Patriots Diner is a throwback to the 1950s, a time when restaurants and soda fountains served as important hubs of socialization. The menu there deepens nostalgia with dishes that the owners hope emulates the cooking most people grew up with. Under glowing lights like hanging martini glasses, plates brim with juicy burgers, fish and chips, meat loaf, and pork chops. Coffee cups warm hands next to all-day breakfast offerings of omelets and waffles beneath walls decorated with vintage magazine covers and photos of Christopher Columbus’ wooden scuba flippers. The restaurant’s neon-blue lights are easily seen from the roadside and match the dining room’s royal blue booths and chrome-trimmed stools.
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The vintage diner car's heaping portions of traditional American comfort food earned praise from a recent episode of TLC's American Eats. Owner Kim Kniskern fills the narrow eatery with the sweet aroma of her specialty french toast ($4.95), along with a menu full of morning-time eats that celebrate the moon's inability to steal the earth's bacon. Egg and toast platters draw inspiration from different cultures, such as the American breakfast, which pairs grilled sirloin tips with the ovoid classics ($7.95), and the Polynesian breakfast, which arrives bearing a sizzling helping of fried spam ($5.95). Savory lunch options are also available to sate noon-time cravings.
Former longtime waitress Brenda Tresk owns and operates Norm's, which serves a menu of delicious diner fare 24 hours a day. Breakfast maintains Most Important Meal and Best Smile titles with all-day dishes of kielbasa omelets ($9.49) and oven-cured biscuits draped in tasty sausage gravy ($4.89). Sweet servings of silver dollar pancakes ($3.11) or thick planks of texas french toast ($4.49) balance out savory plates, and lunches such as a pastrami Reuben sandwich with fries and coleslaw ($10.29) quell midday midsection rumbles. As guests dine on satisfying portions, Norm’s Americana-infused space, filled with art-deco chrome accents and a resident jukebox, evokes misty memories of a simpler time when everyone wore leather jackets and no one spoke Russian.
Chez Ben Diner serves everything you’d expect from a classic American diner—three-egg omelets, triple-decker club sandwiches, and burgers—with an unexpected twist: a selection of authentic French-Canadian dishes. Founded by Benoit and Solange Quirion, the restaurant recently passed to Windsor natives Joel and Anne Quirion who continue the family tradition of friendly service, all-day breakfast, and uniquely Canadian dishes, such as poutine, a combination of fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. The emphasis on traditional Canadian eats hasn’t gone unnoticed: the breakfast poutine earned a mention in Serious Eats, and Roadfood.com calls the cretons—a cold pork spread that can be served on toast or used as stucco on a gingerbread house—“addictive.”
Sandee’s Restaurant’s chefs sizzle an Empire State Building–sized menu of American breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes that have helped the eatery earn awards from The Item. Diners can commence a morning meal with a sweet treat such as cranberry walnut pancakes or a belgian waffle drizzled with what snowmen wear on their birthdays: fruit and homemade whipped cream. Or, browse the menu’s selection of 10 specialty omelets stuffed with varying combinations of 17 ingredients, including feta, peppers, and applewood-smoked bacon. Traditional eggs benedict crowns croissant with ham, poached eggs, and creamy hollandaise sauce, while its Bostonian counterpart’s croissant dons scrambled eggs and corned beef hash, a mix of ingredients inventive enough to induce reconsideration of traditional notions that prevent serving breakfast for dinner or at 3 a.m. at thumping nightclubs.