The recent laments over a lack of good local places to have a cheap breakfast or lunch lead me to Bryant’s Home Plate Diner -- that, and all the signs proclaiming it the town’s best place to eat. Sometimes, you gotta check these things out.
Now, when I think “diner,” I think lunch counter. I think bare bones. I think hot coffee and pastries and an open griddle. But at Home Plate Diner, it’s ‘50s and ‘60s décor, jukebox, teal blue walls and chrome. More like an upscale diner-type restaurant. The décor caused my wallet to get nervous.
No need. The prices within were actually a lot closer to what I expected. I was disappointed, though, that we had missed the 10:30am breakfast cut-off. Instead, my traveling companion and I split on our orders, he ordering up a burger with onion rings and myself going for the daily lunch special.
More on the jump.
There are Trivial Pursuit cards on the tables to help you pass the time while you are waiting. You seat yourself, and your waitress comes to you. Ours did okay, except for initially forgetting to put in the onion rings order -- which meant my companion ended up with rings and chips.
His Hamburger ($4.79) came with chips -- other options would have been fries (+$1.29), sweet potato fries (+$1.89) or the onion rings (+$1.99). The half pound of meat was impressive, as was the chunk of Jack cheese and lettuce on top of the burger. Not a lot of seasoning on the meat, but once you add all the accoutrements it isn’t bad. Besides, it’s a half pound….
Onion rings are battered in flour and deep fried. Ours were a little on the salty side but the sweetness of the onion balanced it out okay.
The lunch special was Chicken Fried Steak or Hamburger Steak ($6.49), so I went with the former. I chose macaroni and cheese and sweet potato casserole as my two side items. Diners usually get a choice of roll or cornbread, but the place had already run out of rolls for the day. That was okay, because the sweet cornbread was pretty good. The mac and cheese wasn’t spectacular, but the chicken fried steak was crispy outside and falling apart on the inside, and smothered in white gravy, a real stick-to-your-ribs sort of meal. The sweet potato casserole, though, was incredible -- with little caramelized sugar and pecan bits. Definitely the best part of the meal.
The place hasn’t been around all that long, and their hours are a bit short -- 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. It’s clean, it’s bright, and the food is decent. They do take-out orders, too. (501) 847-3331 or you can check out their website.