Triple XXX Family Restaurant – West Lafayette, IN

1 10 2009
  • 2 N. Salisbury Street
  • West Lafayette, IN 47906
  • (765) 743-5373
  • Website
  • Menu
Triple XXX Family Restaurant on Salisbury Street in West Lafayette, IN

Triple XXX Family Restaurant on Salisbury Street in West Lafayette, IN

If you’ve figured out J and I, it should come as no surprise that we chose to take a honeymoon that revolves around food. After the wedding, we loaded up the car and headed to East Tennessee. It was too far to make in one night, so we decided to stop in Louisville for the night. Since we were in no hurry, the first stop on our culinary excursion was in West Lafayette, IN at a place we saw on Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dives.

The Triple XXX Family Restaurant is on the hill in West Lafayette just down the street from Purdue University. It’s a 24 hour place that serves good, cheap grub for those late “study breaks.” It’s been so long since I saw the segment on Triple D and the building we found was not what I was expecting for some reason.

Triple XXX (named after the Root Beer brand they serve) is an old drive in on the corner of State & Salisbury. The car stalls have turned into parking and the only business they do is inside. The building itself is not huge, but it’s bigger than you think. There are no tables, only lunch counters. They weave around the building so there are a lot more seats than I thought there would be. Read the rest of this entry »





Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket – Willowbrook, IL

2 05 2009
  • 645 Joliet Road
  • Willowbrook, IL 60527
  • (630) 325-0780
  • Website
  • Menu
Dell Rheas Chicken Basket on old Route 66 in Willowbrook, IL

Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket on old Route 66 in Willowbrook, IL

Yup.  We hit another Chicago area Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dive’s place.  J and I are back in Chicago for another weekend trip.  We have tickets to a show in Hammond, IN tonight which isn’t far from her parents house.  Her mom and step-dad had a prior commitment during the day, so J and I were on our own for lunch.  I had been wanting to check out another place we saw on Triple D that was only about 20 minutes from her parents.  After they left for the morning, J and I got going and headed to Willowbrook for lunch.

Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket has been on Joliet Road in Willowbrook for almost 70 years.  Of course, in the early days, Joliet Road was Route 66.  A lot has changed since then.  Interstate 55 is in Dell Rhea’s backyard and the old Mother Road is hidden behind an office park. In fact, J is very familiar with this area.  Her high school speech team used to stay at a Holiday Inn down the road and her grandma was in an area nursing home for a few years yet she had never seen our destination.

It’s not really hard to find and there are signs from IL-83 for the out of towners like us.  The building is a classic Route 66 icon.  There’s a big neon sign out front and the decor hasn’t aged in fifty years.  Parking is a little wierd.  The spots out front are spots that are perpendicular with the building, so you take a sharp 90 degree turn off the road into a spot crossing a lane of traffic in the process. Read the rest of this entry »





Tony’s in Birch Run to be on Triple D?

22 03 2009

Frequent commenter Dan pointed me to an article in the Saginaw News that says Tony’s Restaurant in Birch Run may be featured on my favorite show Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dives.

“They got an overwhelming amount of calls about us being on their show,” said Steve Fritzler, 10-year owner of the restaurant. “You have to get a certain amount of referrals from customers.”

Fritzler said producers contacted him about three months ago and indicated they wanted to tape this summer.

On the day of filming, posted notices will warn patrons not to enter if they don’t want to appear on TV.

A representative from show producer Page Productions of Minneapolis, Minn., would not confirm whether taping would take place.

Tony’s was one of the places I wanted to stop when we took a trip to Frankenmuth last fall, but I wasn’t sure if it was a place my parents would enjoy.  It definitely sounds like a place J and I would enjoy and it’s now getting bumped up to a higher priority on our list of stops.





Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria – Chicago, IL

4 02 2009
  • 8433 S. Pulaski Road
  • Chicago, IL 60652
  • (773) 735-2050
  • Website
  • Menu
Vito & Nicks Pizzeria on Chicagos south side.

Vito & Nick's Pizzeria on Chicago's south side.

When we were home for Thanksgiving, one of the places J’s step-dad recommended we eat was Vito & Nick’s on Chicago’s south side.  We passed and went for ribs instead.  Imagine our surprise when we saw the pizzeria on Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dives earlier this month.

