Have you ever been a “regular” at a restaurant? Like a real, actual regular where when you walk in the doors you can hear them say to the kitchen, “It’s Sarah,” (or whatever your name is…). And they greet you by name, and welcome you in, and know your drink order, and the name of your kid, and possibly your food order? Have you ever looked around the restaurant and seen people you know — people you actually went there to chat with and say hi, and hear about their lives, and joke with? People you didn’t ever make a plan to meet up with there, but can pretty much count on seeing at certain times? People who, if they aren’t there, you worry about?
I have never been a regular anywhere until the Grass Lake Diner moved into town. Sure, I’ve had restaurants and coffee shops that I’ve been to so frequently that I should have been one there, but not until the Diner did I start to know how Norm felt on “Cheers”.
I decided a few years ago that I was going to become a member of my community, not just a commuter who sleeps in a house in town and leaves to go to work and social events. In fact, it has been a goal on my List of 100 Dreams to feel at home in my town. So one morning after dropping my son off at daycare and before heading into work, I stopped in to have breakfast at the Diner. The food was amazing. They can somehow make eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast extraordinary, unlike food I can get anywhere else. They use fresh, local ingredients to make both basic dishes and exotic ones. Their menu is so creative that they write it on the wall rather than have menus printed.
The Diner’s frequently updated and very creative menu.
The decor is not fancy, and that’s part of what I love about going there. I can show up in nice clothes for work, or I can show up after rolling out of bed in my jammie pants and a t-shirt with my unbrushed hair in a pony-tail (as I did today), and I’m treated the same either way. No judgement. Their dishes, silverware, and mugs are mismatched which has the effect of actually making you feel like you’re eating at someone’s home.
My mug of coffee this morning. Maybe I’ll donate one that says Sarah. Actually, now that I write that I really want to do it.
The food is so good here that they won 3rd place in a contest for Michigan’s Best Breakfast which you can read about in this article, and this article, and this article.
They won 3rd place in Michigan’s Best Breakfast joints, as highlighted on this article.
This is not actually meant to be a restaurant review. I could go on and on about which dishes I’ve tried, which are my favorite, and how they are the only people to ever perfectly cook bacon to my liking, but rather this is a description of a happy place for me. This is a thing I do every week (if possible) to make myself happy. It starts my day off well and gets me going with a good attitude.
This is Jennie. She bakes amazing breads, cupcakes, pies, and cheesecakes. She’s also great to talk to while you’re eating.
Jennie runs the front of the restaurant and bakes amazing treats at the Diner. I’ve told you before about how baking intimates me, but I enjoy eating fresh-baked food. It’s not something I do well, so when someone can be creative with their baking, I admire it so much. One of my favorite desserts on the planet is Red Velvet Cake, specifically from The Bubble Room on Captiva Island, Florida. Check out that link and you will see a photo of this colossal treat. I told Jennie about my love for this cake, and she actually took my request and baked some this week! Now how many restaurants actually take your requests and make them?
My red velvet cupcake!
In the kitchen at the Diner on a weekday morning you’ll find Matt and Andy. Matt is the creative chef behind the diner. He also shares my love for Guns N’ Roses and let’s me sample a variety of new menu items. YUM! Andy shares my love for reading comics! I loan my comic books to him, and in turn he will actually read them and talk to me about them. I love joining book clubs, but it’s pretty hard to find a comic book club. So it’s great to know somebody who will read what I read and talk about it too.
Matt (left) and Andy (right) enjoying their work in the kitchen. These were some happy guys today!
I hope for your sake that if you’re in the area, you visit the Grass Lake Diner. If you keep going back, it will start to feel like home. And if that happens, it’s a really happy thing.