Diners are places I only saw in movies growing up — the checkered floors, the metal stools, the cushion booths. The closest thing I had was an American restaurant two blocks away from my house in Barcelona called “Peggy Sue’s,” which sold deep-fried mozzarella sticks, greasy hamburgers, creamy sundaes and even Dr. Pepper. The smell of oil lingering in the air outside made me nauseous, but there was something so tempting about that ’50s-themed bubblegum pink and baby blue replica diner that stood out among all the typical Barcelona establishments.
Since moving to the U.S., I go to diners very sporadically and only on certain occasions— meeting up with friends, celebrating something that is worthy of celebration or in the early hours of the morning on a stomach emptied by the late hours of the night. It is typically reserved for the weekend when a week of dysfunctional meals calls for a guilty pleasure of sugar and size.
It was unorthodox of me to go to Angelo’s on a Monday at 9 a.m. — after a game-day weekend and before an exam-ridden week — but my good friend Jonny was in town and we had been talking about going there for some time. In a little brick building off of Central Campus is a Greek family-owned diner that has been proudly serving since 1956. The décor is a breed of American diner and French café — with warm lighting, wooden chairs and paintings on the walls. The drip coffee behind the counter, the black and white tiles, and the bustling ambiance, however, reminded me that I was still in Michigan.
We began by ordering coffee — a cold Monday morning called for it — while we indecisively looked through the menu. We ordered regular coffee, but I was pleased to see that they offered espresso options too. I am a sweet-over-savory breakfast person, and while breakfast is one of my favorite meals, I never got used to American portion sizes. After debating whether to go for a regular omelet with toast or something more elaborate, I remembered my friend Samu suggested I get the eggs Benedict. As a vegetarian, the portabello mushroom option sounded delicious. Jonny ordered eggs, ham and spinach, and we split an order of pumpkin pancakes in an attempt to bask in the last days of fall and the many flavors it brings.
Served on their homemade toast rather than in the typical English muffin, the portabello Benedict was topped with tomato, poached eggs and a creamy hollandaise sauce. I gave one of the two slices to my friend, as it was incredibly filling and I wanted to indulge in the pancakes too. The sweetness of the sauce with the umami flavor of the mushrooms, and the texture of the egg with the crispy yet tender toast made for a delicious gustatory experience. The pancakes were soft and fluffy and the pumpkin flavor was enough to leave one dreading the arrival of winter.
While Angelo’s keeps the characteristics of a typical American diner with all its breakfast options, it also adapts to a wide array of palettes and appetites. Whether seeking a lazy and easy meal or a more sophisticated one, Angelo’s has enough options to mix and match to create the perfect experience for the morning.
For an Ann Arbor business, Angelo’s is fairly priced — quality, service and taste considered. Its extensive menu left me wanting to come back to try all its options — especially its waffles and its signature raisin bread. I am no diner connoisseur, of course, but I could tell Angelo’s was top-tier. Contrary to other diners I have been to in town, Angelo’s keeps the charm of its European roots, and the calm of knowing how to do things right. Its familiar ambiance made it a pleasant way to begin the week — with a full stomach and a gentle heart.
“On se régale!”
Daily Arts Writer Cecilia Duran can be reached at email@example.com.