Hometown Diner

22 10 2008
  • 1040 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 372-5535
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Hometown Diner on Pennsylvania near I-474 in Lansing

Hometown Diner on Pennsylvania near I-496 in Lansing

J took one more day off after we got back in Michigan just so we could relax after a long weekend of traveling.  We were woke up fairly early for us by a phone call and neither of us could fall back asleep.  After going to the Potter Park Zoo during the “Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown Event” we kept saying we needed to walk the River Trail.  We noticed it from the zoo, but we never made an effort to actually go for a walk.  Since we had such a bad weekend eating (I had four pizzas), I suggested we go for a walk.  Since it was about lunch time, J said we should eat first.

I had been reading reviews about a diner on Pennsylvania near the Zoo so that’s where I decided to to go for lunch.

The Hometown Diner sits on Pennsylvania across from the BWL in an old Sparty’s Coney Island.  It shares a building and parking lot with a Mexican grocery store.  We parked near the back of the lot and walked in to find a small diner with seating for just over a hundred.  We showed ourselves to a table in the middle of the room.  The layout is pretty common for small diners.  Booths line the walls with tables in the middle.  There’s a lunch counter near the front of the space and the kitchen is open so you can see the cook preparing your meal.  Read the rest of this entry »





Blue’s Cafe – Kankakee, IL

3 10 2008
  • 1190 W. Station St.
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 933-5315
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Blues Cafe on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

Blue's Cafe on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

If you watch ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson, Blue’s Cafe is a place you may actually heard of.  A few weeks ago (September 18 to be exact) Barbara Pinto showed up in Kankakee to do a Wall Street vs. Main St. story.  Blue’s Cafe was one of the places she visited to get the “regular Joe” insight into the financial crisis.

Blue’s Cafe is a spot that many people in the area automatically suggest when I ask for a local restaurant.  According to my brother, the food is ok, but the pie is to die for.  As I was waiting with my family for my niece to be born, my aunt mentioned she was hungry and hadn’t eaten all day.  Since I’m always hungry, I offered to go to “lupper” (the meal between lunch and supper) with her.  Since everybody always suggests it, I said “How about Blue’s?”

Blue’s Cafe is located on Station Street not far from the hospital.  It’s a very plain building with an old sign out front adorned with an old Pepsi logo and the words “Blue’s Cafe.”  Since we got there at such a wierd time, the dining room was fairly empty.  There are two dining rooms that probably used to be the smoking and non-smoking section before Illinois got smart and banned smoking in public places.  There’s also a lunch counter near the kitchen in the first dining room. Read the rest of this entry »





Delhi Cafe

8 09 2008
  • 4625 Willoughby Rd.
  • Holt, MI 48842
  • (517) 694-8655
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The Delhi Cafe on Willoughby Road in Holt.

The Delhi Cafe on Willoughby Road in Holt.

Finally!  Back in Michigan.  I got home late last night and slept in to almost lunch time.  My girlfriend needed to run to the dry cleaner to drop off my suit and she waited for me to get up so we could grab something for lunch.  She suggested hitting a drive thru, but I was tired of fast food.  I suggested we check out that cafe we saw on Willoughby Road while driving home from East Lansing one night.

The Delhi Cafe is part of a strip mall about half a mile of Cedar Street in Holt.  There’s not much else there, but the Cafe takes up a good chunk of the space.  The sign out front claims the cafe has some Greek influence.  We didn’t notice that on the way in, but after looking at the menu, it makes sense.  It’s not a Greek menu, but there is definitely some Greek inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »





Huck Finn Restaurant – Oak Lawn

9 08 2008
  • 10501 S. Cicero Ave.
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708 ) 499-1112
  • Website
  • Menu

One of three Huck Finn Restaurants in the Chicagoland Area

I have got this strange fascination with 24 hour diners.  When we go to my girlfriend’s parents house, we leave Lansing when she gets off work around midnight.  That puts us in the Chicago area around 2:00 AM CST.  This night was no different.  We made it to town just after 2:00.  Like the lazy college kids we aren’t, we piled all of our dirty clothes into her car and took over her parents laundry room.  Because we had plans Saturday afternoon, J wanted to get a couple loads done before we went to bed.  We put in a load of whites and realized we were both hungry.  Even though Huck Finn has been there since she was in high school, she never ate there.  Since it’s only a few blocks away, we hoped back in the car and went for breakfast.

Huck Finn is a chain of three restaurants in the Chicago area.  They’re open 24/7 and they work on the unique model of being not only a restaurant, but a donut and ice cream shop too.  The parking lot was packed even though it was 2:30 in the AM.  We headed inside and a hostess showed us to a booth along the back wall.  We just seem to not have much luck with waiters in Chicago area 24/7 places.  We had an absolutely disasters meal at White Palace Grill (review HERE) in the south Loop and this one started out that way.  Fortunately, the waiter recovered and everything turned out ok.  Read the rest of this entry »





Mike’s Village Restaurant

30 07 2008
  • 115 N. Bridge St.
  • Dimondale, MI 48821
  • (517) 646-6804
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Mikes Village Restaurant in downtown Dimondale

Mike's Village Restaurant in downtown Dimondale

I’m not sure how I first heard about Mike’s.  I’m pretty sure I saw a recommendation posted a couple years ago on Chowhound.  When we were at the farmer’s market at the State Capitol last week, I heard a lady advertising the Dimondale Farmer’s Market.  When someone asked her where it was, she said, “Across from the restaurant.  You know, Mike’s.”  From that comment, it sounded like it’s one of those places that everyone in the area knows about. 

