Hero’s Welcome General Store, North Hero, VT, 10/19/22

entrance – 3537 US 2, North Hero, VT., 05474

Hero’s Welcome General Store serves sandwiches on wonderful housemade rolls along with having a huge country store of Vermont products.  Other buildings house the bakery and marina – where you can gas up or rent a canoe/kayak.  The main building is over 100 years old and packed with items from wine, cooking supplies, toys, clothing to interesting gift items.  There really was a wide array of items which were fun to browse while you waited for your sandwich to be made.  There were about 3 tables at the front of the place where you could sit and eat with the register and order counter directly to your right as you enter.  We read about it also in the Washington Post article about the Champlain Islands of Vermont.  The sandwich was wonderful and the browsing was good. Continue reading

Wally’s Place Bagel & Deli, South Hero, VT, 10/19/22

building – 260 US 2, South Hero, VT., 05486

Wally’s Place was named for owner Matt Bartle’s grandfather Wally Nieblin, who was a great supporter of the local food shelf/pantry.  It was established to provide a healthy and delicious alternative to current breakfast and lunch restaurant trends.  They bake their own breads and pastries and use locally sourced ingredients.  They are located in a shopping center just off the main highway between Burlington and Montpelier, VT in the small town of South Hero.  When you enter there are a number of counters that hold pastries, breads and refrigerated items.  The menus for breakfast and lunch are hanging above and the coffee bar is at one end of the counters.  Behind the cases is the kitchen that bakes all the bread.  The staff was super friendly and willing to customize.  There are tables inside to eat at but many got items to go.  Everything we tried there was first rate and I’d go back often if I could. Continue reading

Handy’s Lunch, Burlington, 10/18/22

building – 74 Maple St., Burlington, VT., 05401

Earl and Flora Handy opened Handy’s Lunch in 1945, serving breakfast and lunch and selling groceries.  While on vacation in 1958 their son Robert replaced grocery sales with a horseshoe counter which is still there today.  The senior Handy’s were not pleased and Robert became the proprietor until his passing in 1996 when grandson Earl took over.  That third generation still runs the place today, which was featured in the 2017 Cooking Channel’s Cheap Eats program.   It is truly a family operation with Earl’s mom working there until she passed away.   Whether his twins will take over when Earl is done is in question but until then it’s a wonderful place to go, eat and visit with newly made friends.  They are open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch and Earl Handy was working in the place when we stopped by.  Parking is on the street wherever you can find a legal place.  Put this place on your list. Continue reading

Landmark Restaurant at Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield, WI., 10/1/22

exterior – 303 Rittenhouse Ave., Bayfield, WI., 54814

The Landmark Restaurant is in the Queen Anne Victorian home called the Rittenhouse Inn in Bayfield, Wisconsin.  Located on a hill, overlooking Lake Superior it provides a wonderful view of the water and quaint town.  The well-maintained brownstone also houses a bed and breakfast inn, there and in other buildings off-site.  Three rooms on the main floor make up the dining area, kitchen, and the beginning of the cherry staircase that leads to 12 guest rooms upstairs.  The 1890 house was purchased in 1973 by Mary and Jerry Phillips who began running the B & B.  It was expanded in 1985 to add more guestrooms upstairs.   Out back is a dedicated parking lot.  The menu is small and one special was featured the night we were there, but you do have the option of making it a 5 course tasting and choosing from the soup, salad, sorbet, entree, and dessert options, some of which have an upcharge.  Each small room has a different color scheme, with lots of windows to the outside, a fireplace, and various decorations.  The tables come in an assortment of shapes but most are large and are covered with white tablecloths.  They do not have a bar but your server can make cocktails.  The wine list is limited but there are some ‘special’ bottles in the cabinet out front you can additionally choose from.  Service was friendly and fairly efficient. Continue reading

Crooked Lake Ice Cream Company, Hammondsport, NY, 9/23 &24/22

exterior – 35 Shether St., Hammondsport, NY, 14840

Crooked Lake Ice Cream Company is a restaurant that pays tribute to Glenn Curtiss, a bicycle racer and aircraft developer.  A number of their dishes are named for him, striving to evoke the same creativity as his inventions,  and the walls are filled with mementos of his fame and success.  The restaurant has been in Hammondsport over 30 years and is open every day except Tuesday.  They have a long counter with stools as well as tables in two rooms, separated by a low wall and a few stools facing the windows to the street.  They had a makeover about 5 years ago but at least they kept lots of their older decorations however, the place feels new and fresh.  Service was very friendly and helpful and once your order is placed it came out quickly.  They do get a crowd and you pay at the front where people are also getting coffee/muffins to go, so there can be some wait there.  The food was fresh, with quality ingredients and good flavors.  Next trip, though, I’ll have to try their ice cream. Continue reading

