site stats
Dining Out: Ellen’s Diner goes big on the portions for breakfast |

Dining Out: Ellen’s Diner goes big on the portions for breakfast

PRINCEVILLE — The village of Princeville caught some newspaper headlines a few weeks back with the high school softball team’s gritty run to the state semifinals.


It got me thinking about the dining options available in the far north village in Peoria County. On a recent Friday morning, a guest and I trekked over there to try out Ellen’s Diner, a venerable little greasy spoon with a sterling reputation.

Located on the village’s main business district, Ellen’s Diner was easy enough to find once we spotted the trademark coffee mug in the logo. We found a parking spot just outside — the spot also happened to be next to a parked lawnmower.

Upon entering, it was easy to tell a group of regulars had stopped by that morning for some breakfast. The titular Ellen was serving everyone their usual and could recite each person’s name. A long table was being reserved for the famed “Biker Boys,” a group of Caterpillar retirees who bicycle together to the diner every Friday morning.

We sidled up to the bar seating and pored over the menu. The diner serves breakfast and lunch, with the breakfast menu mainly composed of skillets, platters, omelets, breakfast sandwiches and pancakes. My guest ordered the Scott’s Breakfast ($8), an all-meat omelet with hashbrowns. Meanwhile, I took a stab at the Breakfast Burrito ($5) with a side of bacon ($2.50) and an orange juice ($1.50).

Conversation filled the diner as we waited for our food to arrive. It’s a no-frills place in a comfortable way; there’s a real ease about things here. Ellen took some time to make conversation with my guest and I, not once mistaking us for strangers.

In no time at all, the food arrived. It’s probably common knowledge around Princeville, but our first observation was the sheer size of the portions. My guest was served a hefty omelet, packed in with sausage, ham and bacon. And my burrito was nothing short of hefty. The burritos doled out by Qdoba and Chipotle are dwarfed in comparison.

The quality isn’t skimped upon, either, with the large quantity of food. The diced sausage combined with eggs, cheese, green peppers and mushrooms added up to a delight of a breakfast burrito. In hindsight, the side of bacon was ill-advised with the behemoth of a burrito I received, but each thick-cut slice was excellent. The orange juice seemed freshly squeezed and quenched my thirst after conquering the burrito. My fellow eater said his omelet was easily one of the best he’d encountered.

Throughout the meal, Ellen was a delight to converse with, making a few out-of-towners feel at home. Ellen’s Diner is one of those few places that are still cash or check for payments, a small inconvenience and one that is easily remedied by a trip to the ATM across the street.

Alas, we ended up departing before the Biker Boys arrived for breakfast. But it’s easy to see why they make the diner their destination each week — you simply cannot beat that amount of food at such an affordable price for breakfast. Ellen makes sure you never leave hungry.

 

Thomas Bruch can be reached at 686-3262 or tbruch@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasBruch.

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.