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Dining Out: Bartonville Diner filled with comforting breakfast options … |

Dining Out: Bartonville Diner filled with comforting breakfast options …

BARTONVILLE — The parking lot told us everything we needed to know.

Late for a breakfast, early for a lunch and nearly every space outside Bartonville Diner, 1420 W. Garfield Ave., was taken on a Saturday morning. Nearly every table inside, too, from the booths that line the walls to the small tables for two and four in the middle of the single-room restaurant.

And still, service was hopping. The friends we met there had been seated for just a few minutes and already had been checked on a few times for drink orders and other introductory requests. Seconds after we joined them, another such check set in quick motion our beverage orders, iced tea ($1.99) and hot coffee ($1.49), for the latter of which the serving staff demonstrated an eagerness to provide refills.

Fair warning, the menu is a small book, with four pages of all-day breakfast offerings — pancakes, waffles, omelettes, skillets, all manner of meat-and-egg combinations — and a further six pages of sandwiches, soups and entrees, not to mention other space for starters, desserts and choices for seniors and kids.

None of the fare is overly complicated, but instead no-frills, reliable and recognizable choices. Though it was pushing on toward noon, we were all more inclined to the breakfast side of the menu.

My guest zeroed in quickly on the strawberry banana pancakes ($6.99), a trio of wide flapjacks the size of a small plate, topped with strawberries and strawberry sauce — she omitted the bananas — and covered with generous dollops of whipped cream. No syrup needed to get your sweet tooth going on this one.

Another of our friends enjoyed the French toast combo ($7.39), which comes with two eggs, two strips of bacon and two pieces of thin French toast. (Two menu options for just a French toast meal let diners calibrate their appetite between thinner slices of bread and thicker ones.)

The last two of us ended up unintentionally nearly duplicating orders. We both selected the supreme skillet ($8.49), a mixture of hash browns and ham, bacon, sausage, green pepper, onion, mushrooms and Swiss cheese, topped with two eggs. I went with toast, the other friend with the biscuit-and-gravy side.

Like most skillets, it was predictably enormous. The various cured meats meant it needed no salt at all, and the sundry meats and veggies were in good proportion to one another. My toast was a bit dry, holding up better to scoop up bits of the breakfast, while the friend pronounced his gravy nicely creamy.

If you have room for it, fresh pies are on offer, as well as plenty of milkshake and sundae choices to help you linger longer over conversation.


Chris Kaergard can be reached at or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.

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