Donna’s Restaurant, Corning, NY, 9/22/22

exterior – 58 East Market Street, Corning, NY, 14830

Donna’s Restaurant is a small place in the old downtown of Corning.  Inside you’ll find a fabulous display of Corning Pyrex through the ages and colors mixed in with cat objects, which is owner Donna Robbins’ other passion.  They are open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch with daily specials posted on their Facebook page.  The restaurant opened in its current location in Nov. 2018 after being evicted from their home of 34 years on a corner down the street.  When the building owner decided to re-purpose the building they gave Robbins about a month to vacate and Robbins promised her loyal patrons she would find a new spot.  Robbins had started working at the spot 15 years prior when it was Bacalles Soda Bar and then the Kozy Korner until 1985 when she was able to buy the place and name it after herself.  We grabbed a couple of the stools at the counter but they also have tables.  Everyone was super friendly and the food was good. Continue reading

Penny Cluse Cafe, Burlington, 10/20 & 21/22

building – 169 Cherry St., Burlington, Vermont, 05401

Penny Cluse has been owned and run by husband and wife team Charles Reeves and Holly Cluse for about 25 years.  At the beginning of Oct. they told their staff that they would close by the end of the year – thus I am pushing this article ahead of others in case you have a chance to get there.  It’s a really popular place; our first visit we had to wait about an hour for a table.  It’s in a corner building with the main dining room slightly above street level with a smaller dining area up one more level.  The kitchen is below and you can look in the windows as you walk by on the street.  The couple opened the restaurant in a former Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop in 1998.  He was a culinary arts graduate who always wanted a breakfast and lunch place and thus created this fine place named for his wife’s first dog, Penny. It has since become a Burlington ‘go-to’ spot and has hosted many famous people including Joe Biden, Janet Yellen, Suzanne Vega, and Jake Gyllenhaal to name a few.  The couple does not plan to sell the restaurant or the concept cause it wouldn’t be the same without their presence.  They also owned Lucky Next Door which hasn’t reopened since the pandemic.  The menu offers interesting options and a few daily specials are also available.  Not much time left, so get there if you can. Continue reading

Milkweed Inn, Wetmore, Michigan, 8/5-7/22

lodge building – 15.5 Rd, Wetmore, MI 49895

Milkweed is a small bed and breakfast in the Hiawatha National Forest in the UP of Michigan.  Totally remote, they will pick you up at the nearest convenience store or you can bravely follow them on a 45-minute trek on unpaved roads through the woods.  Chef Iliana Regan, a Michelin-starred chef in Chicago, grew up on a farm and wanted to re-create that environment for small groups, in an off-the-grid culinary experience.  She is joined in this effort by her wife Anna Regan, who provides the sommelier portion of the fine dining experience.  Numerous friends and neighbors support the duo in providing a dreamy vacation during the summer months in a hunting lodge they purchased.  Reservations are in advance through the website (www.milkweedinn.com), where you also reserve lodging that is either glamping tents, a small AirStream or 3 bedrooms in the main house.  Your reservation starts Friday evening with dinner, then continues Sat. with snacks, breakfast, lunch and a huge tasting menu in the evening.  It concludes with breakfast Sunday morning before you start the trek back through the woods. Continue reading

Arnie’s Cafe, Warrenton, OR., 7/31/22

entrance – 269 S. Main, Warrenton, OR., 97146

Arnie’s Cafe is really popular and they don’t even have a webpage.  They have been a part of the Warrenton community for decades and recently owners Crystal and Michael Green (took over in Sept 2014) decided they needed more space and moved to their current location.  It started out as The Sea Breeze and in the late 50s became the Donut Hole and subsequently the Ponderosa.  At the front of the current location is a coffee grinder, that belonged to Mike’s grandmother,  whose wheel has become the logo with Arnie’s written across it. In the move, they brought over lots of kitschy signs that line the walls.  At the hostess station, they have a list for seating.  A coffee bar is at the front end but didn’t seem to get much use yet.  Their plans include a liquor license and expanding their baked goods selection. There were about 7 stools in front of the kitchen window that was in the back of the place.  They have a good-sized parking lot out front and windows looking out to it and the lovely hanging plant baskets,  all along one side. They serve lunch and breakfast with large portions and friendly service. Continue reading

Yolk Restaurant, Manzanita, OR., 7/30/22

exterior – 503 Laneda Ave., Manzanita, OR., 97130

Yolk is a small place serving breakfast (all day) and lunch (beginning at 11:00) in the little town of Manzanita.  They have been in business since 2018 and strive to have your dining experience provide a level of flavor and service that reflects their zest for life. It was a very popular place but takes no reservations so show up early if you don’t want to wait.  Inside there was seating at small tables or a few seats were at the kitchen counter.  There were also stools on two sides of the large bar but they were only for those over 21.  On the patio, there were several additional tables.  The hostess at the entry had a list.  Music was in the background and the vibe was casual and fun with a concrete floor, metal siding on the bar, windows to the outdoors, tile front on the kitchen counter and lots of wood and mirrors.  The service was super friendly and would offer advice as well as joke around.  In addition to the menu, there were daily specials.  It was a good place. Continue reading

