Every few weeks, my Mom and I go out to eat on Sunday afternoon. And because by noon on Sunday she's ready for lunch but I'm usually ready for breakfast, we go to a lot of diners (breakfast all day! Yay!). How to tell if it's a diner and not a restaurant: It has a counter with stools, in addition to table seating. You have to pay at the cashier's stand, not pay your waitress. Oh yeah, and they've gotta serve breakfast all day. A few that we've visited so far:
1. Parkway Diner. Also known as Brothers Diner; also known as Friends Diner. This place evidently changes hands quite a bit. This is probably our favorite. Eggs Benedict is one of the specials quite often, and it is here that I discovered the Monte Cristo sandwich. (Oh! Monte Cristo, I love you!) Service is fast; soda (and coffee, of course) refills are free, and prices are reasonable. We go here a lot.
2. Pete's Legacy Diner. Home of the absolutely fantastic-looking desserts - they've got the best display case in town. One of these days we're going to have to go and have dessert for lunch, because those high-rise meringue pies look really, really good. Good service, good prices - this place is always packed. Our second-favorite.
3. Take-a-Break - This is right next to Pete's. Duelling diners! Prices are good, but they were a little skimpy with the pastrami on my Reuben. For shame! Still, service was good and the place is clean, and they give free soda refills.
4. The Spot - This place is popular, but I'm not really sure why. It's huge and extremely noisy, and the service was just so-so, and the prices were on the high side for a diner.
5. The Skylark - Jeez, I remember going here with my friends after parties when I was a teenager. Service is kind of hit-or-miss and the booths are kind of cramped, but the food's pretty good. Plus, there's that nostalgia factor.
6. Red Robin - This is a local landmark. I'm not really sure why; we went at a usually busy time (Sunday-after-church time), and the place was deserted, they were out of the first thing I ordered, service was crappy, and the prices weren't great. Scratch this one off the list.
7. Park Diner - Another local landmark. Service was super-fast, the food was good, and the view (it's right on the river) was spectacular, but the prices were high. I guess you're paying for the view. Oh, and I did see my state Senator while we were there. Maybe that's included in the price.
8. Plaza Diner - This is a new one, located in a former Hooters restaurant. It's extremely popular (I snagged the last parking space in the large lot), but there wasn't much of a wait for a table. It's not a true diner, because there's no counter-with-stools, but the prices and the food are good. Soda refills are free. The tables/booths are kind of scrunched together, and it was pretty loud, so it's not really a place to go if you want to hang out and relax. Still, the pancake sandwich is worth coming back for.
9. Blue Dolphin - Pricey, and they stop serving breakfast at 12:30 on Sunday (boo! Hissssss!).
We probably won't go back.
So! That's where we've been so far. This area is pretty diner-heavy, so we've got a bunch to try out before we have to start driving very far. And right now I'm slavering over the thought of a pancake sandwich, or Eggs Benedict, or a Monte Cristo .............