After that airing, we decided on our next trip home, we would check the place out.  It’s not far from J’s parents, so we hit the place up for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon.  J’s mom was off work so she decided to join us.  Vito and Nick’s was a place her parents used to take her, but she hasn’t been there in a number of years and wanted to see if it was the place she remembered.

The Original Vito & Nick’s is located on 84th Place and Pulaski.  There’s another location in Lemont, but we wanted to go to the one in Chicago.  J’s mom said she remembered the place as having a red, white and green awning and that’s what we looked for.  By the time she saw it, I had missed the parking lot, so we had to circle around the neighborhood to get back. Read the rest of this entry »





Soooooo Close

13 01 2009

I almost beat Guy Fieri to a restaurant instead of going after I see it on Diner’s, Drive In’s, and Dive’s.   If you watched Triple D last night, you saw a pizza joint on Chicago’s south side called Vito & Nick’s.  When J and I were home for Thanksgiving, Vito & Nick’s was one of the places J’s step-dad suggested.  We chose BBQ instead and went to The Pit Rib House (review HERE) in Hickory Hills.  Now, when we go home in February, we’ll follow Guy again and go check out Vito & Nick’s….





White Palace Grill – Chicago

23 06 2008
  • White Palace Grill1159 S. Canal St.
  • Chicago, IL 60607
  • (312) 939-7167
  • Website (not working)
  • Menu

Guy Fieri let me down.  That’s painful to say out loud.  My girlfriend and I first heard of the White Palace Grill in downtown Chicago on an episode of Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives about 24 hour diners.  I was working in Chicago this past weekend and since my girlfriend’s parents live in a Chicago suburb, she decided to come with me and take a long weekend.  We left Lansing around midnight on a Thursday night and got to Chicago a little after two a.m.  We took a detour into the city instead of just heading to her parents.  We’ve been to a handful of places featured on Triple D including two others in Chicago and figured if Guy went there, it must be good.  We were wrong.  Really, really wrong.

White Palace Grill is located just south of the Loop on Roosevelt and Canal Streets.  According to a friend of my girlfriend’s, venturing into this neighborhood at this time of night five years ago would have been scary.  It wasn’t quite a walk in the park now, but it wasn’t really bad.  We parked about a half a block from the diner and walked back.  There’s a huge mall with a lot of high end stores right next door.  The scary thing was all the people just loitering in the street and around the restaurant.  We made our way to the front door and someone behind the counter acknowledged us and told us to sit where we want.  There are two dining rooms.  When you first walk in, there’s the traditional diner setting with a counter and a row of booths along the wall.  Keep going back and there’s more of a dining room with tables and booths.  We sat in the front dining room in a booth along the wall.  The menus were already on the table, so we grabbed a couple and started looking over them.  A bus boy came by with water and wiped the table down.  After that, it was quite a while before a waitress noticed us.  This was just the start of possibly the worst service we’ve ever gotten at a diner. Read the rest of this entry »





Weekend Plans

19 06 2008

Posting is going to be light again this weekend.  I’m heading to Chicago Friday to shoot the Barclay’s Churchill Cup rugby at Toyota Park in Bridgeview on Saturday.  My girlfriend took the day off so we can make a long weekend out of it and get to spend some time with our parents.

We’re going to be hitting up a few places in Chicago we’ve been wanting to go.  On the way home, we’re planning on hitting the White Palace Grill on Chicago’s south side.  They were featured on Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives a few months ago.  We’re also planning on hitting one of my favorite dive bars in a small unicorporated part of Iroquois County called L’Erbale.  They stop serving at nine and it’s an hour drive from Chicago, so who knows.  I know this has nothing to do with Mid-Michigan, but I’m going to lump them in the Big Ten Tour section of the blog because both of these places (and anywhere else we go) could be hit up on the way to Champaign (Univeristy of Illinois) or Evanston (Northwestern).  Plus, I just really like reviewing places 🙂

Don’t expect to see much activity here until Sunday night (doubtful) or Monday afternoon (more likely).  In the mean time, don’t forget to check out the REVIEW section of the site to see where I’ve been in Mid-Michigan already





Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger – Ann Arbor

25 05 2008
  • 551 S. Division StBlimpy Burger
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 663-4590
  • Website
  • Menu

Not only is Blimpy Burger the oldest burger joint in Ann Arbor, it’s also one of the most famous places in town.  The humble little shop on the corner of Packard and Division Sts. is voted best burger year after year by a variety of publications and they’ve even been featured on Food Network’s Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives which somehow I missed. 