We made our weekly trip to Horrock’s and Wal-Mart.  Like most of the trips, it was around lunchtime.  Dimondale is sort of on the way home so we started heading that way.  I didn’t grab an address, but I told my girlfriend to put the city center of Dimondal in the GPS.  I had a sneaking suspicion that it would get us to the right place.  Once we turned on Bridge St., we actually found quite a few restaurants which was a little surprising for such a small town.

Mike’s Village Restaurant wasn’t quite what I was expecting.  What I was expecting was a fairly good size family restaurant.  What we found was a somewhat small family diner.  The green awning out front let us know we were in the right place.  Mike’s is probably a turn of the century store front.  The entry way is up a couple steps and has an old, heavy, wooden door that pushes in to open. I tried to pull and couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t open.  Once I figured it out, I went in first and went to pass the weight of the door back to my girlfriend.  Instead, it closed in a hurry and almost smashed her.  Neither of us were expecting that and now I feel bad.  Read the rest of this entry »





Theio’s Restaurant

16 06 2008
  • 2650 E. Michigan Ave.Theio's
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 487-3955
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

I love 24-hour restaurants.  My dad and a buddy of mine came to town for the NASCAR races at Michigan International Speedway.  My buddy had to work until 5:00 (CST) back home in Illinois, so they got a pretty late start to the three and half hour drive.  After getting a little lost getting to my place, they were both pretty hungry.  It was after 10:00 (EST now) and neither had eaten dinner.  I figured the choices were either fast food or a diner.  So, of course, I chose the diner.

I had drove by Theio’s a few times, but never stopped.  I knew at some point it would make a great late night stop.  We drove through downtown East Lansing first to see if there was a pizza-by-the slice place, but when we couldn’t find one, we headed back down Michigan.  It looked like there were a lot of cars in the parking lot, but most of them must have been at the bar next door.  Read the rest of this entry »





Dalmation Firehouse Grill

21 05 2008
  • 1107 S. Washington Ave.Dalmation Firehouse Grill
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 485-7877
  • No Known Website
  • No Menu Online

I got an e-mail from a reader over the weekend that suggested I try the Dalmation Firehouse Grill on my quest for the perfect burger.  Lance, the reader, called Dalmation’s burgers the “best in Lansing” and “amazing.”  With an endoresment like that, how could I pass?

Dalmation Firehouse Grill is located in REO Town next to the Cadillac Club.  It’s a small diner with a lunch counter and only six tables.  We stopped in for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon and the place was about half full.  The waitress came over for drink orders while we looked over the menu.  They’re only open for breakfast and lunch.  They switch over to the lunch menu at 11 am.  The waitress came back with our Pepsi’s and we were ready to order.

My girlfriend went with the BLT.  The sandwich came piled with bacon, lettuce and a few slices of tomato on white toast with a light spreading of mayo.  The lunch baskets came with fries, a pickle spear and a brownie bite.  While her sandwich was filling, her complaint was the same as mine on the burger.  The bacon was really chewey and not very crispy.  A couple hours later, she said her stomach was rumbling.  She really prefers her bacon way overdone and crispy.  The structure of the sandwich was great as you really got a lot for your money and had the bacon been a little crispier, this would have been the perfect BLT.  The bread was buttered when it was toasted and she said that gave the sandwich even more flavor.  The fries were the out of the bag type and they mixed shoestring and crinkle cut fries for some reason.  They were crispy and cooked perfectly.  The brownie bite was a great addition to the meal for desert.  It wasn’t very big, but the flavor was huge.  It was very gooey, fudgy, and even had chocolate chips in it.

Since the burger was the reason we chose Dalmation Firehouse for lunch, that’s what I had to get.  They had a few different kinds of burgers on their menu, but I chose the bacon cheeseburger.  I finally got what I was looking for in flavor of the meat.  It was a classic diner burger.  It was juicy and cooked perfectly on the flattop.  The cheese was melted almost into the burger and it was topped with a ton of bacon.  Like I stated early, the bacon was really chewey.  The flavor of it was good, but it was hard to eat.  After biting into the sandwich, I had to rip the bacon with my teeth.  I really liked that they put an extra effort into the bun.  It wasn’t just the usual seasame seed bun.  This bun was soft and flaky.  They buttered the bottom of it then toasted it on the grill as well.  It makes for an extra layer of flavor that most places skip on.

The Dalmation Firehouse Grill is truly a neighborhood diner.  The small space makes it cozy and the staff seemed to know most of the people in there at the time.  A couple of the waitresses were sitting at the counter talking to a customer and our waitress was carrying on a conversation with two soldiers who were sitting behind us.  The grill is out in the open so you can watch you meal being cooked.  Thank you, Lance, for the recommendation.  I’m not sure I would have found this place on my own.  Is it the best burger in Lansing?  Well, it’s probably the best I had so far.  The individual components of the burger have by far been the best.  The bacon knocks off a lot of points, but the meat, cheese, and bun combo was incredibly tasty.