by Kat Robinson
Let's hear it for the working class. That's most of us, right? 65th Street Diner is the sort of place the blue collar sort congregate at for a good meal and a sweet treat during the lunch hour.
This is the sort of place where the colloquial Little Rock-styled greeting of "Good to see ya" is uttered back and forth -- both as a greeting to passers by and by individuals wanting to cut short the conversation so they can dive into their dinner.
The diner's open for breakfast and for lunch -- and that lunch if you get it off the line is $6.50. And if you're lucky, you might end up with a plate of fried chicken like that thar photo. More on the jump.
The folks that turn out at the diner are the sort of folks in your neighborhood -- the local sheriff's deputy, the guy who works down at the cola plant, a couple of girls in accounting at the trucking company, that sort of thing. They come to the 65th Street Diner for a good hot meal to get them through the afternoon.
I went for lunch one day when the special was your choice of fried chicken or stuffed bell peppers (big honkin' peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice and topped with tomato sauce and cheese). You get your choice of two of the four offered vegetables for the day. I choose the PurpleHull peas and mashed potatoes (you get your choice of white or brown gravy) over the Brussells Sprouts and glazed carrots. I chose the cornbread over the roll and decided to wait on dessert. That chicken? Wherever it came from, it's the fattest chicken I've had a leg off of in quite some time. The batter is crunchy and a little salty, as is the gravy for the potatoes. There's no lack of seasoning in those potatoes. The peas were still sweet in that lovely way PurpleHulls tend to be, a great match for the unsweetened cornbread.
You know me, no meal is quite complete without dessert (shame on me!) so of course I had to have a slice of pie.
The choices were ample -- housemade Italian cream cake and chocolate cake both looked good, and there was apple pie, chocolate custard, lemon, cherry, pumpkin and pecan. But the coconut pie looked too good to pass up on. That's a big hunka pie, and it's just $1, just like all the other desserts. You can take a whole pie home for $10.
65th Street Diner also offers a Chef's Salad ($4.50 and a real bargain for what you get, I was told by a fellow patron), hamburgers ($3), grilled ham & cheese sandwiches ($3.25) and more. I'm going to have to find myself a good reason to be back in the neighborhood soon... that was some mighty fine fried chicken, I tell ya what.
You'll find the 65th Street Diner on, imagine this, 65th Street, a couple blocks west of I-30. (501) 562-7800.