The Pines Café, Ironwood, MI, 7/22/22

building – 120 S. Suffolk St., Ironwood, MI, 49938

The Pines Café had been running successfully for about 20 years and underwent a complete renovation in August 2019. Then the wife of the upstairs tenant poured lighter fluid on her husband’s bed and set the place on fire.  Fortunately, no one was hurt and she was sentenced to 11-50 years in prison.  The owners Susan Craumann and Janice Miskovich chose to not shutter the place and instead to rebuild.  A year later, in August 2020 it re-opened.  That’s why you feel the disconnect when the cute front of the place doesn’t match the clean, almost sterile interior.  On the main street of the old town, it is a good-sized place with booths along one wall opposite a long counter and tables in the middle.  They serve breakfast and lunch till 3 every day and have tried to decorate the place with woodsy bric-a-brac.  There are windows to the street and the lighting is turned up.  The only music is what bleeds into the room from the kitchen radio.  Service is friendly and efficient, portions are generous and the food is good.  They take no credit cards, have only a Facebook page, and no website.  It’s worth stopping by. Continue reading

Franny’s Cup and Saucer, Point Arena, CA., 7/8/22

building – 213 Main St., Point Arena, CA, 95468

Franny’s Cup and Saucer is a tiny shop on the main street of Point Arena.  There is no seating inside or out but don’t drive by because it’s filled with wonderful bakery treats.  It was opened in April 2006 by Franny and her mom who is an experienced, professional baker.  Franny bakes too but she also has picked out some trinkets to sell and fill out their small space.  They have sweet and savory baked goods as well as coffee and tea, but all items are to go.  They are open Wed – Sun and accept only cash or check.  If you are in the area, definitely go by.  We sampled a salted caramel pecan brownie and an oatmeal anzac cookie.   The cookie was huge, crisp, thick and filled with oatmeal, raisins and lots of other flavors.  The brownie was very fudgy and moist with nicely roasted pecans on top and inside.  The texture was great as was the flavor.  Can’t wait to go back and try more items. Continue reading

Café Aquatica, Jenner, CA., 7/8/22

building – 10439 Hwy. 1, Jenner, CA, 95450

Café Aquatica is a small place with a counter where one might eat but mostly it’s deck and garden seating outside, all overlooking the water and folks launching canoes.  They serve breakfast and lunch foods in a “coastal American cuisine.”  Featuring lots of local seafood and organic ingredients.  The menu evolves with the owner’s interests.  Currently, the most popular items on the menu are crab rolls, clam chowder and crab and eggs. They have some seasonal specials and coffee.  You order at the inside counter and they give you a buzzer which tells you your food is ready to pick up at another window.    We had a cup of their Pour Over coffee and a crab roll.  It is on a toasted brioche roll filled with Dungeness crab, aioli, celery and arugula which comes with a side of pickles.  The crab was freshly picked on a soft tasty bun with just the right amount of sauce.  A winner.  The pickles were well seasoned and tasty.  It made a fun lunch in a pretty setting. Continue reading

Modern Diner, Pawtucket, RI, 5/26/22

exterior – 364 East Ave., Pawtucket, RI

The Modern Diner was chosen to be the first diner in the nation to be accepted on the National Register for Historic Places.  It is a Sterling Streamliner, manufactured in the late 1930’s and early 40’s and one of 2 still in operation.  They serve breakfast and lunch daily with a ton of specials posted on the walls.    There is a counter with stools and a number of booths for 1 – 4 people.  A back room was added but sitting in the front gives you the real feel of the place.  The curved ceiling and shiny surfaces have the diner feel you’d miss in the addition.  The once silver roof is now red and marked with a “Modern Diner” sign that really makes you want to go in the place.  They do have a parking lot next to it.  Service was friendly and efficient.  I would go again if I’m in the area, not as much for the food as for the ambiance. Continue reading

Pete’s Restaurant, Knoxville, 4/13/22

building – 540 Union Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902

Pete’s Restaurant has been around since 1986 in downtown Knoxville. Owners Pete and Rita Natour serve quality home-cooked food and customer service at breakfast and lunch.  It’s a long place with lots of windows to the street.  The wall is filled with booth seating and a row of small tables is opposite.  The tables are covered with an oilcloth and set with silver wrapped in a paper napkin.  There are also some counter seats in front of the kitchen. Service was totally efficient and friendly.  Pete was in front helping with everything, including cooking, but not too busy to have a friendly word.  It was pleasant place to sit and while the food was fresh and prepared to order it was very ordinary. Continue reading

King’s Sandwich Shop, Durham, 3/30/22

exterior – 701 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701

King’s Sandwich Shop is a family-run business that is an icon in Durham, symbolizing the simplicity of days gone by.  The original shop opened shortly after WWII, but closed in 2007 needing major rehabilitation.  It was bought by the McDermott family in 2009 and re-opened in 2010.  The corner building has limited parking out front but street parking is available.  They serve burgers, hot dogs, lots of other sandwiches,  breakfast, vegetarian hot dogs and fries along with milkshakes at at walk up counter with another window to pick up your food.  They have picnic tables and bathrooms around the side to eat at if you want to stay on site.  Many seemed to take the food to-go.  It is only open for lunch.  The place was a real throw-back and this time the food was good too.  The shake was amazing. A fun stop on your tour of the area. Continue reading

