by Kat Robinson
The second day of Breakfast Week takes us to Cabot, where The Diner tends to draw regulars. I went on a Wednesday morning, looking for breakfast before the start of a busy day. Walked in and was told to go find myself a seat anywhere. As soon as I sat, a waitress with a coffeepot and a mug appeared and asked “want coffee?” Well, sure, when it’s all ready to go like that.
She brought me a menu and left me to my devices. I scanned on down. There were the expected items, like regular and short stacks of pancakes, build-your-own omelets, breakfast biscuits. Breakfast burritos are only available weekdays. There’s a Big Daddy Breakfast with two eggs, biscuits or sausage, grits or hash browns, biscuits and gravy (and country ham if you like). I was intrigued by the idea of Blueberry Crumble Toast ($1.49), but I ended up settling on a one-stop platter, the Chicken Fried Steak Breakfast ($6.99).
As I waited, I gawked, as usual. The mug my coffee was served up in advertised a local business; I noticed different mugs throughout the big room. Reminded me of my cabinet at home, where logoed coffee mugs apparently breed and burst forth from time to time, requiring a culling. The general décor is red and white with gray tin, still very clean and fresh and new. There are signs on the wall that border on the risqué; one featuring a row of pine trees with one chopped down asks “who cut it?” while right by it there’s a tin ad for “Electric Magic Mixer - why beat it by hand?” A free jukebox is near the front door. It looks like a diner… but the atmosphere is far closer to a country restaurant. That doesn’t diminish the place in the slightest.
And then there are the waitresses, hollering back and forth to each other across the wide room and giving the regulars hell. One waitress found out that two ladies at a table were both having a birthday, so she serenaded them with (dear God, I hope it was intentional) the worst rendition of “Happy Birthday” I have ever been forced to hear. So bad it was fall-out-of-your-chair funny.
My platter was brought out, along with another pot of coffee for a warm-up. Before me sat a five inch patty of chicken fried steak -- I’ve seen larger, but this was cooked decently well and wasn’t overly greasy like I’ve been subjected to in the past. The white gravy was thick enough to suit. I’d ordered my eggs over easy and they came out as such, with plenty of yolk to sop with the wheat bread toast. Hash browns were plentiful and a good example of the genre. And the coffee was consistent and plentiful. I took advantage of the basket of jellies on the table (there are also creamers in there, but I went for black).
There are daily plate lunch specials advertised on the boards in each section, and I just might find my way back to partake of one or two. But not on my birthday.
You’ll find The Diner on South 2nd Street south of the Highway 5 exit off Highway 67/167. To get there from here, you take the first of the two ramps and let it swing you around to the right, then turn right and it’s a block down on the right. The place is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. (501) 941-0904.