly at 3am after a night of tearing up the dance floor. Conveniently, the iconic Coolangatta Pie Shop is open 24 hours a day on the weekend for literally all of your late night/early morning baked good needs. It’s one of lifes greatest luxuries right on our doorstep. There’s also tasty sweet treats and we recommend the Macadamia Slice thingo because caramel.
Where: 50 Griffith St, Coolangatta

Gumnut Café/Bakery
Oh god there are donuts and they are A M A Z I N G. Cream filled and caramel topped, we have died and gone to donut heaven. Nothing else matters. Except there are also pies and they are so good and everything is made fresh on the premises and by people who care that you are happy with their baked goods. Which you will be. Did you know Mudgeeraba is also a heavenly, away-from-the-city paradise you should definitely visit ASAP? Yep.
Where: 25 Swan Lane, Mudgeeraba

Horner’s of Sorrento
Horner’s was born from a passion for the smell of freshly baked bread and that is something we can get behind. Their particular type of baked magic comes in the form of artisan breads, from pull aparts to French sticks, and some of the very best sweet treats around. We’re particularly partial to the Melting Moments and the Lemon Meringue Pie, oh yes. We could eat all of these things all of the days.
Where: Sorrento Shopping Centre, 20 Bundall Road, Bundall 

Flour of Life
People of the plants rejoice, these amazing folks make all the baked goods without all the gluten, meat, dairy and egg bits. That’s right friends, it’s a vegan bakery with all the incredible treats you’ve come to know and love. Think donuts, cakes, slices, pies, all the most delicious things. We have it on good authority (ours) that the donuts are absolutely next level and pretty as an Insta picture too.
Where: 22-32 Siganto Drive, Helensvale

Words by Kirra Smith

Fuel Bakehouse

10 epic Gold Coast burger spots

Easy Street Diner (image supplied)
Easy Street Diner (image supplied)

Among all of the possible naughty delicious food options out there in the wide world, burgers have to be the very pinnacle of quick and easy, yet damn tasty, chow options. This said, were you aware that Friday 28th May is observed as International Burger Day around the globe? Meaning, yes, you guessed it, you are fully expected to get out there and oblige the necessity to eat all the delicious burgers that you come across. No exceptions!

Now you can swing by any old drive-through in your car and grab a burger with the most minimal fuss, but we think you deserve better. That’s why we’re giving you a rundown on what we consider to be 10 of the best places on the Gold Coast for you to celebrate this very important food day.

Prepare to loosen those belts people!

Easy Street Diner
Blink and you might miss this beauty along the Gold Coast Hwy, so keep your eye peeled! What these guys knock out of their kitchen will have you coming back time after time. Menu items such as Jalapeño Bites, Pickle Poppers and their infamous Pork Belly Nuggets are absolute crowd-pleasers. But who are we to take the shine off their fantastic lineup of burgers, Give us the Royale with Cheese all the way!
Where: 12/2563 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Zepickle (image supplied)

Ze Pickle
This Burleigh Heads corner spot is the very essence of lazy, street-side eating. Swing in when you clock off on Friday, grab one of their 12 craft beers on tap — and relax. Next, seize a menu and struggle to decide which of the next-level burgers you’re set on. The imagination that goes into their selection of burgers is top-notch, with examples like the Baja Fish Taco Burger and Southern Hick Chicken Burger; you’ll not just be wowed with flavour but the menu names also!
Where: 37 Connor Street, Burleigh Heads

Burger Shack
Palm Beach’s evolution into total-blown foodie nirvana is only helped along by this popular pull-up and eat spot. These guys haven’t been around for long but what they are cooking up is first-rate. The menu separates your proteins out and even has a sweet selection of vegan burgers that will keep your plant-based friends happy. Add into the mix, regular live music and you have the southern Gold Coast’s answer to celebrate this Friday.
Where: 1089 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Brooklyn Depot
Combining New York swagger and laid-back Aussie persona, the resulting Brooklyn Depot is a prime place to grab a cocktail or two and of course, a burger (or two). How does The Dubya BBQ Brisket Burger with Juicy beef brisket, depot slaw, onion rings, two mozzarella sticks, sweet baby rays BBQ sauce and Honey mustard sauce sound? Or perhaps the Flip the Bird with pulled BBQ chicken, crispy bacon, depot slaw, guacamole, and sweet BBQ sauce is more your thing? Either way, with vegetarian and vegan options galore, you’re spoilt for choice!
Where: 10 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise

