Sunday, July 14, 2013

When I hear the word diner I pretty much picture Route 42

Okay I'm no where near old enough to remember the actual 1950s diner experience but that doesn't mean that I don't get a certain image in my mind when someone mentions the term. I grew up watching Happy Days and remember some long closed diners that my parents took me to. Ones with big red booths, milk shakes and little jukeboxes on each table.

The Route 42 Diner & Dairy Bar out on Route 42 by the Windsor Airport may not have jukeboxes on the table (though they do have one big one) but it is pretty much everything else I picture when I hear "old school diner". It's got the red booths. It's got a soda bar where you can get milkshakes and floats. It's got tons of stuff stuck up on the walls and 50s music is playing. There's a TV playing Gidget. Well wait, I guess the TVs are not something I usually picture in a classic diner, but it was a cool touch. The wait staff are all wearing matching uniforms and the food is the kind of stuff you expect from a true diner.

Now when I think diner I think burgers, hotdogs, fries, hot-hamburger, clubhouse sandwiches and milkshakes. That's exactly what you will find on the menu at Route 42. In addition to these traditional favourites there's also a great looking breakfast menu including a Farmer's Omelette I'm dying to try the next time we are out that way earlier in the day. You can also find a smattering of other stuff like pasta and a bit of Mexican. I'm not sure why every restaurant seems to think they need to have ALL THE THINGS on their menu but they are there if you want them. There's a very good and very reasonably priced kids menu as well.

My wife and I decided to go for traditional diner food (was there any doubt)? She ordered from their selection of 8 pre-made burgers, choosing the Yellow Burger. This home made patty (by the gawds I hate burger places that use frozen patties) was smothered in provolone cheese, a pineapple sauce made fresh there, crushed potato chips, lettuce, tomatoes, onions & pickles. Now I know the fries should be good here but neither of us are big fry fans so she subbed a side of fresh corn. I went with the Shepherds Pie. Shepherds Pie is soul food for me. Something comforting that I really enjoy when made right. The Pie at Route 42 was made right. Instead of the traditional ground beef casserole, this was a torn up grilled hamburger patty, covered in gravy, corn, mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. Like my wife's burger it was also topped with crushed potato chips. The whole potato chip thing was a staple on the menu with almost every item having this rather cool garnish. My pie also came with desert which was a choice of rice pudding or spice cake. I went with the cake which was obviously made right there and rather good. Both of these entrees were under $10 before tax.

The icing on the cake for me on this trip was actually the sugar and cinnamon on the donuts. See, Route 42 is not just a diner. They have a small secondary entrance that leads to a tiny ice cream parlor that also serves hot mini donuts. I love hot fresh mini donuts. You know the kind right? Those ones you usually can only get at carnivals and places like the Gibraltar Trade Center? The ones where you watch the ring of dough plop out of the machine and travel like an inner tube down the hot oil river. I can't get enough of them and I was so happy to find out I could get them at Route 42. We couldn't leave without me picking up a Diner Dozen (13 precious hot donuts) for under $3.

This was our first trip out to Route 42 Diner & Dairy bar and I'm certain it won't be our last. I really want to take my parents out there sometime for dinner as I really think they will dig the place. I also have a feeling I may stop by every now and then just to pick up some delicious fresh and hot mini donuts.

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