Imagine walking into your aunt's kitchen for lunch on a weekday afternoon: the aroma of fried foods and hot soup fill the air and the television on the kitchen counter is tuned in to a soap opera or a day-time talk show. Homey pictures and clocks are scattered across the walls and every time the screen door swings open, someone familiar walks in.
That's the feeling you get at My House Diner. The small restaurant on Lewis Avenue in West Toledo skips all the frills and opts for simple decor, dinette sets, counter seating, vinyl booths, and a roll of paper towels on each table.
The menu is just as simple. With options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it boasts many American favorites, including a steak and eggs combo, featuring an 8-ounce New York strip steak, along with potatoes, and toast ($12.99), and cinnamon raisin french toast ($4.59). Other menu items include a grilled cheese sandwich ($2.29), chicken salad melt ($5.29), meat loaf dinner ($6.99), and chopped sirloin ($7.59).
During a Friday afternoon lunch visit, the place was packed. The waitresses and cook carried on conversations with patrons as if they were old friends or family. We started our meal with macaroni and cheese bites ($4.29), battered triangles of mac and cheese deep fried. The outside was crisp and firm, while the inside was filled with warm, gooey cheese and noodles. We also had a cup of homemade chicken noodle soup ($1.99), that lacked seasoning, but made up for it with crisp peas and carrots, generous portions of noodles and chicken chunks, and just enough broth to keep the pasta limp and the meat juicy.
For our entrees, we ordered a tuna melt on sourdough with American cheese ($4.99) and a fish sandwich ($5.79), which was traditional beer batter cod. We swapped out the potato chips for sweet potato fries, which turned out to be one of the highlights of our meal. The fries had a soft center, served with a caramel dip, and tasted as if they were seasoned with a hint of nutmeg and/or cinnamon.
The fettucini alfredo ($7.59) was overcooked and disproportionate. The noodles were too soft and there wasn't enough chicken to go with the heap of pasta. The homemade sauce, made of heavy cream, butter, garlic, and Parmesan, was smooth and creamy but bland.
On our second visit, we ordered breakfast for dinner, opting for the eggs, pork chops, and potatoes breakfast combo ($7.29). With everything cooked on two small grills, we weren't surprised that our fried egg white came scrambled, was gray and had bits of meat (beef, maybe?) in it. The hash browns were a mixture of mushy and crunchy potatoes.
The pork chops, while they were thick and juicy, were flavorless and tough. Maybe the fact that they were cooked at microwave speed has something to do with the leathery texture. The Philly steak ($7.59) fared better. The thinly sliced steak was well seasoned, covered with diced onion and green pepper, smothered with swiss cheese, and tucked inside of a warm hoagie.
The children's menu features the usual choices: chicken nuggets and fries ($3.79), hot dog with fries ($2.79), and french toast sticks ($2.29). A burger from the menu was more bun than burger. The oversized bun swallowed the small hand-made patty, leaving the kids asking "Where's the beef?"
MY HOUSE DINER
Address: 5450 Lewis Ave.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday; 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 24 hours Friday and Saturday; until 3 p.m. Sunday.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $
Credit Cards: Dis, MC, V.
Web site: None.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.