Mosswood Market, Cafe and Bakery, Boonville, CA., 3/14/22

building – 14111 CA-128, Boonville, CA 95415

Mosswood Market is a Cafe and Bakery selling bakery treats, coffee drinks and lunch fare in downtown Boonville.  It is small with some outdoor tables and lots of to-go business.  The sandwiches and wraps are made to order, as are the coffee drinks but the bakery items come straight from the counter to you.  You order at the counter and there is a separate place to pick up flatware and napkins, then they bring the hot food to you.  Music was in the background and many windows to the street provide lots of light for this daytime place.  The market is next door and you can walk through to it – it has the bathroom.  The Cafe’s interior was decorated with photos of cats in Morocco so Frankie and I loved that. Continue reading

Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA., 3/12 &13/22

exterior – 5600 CA-1, Elk, CA 95432

The Harbor House Inn most importantly houses a fine 2 star Michelin restaurant but it was built in 1916 by the Goodyear Lumber Company as a place to entertain and showcase their redwood empire.  It is a lovely place to stay when, especially when you have reservations for dinner there.  I think a 2 night booking is mandated and they have rooms on two levels in the main house and several independent units on the property.  All come with breakfast in the morning, delivered to your room.  There is also an option to have dinner delivered to your room.  I wanted to share our delicious breakfast trays and a few photos of the grounds and wonderful staff. Continue reading

Rollerville Café, Point Arena, CA., 3/12/22

building – 22900 Shoreline Hwy, Point Arena, CA 95468

Rollerville Café is a classic café serving lunch and breakfast in Point Arena, CA.   It opened in 2007 and is adjacent to a Lighthouse Pointe Resort that both claim to be the last stop before going to Hawaii and for fueling up to tour the nearby lighthouse attraction.  The interior is small but there is a patio with additional seating outside.  Some of the well spaced tables have fun salt & pepper sets as decorations.  There was faint music in the background – possible a radio in the kitchen and plenty of light in the room from all the windows.  There were daily specials for breakfast and lunch but serving time seemed to be divided by 11:00 am or noon on the weekend.  Service was friendly and efficient. It’s worth a visit. Continue reading

Clary’s Cafe, Savannah, 3/4/22

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Clary’s Cafe is a good sized place on a street corner with outdoor tables as well as 2 rooms for dining inside.  They even have a parking lot.  They serve breakfast and lunch all day.  It started as a drug store in the 1930’s  and later added a soda shop and now is a traditional diner.  It moved to its present location in the 1940s.  Featured in the book and film version of the novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”,  it was transformed back into Clary’s drugstore.   Today inside you’ll find brick walls, an old wood floor, faux marble tables, music in the background and a stained glass window of Savannah’s Bird Girl.  A hostess greets you outside and directs you to the old pharmacy room that only has tables or the room with a counter that used to be the soda shop.  It is pet-friendly.  Service was efficient and really friendly and the food was good. Continue reading

Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen, Chicago, 2/24/22

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Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen is a huge place with a cafeteria style serving line.  It is a traditional Jewish deli that has been open for more than 75 years.  Going through the line you could tell that many of the customers are regulars that know the servers.  In fact during the pandemic, July 2020, when people were not dining-in, Manny’s alerted people on social media that they were struggling and needed support.  Supporters lined up around the block to order to go and keep the place in business.  They offer the usual meats but also salads and various hot dishes, with a couple specials every day.  They also have a bread and pastry shop which you walk through as you exit. It seems to have survived and is worth a visit if you are in the area. Continue reading

Kasama, Chicago, 2/23/22

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Kasama is a bakery and modern Filipino restaurant located in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago.  They serve breakfast and lunch but started an evening tasting menu last fall.  It is a small place and you place your order at the front, where they also have the pastry counter.  Small tables line the wall on either side with bench seating along the wall and bar stools are on the opposite side in one room.  The other room has the open kitchen.  After you place your order you are assigned a table and they bring the food out to you.  Music is in the background, the tables are small and the wall behind the bench is windows to the street.  They seemed to also do a healthy to-go business.  Everyone was really friendly and the food was great.  I’d love to go back for the evening tasting. Continue reading

Blue Heaven, Key West, 1/29/22

entrance

Blue Heaven is a well known destination in Key West serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – all al fresco.  The very casual spot does not take reservations but has a good sized bar across the street with chairs, tables, music stage and ping-pong table.  Roosters roam through the tables and lots of funky decorations give the place lots of character.  We got there pretty early and still had to wait 45 minutes – a fairly accurate estimate by the greeter –  but it was pleasant across the street and the drinks were actually a $1 cheaper.  They had a stage like the main dining area does but it was not active.  There is a window into the bakery that you could look into going to the bathrooms and also one to the gift shop.  An assortment of umbrellas and canopies help to provide shade in the dining area.  Some canned music was in the background before the band got started. Continue reading

