Even pancake fanatics could get overwhelmed at American Pancake House. Twenty varieties of the expertly flipped discs fill the menu, their numbers bolstered by a lengthy list of crepes, blintzes, waffles, and french toast. Fresh pecans are swirled into the diner's special pancake batter, emerging from the oven slathered in a cinnamon-sugar glaze, whereas chocolate pancakes blur the lines between breakfast, dessert, and feeding frenzy. Not to be outdone, the diner's menu of savory breakfast dishes and lunch plates dazzle in syrup-free glory, from the mediterranean frittata that pairs smoked sausage with onions and feta to the a classic diner reuben stacked on perfectly toasted rye.
In addition to catering most places, from backyards to boardrooms, The State Café & Catering Restaurant quells voracious appetites weekday mornings and afternoons with a menu of home-style cooking, filling downtown diners with fresh soups, sandwiches, and bottomless salad options. Corral a herd of hungry colleagues for pre-office breakfast stampedes and tooth-trample mouthfuls of chorizo-and-spinach egg scrambler ($4.75) or handmade fruit crêpes ($4.25). Lunch-leaning appetites delight in the classic flavors of a Vienna beef hot dog ($2.75) or hearty bites of the meatball grinder blanketed with sautéed peppers, onions, and mozzarella ($5.95). A rotating daily soup selection ($2.25–$2.95) and an expansive salad bar ($5.95 for unlimited trips) provide customizable options to keep each visit different and to transform stomachs into lettuce-lined gumbo grottoes.
Bedizened with dishes from every corner of the globe, the Oakwood Bistro’s menu transforms dining into a world-traversing adventure with ingredients culled from local and organic sources whenever possible. After a widely traveled culinary career, Chef Ryan Soule has settled back in his home state replete with regional cuisine know-how and hours-long vacation slideshows. Taste buds can travel to tropical locales with the pineapple-dotted caribbean paella ($23), trek to the misty northeast with lobster mac and cheese ($18), or holiday in North Africa with the curried eggplant tagine ($15). American classics meld with worldly flavors in bistro sandwiches, which include asparagus cheese melts ($8) and salmon BLTs ($12). Thin-crust pizzas ($9+) let diners customize their meals with 24 topping options ($1.25–$2.75 each), and each dough disk is available in gluten-free ($4 extra) or merrily skipping carefree versions.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for clowns, who practice fitting into their cars by squeezing into omelets and use jelly-donut filling to paint their expressions. Start your day in a fun way with today's Groupon: for $5, you get $10 worth of diner fare for breakfast or lunch at Jelly Pancake House in Merrillville.
Nick's Kitchen is Huntington's diner-eats outpost, offering breakfast and lunch menus full of time-tested meals. According to Lunch Encounter, Nick's Kitchen founder Nick Freienstein is the Thomas Edison of pork-tenderloin sandwiches, inventing them in the early twentieth century when most Americans were still eating chunks of gold. Freienstein's tenderloin sandwich ($5.25) lives on at Nick's Kitchen, along with the Quayle Burger ($8.50), a half pound of ground chuck topped with lettuce, onion, and tomato that was created specifically for the vice president and comes with enough fries to share with hungry secret service members. Breakfast, served from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., can take the shape of the breakfast bowl with one egg, fried potatoes, veggies, and sausage gravy ($5.25), or the hearty Incredible Breakfast, which unites bone-in ham, cheesy potatoes, two eggs any style, and toast ($6.50).
The amphitheater at Fair Oaks Farms doesn’t host agriculture-themed theater productions, or talks by resident farmers and cheese-makers. Instead, it’s the stage for an astonishing real-life drama. Before a giant wall of glass, audience members hold their breath as they watch a dairy cow give birth atop a bed of hay. Its calf enters the world in full view, rising up on its wobbling legs and hearing the sound of dozens of human hearts melting at once for the very first time. It all happens approximately 80 times each day.
The birthing barn anchors the farm's Dairy Adventure tour, giving families and school children a literal window into the world of sustainable dairy farming. At Fair Oaks Farms, the sustainability is as important as the milks and cheeses. As the New York Times recently reported, the farm creates natural gas from livestock waste. This ever-replenished source powers 10 barns, a cheese factory, an ice cream parlor, and everything else at the farm. It even becomes fuel for delivery trucks, which take raw milk to processing plants in three different states.
A lot of the dairy products stay right on the farm, however. At the onsite café, staffers serve countless glasses of chocolate milk and plates of grilled cheese sandwiches, the most popular items on the menu. The dining area overlooks the farm's cheese-making and milk-bottling facilities, so diners see exactly where their snack comes from.
As for the cafe's produce, it comes directly from the farm's Green Garden Gate, a collection of gardens that sit in the shadow of a 25-foot milk bottle. The oversized container, known as "Udder Heights," is actually a climbing wall complete with belay systems and footholds. It stands at the center of Mooville, an outdoor play area that also contains train rides and a giant jumping pillow for when someone orders a milkshake.