For the last three summers, we've driven by this diner around the corner from our house always saying we should go have brekky there. Finally, with my sister and her fiancee visiting us in Madison last week, we introduced the kiddos to the American diner.
Walking into the restaurant felt a little like stepping back in time to the 50s.
From the black and white checked linoleum floors and the red vinyl stools, to the collections of match books and vintage photos of downtown Madison, it was clear to see that the owner has a passion for collecting memorabilia from the past.
Matt, our friendly server, was happy to give us the history of the diner as well as recommendations of other fun things happening in our neighbourhood. The building has always been a diner. Fair Oaks Diner has been there for 20+ years and before that it was Bev's Diner before they moved their location to East Wash.
The kiddos couldn't get over the size of their pancakes, and I enjoyed the diner coffee and my hearty egg brekky. I was impressed that anything on their menu was available all day long and that there were lots of vegetarian options, too, yet it wasn't a fussy hipster kind of place. Matt explained that they cater to the locals, some of whom work the night shift and come in early in the morning for their dinner.
It is easy to see that the diner is a neighbourhood favorite, and I got the sense that Matt probably knew most of the customers by name. He was quickly learning all he could about us and I'm sure will recall those details when we stop in again. I appreciate these kinds of stores and restaurants because they make me feel nostalgic for a time past, and remind me why I love the friendliness of the Midwest.
Probably my favorite thing about this diner is the neon sign outside. It's simple and iconic. It glows red from dawn to dusk.
And, now it means something more because each summer, we're locals here.