When perched on a cushy high-rise seat inside the retro environs of Cindy's Diner, one will likely encounter owner John Scheele as he darts about the kitchen, whipping up hearty home-style dishes lauded by reporters from News Sentinel. He sets down simmering plates of farm-fresh eggs, stacks of hot cakes, and thick sandwiches on the bright red and chrome bar, taking time to greet new faces and exchange new jokes with the regulars. When the skilled cook gets an order for his signature "garbage" breakfast, he cracks open eggs before mixing in potatoes, cheese, onions, and ham. He also creates fresh donuts using an old-fashioned machine, icing the warm morsels in strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate.
John keeps his establishment a family affair with his wife Cindy, along with their three children and 20 grandchildren, who can often be spotted serving plates of all-day breakfast and refilling mugs of coffee. Rustic jukeboxes rest on the countertop, showcasing a selection of old-timey tunes, such as "Seven Spanish Angels" and "There's No Such Thing as a Cordless Telephone".
O-Deer Diner is so dear to owner Rick Ruffner’s heart that he created the name using the first initial of each member of his family. The diner serves a small menu of house-made soups, hot dogs, and sandwiches, but the place is best known for its premium soft-serve ice cream, which swirls into specialty sundaes beneath hot fudge, chopped candy bars, and whipped cream. Like any good neighborhood diner, O-Deer places great importance on community involvement: the eatery hosts Santa Claus and collects canned goods around the holidays, participates in parades, and supplies pitchforks to chase the town Frankenstein.
Monroe Street Diner is a hub of belly-comforting cuisine and clock-themed ambiance, qualities that earned it the title of runner-up for Best Diner in the Toledo City Paper's 2010 reader survey. The restaurant’s walls are infested with more than 60 clocks, all donated by regular customers who enjoy recording their chewing times down to the second. Breakfast is served any time and includes a long list of omelets, such as the savory chili and cheese combo ($5.75). For lunch, a grilled-cheese sandwich ($3.25) or The Elvis—country-fried steak served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and veggies ($7.15)—keeps bodies happily filled with the strength to consume future lunches. Young diner aficionados can thrive on the restaurant’s kids’ menu, which fuels up-and-coming adults with meals such as spaghetti and garlic toast ($4.35) or a chocolate-chip pancake paired with two sausage links ($3). In accordance with the terms of the 28th Amendment, no item on the menu costs more than $9.
Tee Jaye's founders began preparing homestyle meals in 1970, a venture that spawned a string of 24-hour diners stuffed with delicious country fare. An egg-centric medley of dishes graces the all-day breakfast menu, with options such as the barnyard buster ($5.10)—two biscuits, two eggs, and country fries wallowing in a puddle of Tee Jaye's famous sausage gravy—and the sunshine sandwich ($6.95), grilled sourdough trapped under stacks of cheddar, swiss, ham, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. Turn to the lunch-and-dinner menu to find the answer to the sphinx's riddle ("sweet tea") as well as a spread of classic country-kitchen eats, including the chicken-fried chicken ($8.25), homemade meatloaf and dressing ($7.75), and Granny's grandburger ($7.95), a half-pound beef patty served with fries and a choice of three toppings. A tot-thrilling kids' menu ($2.49/breakfast; $3.49/lunch and dinner) and a crisp collection of summer flatbreads ($6.95+) round out the restaurant's dining selections.
At Knead—named Best New Restaurant 2010 by Columbus Monthly—the cooks toss salads with lettuce just plucked from the ground and fry eggs straight from the farm. Valuing farm-fresh ingredients, husband-and-wife team Krista and Chef Rick Lopez based their diner-style eatery's menu on ingredients available in Ohio. Rick and his team rotate in selections of sandwiches depending on the ingredients available from their area suppliers, which include local and specialty farmers and vendors and the nearby North Market. Year-round offerings include Grandwiches, which are embraced by house-baked bread and stuffed with locally procured morsels, such as pork shoulder and ham in the Cuban-OH and hormone-free beef and house-cured bacon in the KneaDaBurger.
The restaurant's commitment to local ingredients extends to its specialty drinks and desserts, all of which are made in-house. The sweet selections include oatmeal cream pie—made with from-scratch oatmeal cookies—and cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites, which give nibblers a sugar rush just long enough to say "cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites" three times fast.
Breakfast is served all day long at DK Diner, where guests choose from a variety of housemade eats. Forks slice right through light and fluffy pancakes, and french toast made with texas toast satisfy morning cravings better than a croissant doused in barbecue sauce. Customers flock to the painted brick eatery for the house-special donuts and can even order a burger with the bun subbed with a sweet round treat. For lunch and dinner, sandwiches are served with kitchen-crafted chips, and guests can take their plates in the comfortable home restaurant or be served on the sunny patio out back.