Town Topic Hamburgers, Kansas City, 12/11/21

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Town Topic Hamburgers opened in 1937 at the same location it is today.  Claude Sparks began selling burgers for 5¢ each and 75 years later Town Topic is now part of Kansas City’s history. They are open 24 hours a day(hours may now vary during Covid), 7 days a week and still cook the burgers the same way – with grilled onions and a steamed bun.  They now have added 2 more locations but with more limited hours than the original at 2021 Broadway in downtown.  There are just 12 stools (3 look out to the street and the others face the counter) in the small space, so lots of food is to-go.  Music is in the background and there is a parking lot next door.  The griddle is on one end of the counter and a cooler filled with pies sits in front of you.  They have hand dipped shakes and lots of breakfast items but they out source their pies.  The people were all super friendly and service was quick and efficient.  The breakfast was good and I’d love to be able to try their burger. Continue reading

Story Hill BKC, Milwaukee, 12/3/21

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Story Hill BKC (Bottle, Kitchen, Cocktail/Cup) is a medium sized wine and spirit shop that also serves upper-midwest inspired cuisine in brunch, lunch and dinner formats.   Lunch is a smaller menu but gave us a good idea of what they are capable of producing – and it’s a good pronouncement for those who are around Milwaukee.  There is a small parking lot behind and lots of street parking around this corner spot.  Music is in the background and lots of windows let in much natural light.  On one side of the room is the retail shop with wine, spirits and beers for sale.  You can also purchase a wine to drink with your meal there for a small corkage fee.  The bare blond wood table was nice sized and set with a cloth napkin.  Two daily specials were listed on the menu.  Service was friendly and very helpful. Continue reading

Blue’s Egg, Milwaukee, 12/2/21

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Blues Egg is where the EGG stands for Everyone’s Good Graces.  Opening in 2010 it serves breakfast and lunch with the same attention to dishes that go into fine dining.  They offer standards and a few daily specials.  Known for their fresh hashbrowns that are cooked in butter and offered stuffed with various ingredients.  It’s a large place that can serve 4,000 eggs, 400 pounds of bacon and 700 pounds of hash browns in a busy week.  Inside there is a long bar with stools and a mix of high top and regular height tables.  Music is in the background and a good sized parking lot offers free parking out front. They have a full bar and friendly efficient service. Continue reading

The Silver Skillet, Atlanta, 11/11/21

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The Silver Skillet has been in business since 1956 has been featured in many movies, television shows, magazines and newspapers.  Their homemade lemon ice-box pie was voted one the “5 Best Pies in the the USA” by Life Magazine.   It is a 50’s style diner that serves breakfast all day and is considered an Atlanta landmark.   Inside you’ll find lines of booth seating with a few stools at the counter that look into the kitchen.  Windows to the street are on two sides and memorabilia and items for sale decorate the other walls.  Country music is in the background, acoustic tile makes up the ceiling and old linoleum serves as the floor.   Lots of parking is around the building and inside you are greeted by friendly, helpful staff.  The menu breaks no food barriers but it is well done using quality ingredients.  I was skeptical to go there but it was well worth the visit and if it was closer, I’d go back. Continue reading

Little’s Food Store, Atlanta, 11/9/21

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Little’s Food Store is in the Cabbagetown section of Atlanta and has a grill as well as a small shop for basics.  Right now they are not offering inside dining but there is an open lot next to it that is set with 8 picnic tables.   Located on a really narrow steet, it is a neighborhood staple and when they thought about shutting down due to the costs to fix their kitchen the neighborhood fundraised the money needed.  They also have a 15 year old cat that sits outside and when it needed vet care the community once again rallied.  It opened in 2010 and been serving burgers and selling grocery essentials since that time.  Development in the neighborhood and surrounding areas have brought in more restaurant customers than shoppers and so their shelves have less fresh produce and their hours have them open later and longer.  Their menu has burgers, dogs and sandwiches as well as sides but they do offer breakfast sandwiches.  The place is funky and food was well made using quality ingredients.  Parking is as you can find it. Continue reading

Al’s Breakfast, Minneapolis, 10/10/21

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Al’s Breakfast started in 1950 and has 14 seats at a counter.  They are in the Dinkytown neighborhood and don’t except credit cards.   They don’t have a freezer, microwave or deep fryer because they think meals taste best prepared without them and they don’t have room.  We found the line outside when we arrived and it moved fairly well.  As customers leave someone comes out and invites the number inside that they can now serve.  If your whole party is not there when you reach the door you will be move to the back of the line.  It’s all done in a very pleasant way.  Open everyday, they close at 1:00pm.  It is reported to be the most narrow restaurant in Minneapolis with a width of 10 feet.  It is built in a former alleyway.  Prior to Covid they let waiters line up inside behind stools when it was cold, now only vaccinated are allowed inside.  The food is worth the wait and hassle.  Behind the counter are boxes of yellow cards which are meals already paid for. Continue reading