Eddie's Grub House (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)
Eddie's Grub House (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)

Eddie’s Grub House
This rock and roll infused dive bar delivers teenage kicks and appealing burger action unapologetically to Coolangatta. As far south as you can go before stepping over the street and into New South Wales, the venue is a ‘pull up a stool and sink a few bevvies’ kind of hangout. Ideal if you find yourself needing a refreshment between happenings at Cooly Rocks On. In the realm of burgers, these guys bring out revolving weekly specials with all the best music genre names you can think of. Delicious and always a good time. We strongly suggest you swing by Eddie’s and let your hair down!
Where: 171 Griffith Street, Coolangatta 

Crispy skinned fried chicken has never looked so good, and we don’t mind telling the Colonel so if ever we bumped into him. These guys don’t have a venue as such, only delivering to the lucky folks on the northern end of the GC and particularly the Southport area. Heck, get home on Friday and don’t even think about leaving the house then! If you haven’t come across them, their signature Sweet-and-sour pickles, cheese and special Cluccboi sauce are something to behold! Find them on Ubereats, Doordash, and Menulog.
Where: Undisclosed, Southport

Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar (image supplied)
Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar (image supplied)

Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar
If you happen to bring your very best hunger game with you to Longboards, you won’t be disappointed. Seventeen handcrafted burgers on offer, including Beach Cheeseburger, the Vegetarian G-Banger, and the Mona Lisa, which arrives towering with wagyu beef patty, crispy bacon, melted brie cheese, garlic-butter mushrooms, caramelised onion, lettuce, tomato, and truffle aioli. Over the top? Maybe just a bit – but we aren’t judging! One of the best burger joints on the Gold Coast? Absolutely!
Where: Q1 Resort & Spa, Corner of Hamilton Avenue &, Northcliffe Terrace, Surfers Paradise

Rita’s Burgers
Not technically Gold Coast, but those south of the border – or those willing to drive – look no further than Rita’s. Cabarita is slowly becoming a place to hit upon the weekends, and we see Rita’s Burgers as an instrumental piece of that. If you’re a truffle fan, grab The Truff Nut with 120g grass fed beef patty, melted Swiss cheeses, smoked bacon jam, glazed balsamic mushrooms, local truffle aioli, oak leaf lettuce, served in a fresh sesame seed bun. There’s also plant-based and grom burgers thrown in there for good measure.
Where: 2/34 Tweed Coast Road, Cabarita Beach

Hard Rock Cafe burger (image supplied)
Hard Rock Cafe burger (image supplied)

Hard Rock Café
Let’s face it, you’re always ensured a fun time whenever you set foot into one of the many Hard Rock Cafes around the world. If the nostalgic Americana fit-outs and live music don’t do it for you, then a multi-award-winning stacked menu with all of your favourites on there probably will. Taking their burger game to the next level, these guys have a completely devoted section to steak burgers. Yes, you read that correctly. We suggest you hop to it, pull up a pew on the bacony overlooking the bustling Cavill Avenue below.
Where: Corner of Cavill Ave & Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

When you have burgers on the brain and your eyes firmly on the fries, Pattysmith’s various outlets across the Gold Coast have got you comfortably catered for. As self-confessed ‘masters of the perfect patty’ and the graceful art of ensuring your food gets to you in picture-perfect condition, come Friday knock-off, we suggest you place an order for delivery with these guys and let them take care of the rest.
Where: Labrador, Merrimac, Miami, Palm Beach, Upper Coomera.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Patty Smiths (image supplied)
Patty Smiths (image supplied)
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