I was in Ann Arbor the Big Ten Baseball Championships and needed to find lunch before crew call at U of M.  I had heard of Blimpy Burger and thought it would make a good lunch.  Apparently, half of Ann Arbor thought that too.  The line weaved around the tables inside and right to the door.  The building is small. There’s only room for a handful of tables that line two walls and a couple free stand tables next to the counter.  The service is described as cafeteria style.  You actually walk up to a counter where the cook asks you what you want and he cooks it right there in front of you.

Ordering is a tradition in itself at Blimpy Burger and something I thought was going to be really intimidating.  On their website, they give you instructions for ordering and those same instructions are posted in the restaurants.  For the most part, they’re just to keep the line moving.  It starts out simple.   Everyone who’s ordering must order themselves.  You can’t just send Mom up to get food for everyone.  Your first stop in the process is the deep frier.  A fry cook asks if you want anything deep fried.  Your choices are fries (which are steak fries) or vegetables like onion rings or mushrooms.

After you get your fried food, you make your way to the grill.  The cooks actually put on quite a show and this part can be fun to watch.  The cook will first ask what you want.  Adults have to get at least a double and they go all the way to quints (that’s five burger patties) and beyond.  All the meat is fresh.  What they do is take a disher and make little balls out of fresh beef.  The cook puts those balls on the grill then slams them down into patties.  He had probably five or six orders going at one time with all of them being at least triples.  The patties aren’t huge.  Once slamed down, they’re pretty thin, so a triple isn’t as huge as you’d think.

After the cook asks what you want, the next question is “Do you want any grilled items.”  By this, he means bacon, onions, etc.  Don’t say cheese.  Cheese isn’t grilled.  The guy in front of me made that mistake.  I didn’t want anything, so he moved on to buns.  The regular bun comes standard, but they also have choices of onion or Kaiser rolls for an additional charge.  As the burgers are just about done, the cook turns around again and asks if you want cheese.  They have five choices.  I went with cheddar although the bleu cheese option was there.  The burgers cook a little longer then they are passed on to the cashier who finishes the burgers off with condiments.  There’s even a correct way to handle this process.  Wet condiments first then everything else.  I passed altogether as I just wanted to taste the burger.  The cook appreciated that.  He turned around and said most people don’t do that, but they really should.

It took me about a half hour to get through line.  I elected to take my burger to go since the place was packed, but quite a few people were grabbing trays to stay.  Once I got to my destination, I chowed down.  The burger was delicious.  Blimpy Burger is NOT all hype.  They really do have good food.  The triple was about the size of a double most places.  The cheese was melted into the burger and the burgers were so moist they were just falling apart.  I actually had a hard time finishing the burger and fries which almost never happens.  I just got the small order of fries and with the sandwich, the total was just over six dollars.

Blimpy Burger is an absolute must in Ann Arbor.  Make sure you have plenty of time as I imagine it’s always busy like it was the day I was in there.  This place lived up to the hype as a classic burger joint.  Their slogan is “cheaper than food”…..they could also add “better than food” 





Joe’s Gizzard City

7 05 2008
  • 120 W. Main St.Joe's Gizzard City
  • Potterville, MI 48876
  • (517) 645-2120
  • Website
  • Menu

So, I’m sitting at home on a Monday afternoon surfing the Internet while watching the Porn channel for fat people….otherwise known as Food Network.  My favorite show Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives was on.  I wasn’t really paying attention, but my ears perked up when I heard the word “Michigan”  Guy Fieri was at a place called Joe’s Gizzard City somewhere in Michigan.  I kept watching to see if I could catch the name of the town.  They showed a shot of a kid wearing a Michigan State football jersey and I knew it had to be close.  Turns out, Joe’s Gizzard City is in Potterville….about 15 minutes from my place in South Lansing.