Rose and Fern, Traverse City, 10/2/21

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Rose and Fern is a small cafe where all food is pre-ordered on their website <roseandferncafe.com> and then you can either pick it up or have it delivered.  There are a couple outdoor tables and chairs but most seemed to take their food elsewhere.  It’s definitely a neighborhood cafe with families gathered outside eating and chatting.  Unfortunately after 3 years they have lost their lease and are hunting for a new location, as they must move by year’s end.  They offer a range of breakfast sandwiches made with quality ingredients and they are good.  They also have coffee, whose beans are roasted in house.  It would be worth tracking down if you’re in the area.   They are super friendly and our sandwich was a great way to start the day. Continue reading

S2S Sugar 2 Salt, Traverse City, 10/1/21

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S 2 S or now Sugar 2 Salt started out as Sunrise to Sunset but when the owners came together they realized it was more sugar to salt as they wanted to serve breakfast.  The menu changes with the seasons and availability.  It is located in the complex that long ago housed a mental health hospital.  They have indoor as well as a large outdoor dining area.  Inside much of the room is taken up by a bar, the front of which is a case for pastries.   A large window to the kitchen serves as a pass through also, where you can see the single chef making and assembling the plates.   It is casual and laid back with lots of signs on the walls and herbs hanging overhead.  The white walls reflect all the sun that comes in the front windows to make it quite well lit.  With a concrete floor it looked like it could get noisy if it was full.  The staff was friendly and helpful. Continue reading

Bubbie’s Bagels, Traverse City, 9/30/21

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Bubbie’s Bagels opened in Feb. 2020  by Sam Brickman who named it for his grandmother who got him interested in cooking even though she never made bagels.  They use an old school technique making the bagels with a sourdough base and fermenting for 2 days before boiling them.  This allows them to a wonderful texture and chew. They have several kinds of bagels and cream cheese to make your sandwich or there are optional fillings of egg, tuna or lox.  You can buy one or quantities.  Masks are required and the number of people in the shop is limited, but it is one of a kind.  The bagels do have a marvelous texture and taste but there was too much cream cheese for me.  If I ever go again I’d have it plain. Continue reading

Swan Street Diner, Buffalo, 9/2/21

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The Swan Street Diner is an example of one of the early Sterling Company diner cars made by a Mass. company from 1936 to 1942.  Swan Street is No. 397 from  1937, featuring mahogany trim, barrel vaulted ceiling and walls of porcelain enamel.  This one was originally in Newark, NY as a diner and assembled onsite from pieces.  Since then it has had 3 owners and in 2013 Larkin Development Group purchased it, took it to Akron, Ohio and then to Buffalo for full restoration.  The interior enamel panels, bar stools and wood trim are original and the rest was fabricated onsite, trying to hold to the original design.  The Larkin Soap Company made china among other things and Swan Street was able to purchase some of the last plates and mugs made in Buffalo for the Diner.  They offer breakfast and lunch and have a couple specials.  The food is high quality and it’s a beautifully restored diner with a few original parts.  Great, friendly service. Continue reading

Harbor Cafe, Stonington, ME., 8/30/21

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The Harbor Cafe is in a large white house on on the main street of Stonington, Maine. There were a couple rooms but mostly one was in use and it was lined with booths on the side and a couple tables in the middle. Art was for sale on the walls and maps were laminated on the table tops. The booths were divided with plexiglas but masks were not required for the vaccinated. It felt like a very local spot with people ordering ‘the usual.’  In addition to the menu they offered a ham and cheese omelette which we both chose. You could chose your bread product, cheese and potato preparation. We both took cheddar and the skillet then deep fried potatoes. I had an English muffin and my husband had white toast. The potatoes were crisp and really good and the omelette was filled with chunks of ham. The egg exterior was fluffy and good. Unlike the menu indicated (one refill only) they refilled your coffee numerous times. It was a good solid way to start a day of travel. Continue reading

Chugiak Cafe, Chugiak, AK., 8/1/21

drive through line

Chugiak Cafe is about 20 miles outside of Anchorage and worth the drive.  It started about 7 years ago (by my best information) in what was an old WWII barracks.  After about 3 years owner Trig Bjorklund had to expand to 2 more rooms to accommodate guests.  Then Covid 19 hit and they changed the system to drive-through only.  Tables outdoors are now set up, each set with a box of napkins, utensils and other needs and the front door is open if you want to eat inside.  However there is no staff to clean up after you or take orders, just put your trash in the convenient cans or take your food to another location.  To expedite the process a person is out front to take your order and hand it in to the kitchen who will then give it to the pick-up window.  The system works well and there are beautiful flowers and fun decorations for you to look at as you drive through the line.  Inside is a treasure trove of a lifetime’s memorabilia that is not to be missed.  Particularly the 1910 coffee roaster that roasts their coffee in small batches.  But the best part is the honest, wonderful food. Continue reading

