Easy Copycat Diner Style Meatloaf (Cap City Recipe)

Easy Copycat Diner Style Meatloaf (Cap City Recipe)

My copycat diner style meatloaf is slow roasted and glazed with a sweet barbecue sauce and melts in your mouth. It is delicious comfort food and a classic dish no one can say no to!


Two slices of copycat diner meatloaf on a bed of mashed potatoes

Serve it with my easy make ahead mashed potatoes and roasted Provencal vegetables and you’ve got the perfect dinner.

Have you ever had the meatloaf at Cap City Diner?

It’s one of the best meatloaf recipes and my husband’s favorite. Now, I can make it at home.

Cameron Mitchell is a restaurateur who is well known in the Midwest for his local diner, steakhouses, delicatessens and other popular restaurants.

We enjoy having dinner at Cap City Diner which is right in our backyard of Dublin, Ohio.

I remember seeing this recipe for his famous diner-style meatloaf printed in our local paper and I have made it at home many times.

This is good food and it’s become a family favorite!

There’s nothing like baking a delicious meatloaf when you’re having the family over for dinner.

Because it can take a while to prepare, this is the perfect recipe to make the day before. Just store it in your refrigerator overnight. You can even freeze it and bake it later.

The list of ingredients include standard pantry staples plus easy to find items at the grocery store.

Bowl of ingredients to make meatloaf

Ingredients to make Diner Style Meatloaf

While it’s a long list of ingredients, everything you need is easy to find.

For the homemade bbq sauce you’ll combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, molasses, brown sugar, cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, orange juice, honey, salt and pepper.

I’ve been known to double the recipe because it’s delicious over mashed potatoes.

While homemade tastes best, if time is short, pick up a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce.

To make the meatloaf you’ll need shiitake mushrooms, onion, fresh herbs, minced garlic, heavy cream and a mixture of lean ground beef, pork and veal.

The ingredients are easily interchangeable. If you can’t find shiitake mushrooms use button mushrooms. It helps give this dish a meaty umami flavor.

Ground veal not available at your grocery store? Then pick up a 2-pound pack of beef and pork meatloaf mix.

If you’d prefer dried herbs over fresh, a pinch will do.

Bowl of uncooked meatloaf with pan of barbecue sauce below

Tips on how to make meatloaf juicy

Don’t over mix your ingredients. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until they are just mixed together. No one likes a lumpy loaf.

Add in moisture. By using ground beef that is 15 percent fat you add flavor. Including mushrooms in your mix is another fantastic way to ensure juicy meatloaf.

Cover your meatloaf. Shape meat mixture into a loaf pan can use a piece of aluminum foil to cover while baking.

Rest the meatloaf. After the meatloaf has finished baking you’ll want to give it about 10 minutes time to rest to help redistribute the juices.

Overhead view of uncooked meatloaf in pan

Why is my meatloaf falling apart?

Don’t forget the dry bread crumbs and large eggs. These two ingredients keep a meatloaf together.

Even the chopped mushrooms bind the ingredients and keep your meatloaf juicy and moist.

Close up view of cooked meatloaf with barbecue sauce

How will I know the copycat diner meatloaf is done?

Use a meat thermometer. You’ll want to bake the meatloaf until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Delicious side dishes to serve alongside

Two slices of copycat diner meatloaf on a bed of mashed potatoes

Copycat Diner Meatloaf

Ali Randall
My Copycat Diner Meatloaf recipe is glazed with a sweet barbecue sauce and is the ideal comfort food. This is a delicious meal no one can say no to!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Rest Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8


Barbecue Sauce: 

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons molasses
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice


  • 2 cups shitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons diced white onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 ounces of ground veal
  • 10 ounces ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


To make the barbecue sauce:

  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. After combined, simmer for 20 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool.

To make meatloaf:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees and use cooking spray on the loaf pan.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion and mushrooms in oil with a wooden spoon until tender. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine lean meat, egg, bread crumbs, herbs, garlic and cream. Mix well. Add mushroom and onion mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of the prepared barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Shape the meat mixture firmly into loaf pan. Cover it with foil and for best results, bake 60 to 75 minutes.
  • Use an instant meat thermometer in the center of the loaf and remove from the oven when an internal temperature registers 160 degrees.
  • Remove the foil and drain any grease in the bottom of the loaf pan with a baster.
  • Coat with the top of the meatloaf with barbecue sauce. Bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Cut the meatloaf into slices and serve with the barbecue sauce.
Keyword DIner Style Meatloaf

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