After church today, we headed over to the local diner for lunch. Only we had breakfast instead.
The dining choices in our little town are few, and are mostly limited to fast food. Going out to eat generally means traveling 20 minutes or more to one of the neighboring towns. So I was excited to try out an eatery close by.
Duke’s is a homespun, hole-in-the-wall joint that opens at 5:30 in the morning for the early birds and calls in the horses at two in the afternoon. And yes, there really is a Duke. Plaques on the wall bear witness to his chili-making prowess in the form of awards from the Las Vegas chili competition in multiple years.
Although it was late in the day for Duke’s, about three-quarters of the tables were filled. I was concerned that they wouldn’t have much in which a (near) vegan could partake. On our way there, my wife mentioned that they offer an egg substitute, but it turned out to be Egg Beaters, which is made from egg whites. So I was surprised at the choices available.
I ended up ordering fried potatoes, oatmeal and dry toast. The home fries were prepared with bell peppers, onions and garlic. Delicious! The oatmeal was served with cinnamon and raisins. My first surprise was that the place carries nondairy creamer (made from soy). “That’s how Duke eats his oatmeal,” the server told me.
My second surprise was that Duke’s serves decaffeinated herbal tea, both jasmine and chamomile. You may think that’s not so special, but you might be surprised how many restaurants serve standard issue black tea only.
Although we ate in the rear dining room, I suspect that the best place to sit at Duke’s is up front on the stools at the counter. I saw several different newspapers and even a copy of National Geographic hanging around for the perusal of guests waiting for their meals to be cooked.
Those coming in for lunch have choices such as egg salad or grilled cheese sandwiches, patty melts, chef salads, soups and the diner’s specialty, chili. Now, if I could only convince them to start cooking cauliflower cutlets and Portobello mushroom sandwiches.
But as far as breakfast goes, you can count me in. I told my wife that she’s lucky that I am currently without my car, which we have loaned out to my niece so she can drive back and forth to her college classes. Otherwise, I don’t think you’d be able to keep me away from the place.