The White Spot, Anchorage, 7/30/21

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109 W. 4th Ave., 907-279-3954

The White Spot is in downtown Anchorage and even though the street out front was closed for repair the place was still packed with customers eating in and picking up to go orders. There are several tables but the best seats are at the counter overlooking the small kitchen show.  They are known for the halibut sandwich but you’ll find lots of house made, fresh options here.  The current owners have had the place five and a half years but it obviously goes way back.  An interim owner was an Italian lady that brought the place to notoriety according to the current owner.  The cook, Frank, was an amazing show to watch as he freshly breaded mushrooms, onion and the famed halibut for the sandwich all while grilling whatever.  The staff were all super friendly and it was such a fun tasty spot to have on our agenda, I recommend you try it when you’re in the area.  They are only open for lunch and breakfast (for which I could find no menu). Continue reading

Colony Kitchen/ Noisy Goose Cafe, Palmer, AK., 7/30/21

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The Colony Kitchen started in 1985 in downtown Palmer as the Frontier Café and moved to the present location in 1989 and became the Colony Kitchen but is more often referred to as the Noisy Goose Cafe.  The name is representative of the casual and conversational nature of the guests and staff.  Portions of the home-style cuisine are large and service is efficient.  The food is well prepared but on the bland side for me but nevertheless, even with Covid the place was incredibly busy.  Large groups, couples and families from all walks of life found it the place to go.  The walls are covered with stuffed birds, antlers, photos of animals and signs.  Several wooden bears are also placed around as well as a stuffed real bear and faint music is in the background.  Many windows add to the light level inside.  Outside there is a wrap around deck and a combination of booths and tables fill the inside. A scrambler option was offered as a daily special. Continue reading

Nelscott Breakfast House, Lincoln City, OR., 6/26/21

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Nelscott Breakfast House alternately called Nelscott Café is a small coastal cafe offering breakfast and lunch items. Located in Lincoln City, their patio welcomes dogs too and there are special items available just for our canine companions.  It’s in a strip of shops along the highway in what looks like a house and was started around 2009 by a couple with the names Nelson and Scott, but it has changed hands a number of times.  Inside you find a number of tables and stairs to another level of seating as well as a door to the patio.  Plenty were also getting food to-go.  A pass through window to the kitchen lets you get a small peek at the action, windows are all around, music is in the background and happy people are everywhere.  Service was outstanding – they promptly took our order and food was out quickly, which was great as we were on our way to the airport. The menu has a good selection of sweet or savory dishes but there are also specials, which were noted out front.  I would go back if I am ever anywhere close.    Continue reading

Delta Diner (update), Delta, WI, 5/3/21

exterior with coffee shop showing

Almost 2 years ago we visited the Delta Diner and that was an update on their new addition of a Chicken Shack and Tin Tap House to the left as you look at the Diner. Five years ago we looked at a lot of the food and some of my consistent favorites to order there, like the Deli sandwich.  But today we visited on a Burger Monday and that’s what they serve all day every Monday.  There are a number of ways to have your fresh meat patty prepared or you can enjoy the vegetarian option of a black bean burger.  All are served on soft, fresh griddle toasted buns.  After a long year of Covid closures and curbside service the Diner is finally open for limited inside seating.  New additions of partitions are between booths and stenciled with a drawing of the Diner.  They are incredibly tasteful and fit right in.  No plastic partitions and the staff are all properly masked and vaccinated. The counter stools are limited and space is left open between customers.   There are plenty of picnic tables with beautiful settings if you want to order and carry your food outside. Continue reading

D’Andrews Bakery & Cafe, Nashville, 4/17/21

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D’Andrews Bakery and Cafe in downtown Nashville was opened by David Andrews after studying his craft in NYC. It offers pastries, breads, coffees and sandwiches.  Everything in the restaurant is house made, even the meats are roasted and seasoned there and the mayo, etc is also made there.  Pastries are in the counter, and they will heat them for you.  There is a patio out front and some tables inside for dining.  Lots of folks got items to go.  Masks are required to enter and the line forms by the pastry counter.  It is well lit and you can watch Andrews making hot items on the stove behind.  Staff was friendly and helpful and the food was fantastic. Continue reading

Breakfast Republic, San Diego, 3/25/21

Liberty Station

Breakfast Republic is part of a chain of places in southern California.  They serve innovative breakfast combinations surrounded by tons of fun, almost kitsch decorations.  We visited the location in Liberty Station built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style which was the site of the Naval Training Center in 1923.  The chain supports composting of uneaten foods and recycling.  This location had 2 good sized heated patios to dine on.  They are open daily from 7 to 3.  Service was friendly, masked and efficient.  While the food sounded great in the menu I would rate it acceptable + with generous portions. Continue reading

