The Delta Diner is located in northwestern Wisconsin in a small town called Delta. It is a rebuilt 1940’s Silk City Diner that opened in 2003 and gets quite a crowd of locals and destination eaters, especially in the summer. It doesn’t have a printed menu but rather uses the old fashioned menu boards which are explained by your server. Last year they went to a no tipping policy and instead a 20% service charge is added to your check which is used to allow both back and front house staff to make a living wage. They were ahead of the curve in implementing this policy and for those concerned about the quality of service – there is no need to.
All the staff are friendly and helpful and genuinely glad you’re there to partake of their culinary treats. They serve the same menu all day, every day, except for Mondays when it is burgers only (made with fresh ground beef). They also have an in-house baker, Krista (When Pigs Fly) whose gorgeous pies temp the already full guests to eat just a bit more, but I saw many simply get their pie to go. They also offer hand scooped milk shakes or you can add that ice cream to your pie. We were in the area and so were lucky enough to visit a number of times over several days, thus I offer you pictures of a number of their items. Blue Plate specials vary each day and the omelette variety will also change throughout the day. It’s a beautiful area with lots of lakes, trees, camping and clean air. Just drive about 55 miles due east of Duluth, Minnesota and you’ll find it! (<www.deltadiner.com>)
When you get your booth or counter seat, the greeter will seat you at a place already set up with ice water. You’ll get some tasty pie crust pieces dusted with cinnamon sugar to snack on while you wait for your drinks and figure out what you want to eat. We were lucky to be there while they were honoring Wisconsin dairy farmers for Dairy month and everyone got a free scoop of ice cream.
We tried the Lucky Denny which is a double order of hashbrowns covered with sauteed onions and peppers and then topped with 2 eggs and served with toast. I liked it with a touch of the Sriracha sauce added to give a little kick and my over-easy eggs on the side.
The Pedro’s Mexican Benny is their version of eggs benedict with a nice moist cornbread covered with a chili sausage gravy and topped with 2 eggs. It is served with toast which is especially helpful in mopping up the last bits of sauce.
The Deli sandwich is turkey, bacon and cheese with lettuce, tomatoes, onion and chipotle mayo. The bread is griddle toasted to give it a nice crunch and the sandwich heated enough to slightly melt the cheese. It is a mess to eat, but what a fun way to get messy. It comes with French fries which are of the coated variety and so they do stay quite crisp.
The Forager bowl is made up of what a local person can find in the area that season. At this time it had herbs, fiddlehead ferns supplemented with mushrooms, wild rice and a black pepper cream sauce.
The special one day was the Mexican omelette, which is filled with ground beef, flour tortilla and corn and covered with a tomatillo sauce and served with toast. If they offer it on a day you visit, don’t miss it!
If you have to wait for a seat or if you want to take a souvenir with you, be sure to visit the Diner Store next door. They also sell baked goods, Jalapena Nina’s Spicy Pickled Garlic (made by one of the owners, Nina Bucher) and drinks and have lots of tables outside complete with games to make your wait easy.
The Monday burgers are ground fresh that day and served on a bun made that morning. There are several variations of which I chose the Diner burger, served with a ton of grilled onions, cheddar cheese and chipotle mayo. They are drippy with a hint of bacon flavor in the meat, which stays nicely soft and cooked a perfect medium rare for me. You can order fries, onion rings or fried mac and cheese to go with them or just chow down on the burger and nice crisp pickle.