My girlfriend and I got up early one morning to do some shopping.  When it came time for lunch, we figured, what the heck….let’s go find Potterville.  We put the address in her Garmin and headed west.  We found Joe’s in the business district of Potterville.  That sounds impressive, but the business district is probably two blocks long.  There were a lot of cars parked in front of Joe’s, but we were able to find a spot.  The inside is definately a dive….and I love dives.  There are two small dining rooms.  One of them is the bar area then there’s a back dining room which is a little larger and has a pool table plus an autographed picture from Guy Fieri.  The room is dimly lit and covered with Potterville signs and memorabilia.  The tables are kind of cramed in there.  We took a table for two that kind of sits between the two dining rooms.  The bar area was full and we weren’t sure if we should go to the back dining room.  The table was small and butted up against a wall, but it kind of added to the charm.

Joe's Gizzard CityThe menu is fantastic.  Joe’s signature dish is obviously the gizzards which are deep fried in their signature batter.  Gizzards just don’t sound good to me, so we went with something else.  I’m going to describe out meals seperately, but in reality, we both ordered something different then gave the other half so we could try more of the menu.  I’m going to start with my girlfriend’s order this time because it’s such an interesting idea.

Joe’s already had deep fried hamburgers on the menu before Guy’s visit.  Guy took it one step further and fried the whole sandwich….bread and all.  Joe’s put the burger on the menu and called it The Triple D Burger.  I’m going to explain this again because if you’re like me, your reading this and shaking your head thinking that can’t be right.  They take their cheeseburger and prepare it like they normally would.  The hamburger patty is cooked then put on the bun with pickles, onions, tomatos and ketchup.  Then they take the whole thing and dip it in their signature batter and deep fry the entire burger.  When the waitress delivered the plate, there was a knife sticking out the top of a golden brown shell that you knew contained the burger.  The thing was huge.  My girlfriend cut it in half and at that point, you can see the layers.  The burger is entombed in the fried batter.  We both took a bite and our eyes just rolled in to the back of our heads.  This burger was “money” (as Guy would say).  She described the batter as sweet and kind of like a dessert batter.  I loved the crunch of the batter and the juiciness of the burger.  I didn’t really want the fixins and I was still able to peel back the bun and crust to get them out and it made for a delicious and very unique offering.  The batter added an incredible contrast to what you normally think of when you get a burger.  The sandwich was also served with fries, but surprisngly, they were nothing spectacular.  Just the regular out of the bag fries, but the sandwich was so good and so big, the fries are really an after thought on the plate…you really don’t even think about them.

I ordered the quarter chicken plate.  The meal came with two pieces of chicken, fries and coleslaw.  They use Joe's Gizzard Citythe same batter for their fried chicken instead of a bread crumb coating, so the crust of the chicken smooth and thin.  Like everything else at Joe’s, the chicken has it’s own uniqueness.  They actually start by boiling the chicken before frying.  The boiling leaves the meat moist and prevents the batter from burning before the chicken is done.  Like the Triple D Burger, the batter on the chicken added a whole range of flavors and textures you don’t normally expect. 

We couldn’t pass up dessert even though both of us were stuffed.  I introduced my girlfriend to deep fried desserts at the Illinois State Fair soon after we started dating.  We went to see Sugarland and Joe Nichols at the grandstand, but made it there early so we could walk around the midway.  There, we found deep fried Snickers, deep fried Twinkies, deep fried pickles, deep fried…etc., etc.  Joe’s had some of those same goodies on their menu.  We went with deep fried oreos for dessert.  Again, same batter they’ve used for everything else.  You get five Oreos to an order and they come sprinkled with powdered sugar.  My girlfriend compared them to corn fritters she used to get at Brown’s Chicken, but chocolatey and better.  The heat actually softened the cookie to take the bite out of them.  I expected a crunch when I bit in, but it wasn’t there.  The cookies were soft and really, really good.  Even feeling like I was about to explode, I couldn’t pass up these cookies.

The waitress seemed a little frazzled.  She was working the bar and the dining room by herself.  It took a while to get drink refills and to take plates away.  She was doing her best, but they probably could have used one more person.  With all that food, our bill was $22 plus tip.  It took a little over an hour to eat, but I did order fried chicken.  I am sooooo glad I happened to have DDD on that day or I probably never would have found Joe’s.  I have friends and family that will love this place.  Joe’s isn’t a fine dining establishment….it’s better.  It’s a dive bar in a small town with incredible and unique food.