Stanley, New Orleans, 3/20/21

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Stanley is on a corner in Jackson Square by St. Louis Cathedral.  In a tribute to Tennessee Williams their location is near the restaurant Stella that closed in 2014.  They feature all day breakfast/brunch as well as sandwiches and desserts in a casual location.  They are open Thursday to Monday from 8 am to 4 pm.  Outside is a lot of outdoor seating and some well distanced seats inside the place.  It is really popular so be prepared for a wait in popular times.  Service was efficient and friendly.  No reservations are accepted. Continue reading

Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA., 8/13 & 14/20

Harbor House Inn

The property where the Harbor House Inn is today was used as a place for the families brought in to work in the lumber industry in the late 1800’s. Goodyear Redwood Company bought the lumber mill and land in 1916 and hired Louis Christian Mullgardt to build a home that would showcase the beauty of the redwoods. Elk Redwood Company bought it in 1932 and from then it changed hands a number of times. In 2005 Jin and Eva Lu purchased the Inn and then closed it in 2013 when they did a 5 year renovation project. They have 6 traditional rooms in the main house and 5 standalone cottages that are on the grounds. We were lucky to stay in the Redwood Room of the main building. Normally I don’t post hotels on this blog but last post here was of the restaurant in the inn and I wanted you to also see the breakfasts that come with the rooms.

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Kate’s Greek & American, Everett, WA./ 11/8/19

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exterior

Kate’s Greek & American restaurant is a medium sized colorful place on a busy street near lots of shops.  Booths are on two long sides of the space with tables in the middle.  The chairs are mostly different as are the table cloths.  Windows to the street are on one end and the kitchen and prep area are opposite that.  Above there were 2 large boards with the specials on them.  Lots of art is on the walls and much of it was for sale.  They serve only breakfast and lunch, both all day.  The server was really friendly and offered good advice when ordering. Continue reading

The Brick House Cafe, Cable, 7/21/18

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building

The Brick House is in an old brick house that has a small interior dining space and order counter.  There were also a number of tables on a patio outside and a couple small metal ones on the porch of the house.  A couple of rocking chairs are also on the porch and would be a nice place to enjoy your morning coffee and maybe a muffin.  We were there during the breakfast hour but they also serve lunch and then close at 3:00.  There were lots of flowers around the house and inside, probably because it was summer time.  Inside the walls are filled with placques and pictures and the wall over the coffee machine is primarily about Diners, Drive-ins and Dives visit to the place.  No music is in the background but there was a constant stream of people coming and going.  Natural light comes in through the many windows, but air conditioning is there if it gets hotter.   Continue reading

The Robin’s Nest, Hayward, 5/12/18

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exterior

Robin’s Nest is about 15 minutes outside of Hayward and a fairly large place spread over several rooms, all with windows to the outside.  It and the kitchen take up most of the room on the first floor of what looks to be an old house.  It has been in business with the same family for 16 years and serves breakfast and lunch.  They had monthly specials when we were there that included a southern fried pork tenderloin served with eggs, potato and toast, and the pancake of the month which was cinnamon raisin.  Tables are nicely spaced and draped with an oil cloth cover.  There is plenty of parking and service is friendly and efficient.  In the back room they had several shelves with products to sell – books, jam, syrup, etc.   Continue reading

Barbec’s Restaurant, Dallas, 9/27/16

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Barbec’s has been around as long as I can remember. Located in an old Howard Johnson’s building it serves large, cheap portions of southern style food.  The service is efficient but sometimes you’ll have to ask for something rather than a waitress noticing and asking. They seem to be best known for their beer biscuits which are better at breakfast than at lunch, when they’ve been out of the oven for awhile. They offer a large menu and well priced specials for breakfast and lunch, but it is a cash only business. With the lunch specials there is a huge choice of sides to go with your entree, of which you’ll see a preponderance of chicken fried steak. Continue reading

John’s Cafe, 9/16 & 10/8/16, Dallas,

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Exterior

John’s Cafe dates back to the early 1970’s when it was further north on Greenville. Various lease and sign issues forced them to move slightly northeast for a couple years but then they found a new location on lower Greenville.  It is the same breakfast and lunch place with slightly more seating.  There is a lunch special everyday but John Spyropoulos seems to be mostly popular for his breakfast special, $6.99 for your choice of 2 eggs, choice of bacon, ham or sausage and hash browns and toast or biscuits.  He makes a number of tasty omelets, the Gyro being a favorite. Continue reading

Mis Cazuelas, Dallas, 6/28/16 & 8/2/16

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building

Mis Cazuelas is a really small place of about 5 tables and a counter. There is another larger version further down the street but this cozy location is way better food even though it offers a more limited menu (not everything on the large menu is available at this smaller, original location). Their lunch food is fine but it’s the breakfast (served anytime) that’s my favorite there. It is a cash only place and little English is spoken, but you can get by with pointing at the menu. The kitchen is behind the bar seats and the constant patting that is the background sound is the lady making fresh corn and flour tortillas, as well as the thicker ones for gorditas. It feels a  lot like eating in your grandmother’s kitchen. Continue reading