Featured Restaurant: Angie’s Diner in Logan, Utah
Ok, I’ll admit it; I’ve never been a big diner guy. Just haven’t. That is until a few years ago, when I began watching “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” on the Food Network. Ever since then I’ve had an inkling to get into real deal ‘local’ type diners and sample all the homemade, artery-clogging goodness which we inevitably associate with these American icons.
A couple weeks ago I had the chance to visit just such a place. With my mother in town on a visit, I took her out to a local institution out here in Logan, Utah – Angie’s Diner.
Angies’ slogan is “Where the Locals Eat,” and from a quick perusal around the restaurant it was apparent that this mantra rings true. From local USU students to the blue collar people of Logan itself, Angie’s is the kind of place where the waitresses are on a first name basis with the patrons, and over-caffeinated college students congregate before heading back to their all night study sessions.
Now, you should know that Angie’s is more than a local hang-out place. It is, by all accounts, the kind of place that really should be featured on “Triple D.” Open since 1983, Angie’s offers all the classics of breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus an extensive dessert menu which features their famous “Kitchen Sink.” If you’ve ever driven around Logan, chances are you’ve seen bumper stickers proclaiming “I cleaned the Kitchen Sink,” – a reference to conquering the $10.99 ice cream sundae-on-steroids that is made up of two bananas, six mounds of ice cream, three different toppings, whipped cream, as well as an army of nuts and cherries.
Unfortunately, my first visit to Angie’s would not be the night in which I ‘cleaned the sink.’ But that doesn’t mean the trip wasn’t in vain, as Angie’s has plenty of enticing options to offer. My friends have always told me that the portions at Angie’s are ridiculously huge, and being a somewhat money strapped college student myself, I decided to order off the diner’s “Lite” dinner menu on my visit. Don’t let the term “lite” throw you off, however, as these dishes aren’t exactly for the calorie-conscious crowd. Touting the 13 menu items as “lighter portions” in “lighter prices,” Angie’s offers up all the hometown favorites. From country style fried chicken to liver and onions to chicken fried steak, each menu item comes in at under 11 bucks and includes a choice of a potato, veggie, soup or salad, and a dinner roll.
I decided to go with the Liver and Onions. At $7.99 it seemed like a great bargain, and my waitress (a delightful young women from USU) was really high on it when I inquired. For my sides, I went with a plain baked potato, steamed broccoli, and the soup of the day (Tomato Florentine). My mom ended up getting the night’s special; grilled Tilapia with breaded shrimp.
It wasn’t long before my soup and roll came out of the kitchen. With service that quick you might assume that the food would be anything but homemade, but exactly the opposite was the case. The Tomato Florentine soup was a great way to start the meal. Not overly light, it was filled with tender carrots and celery pieces that floated in a sweet tomato stock with just enough fat globules to give the broth a meaty undertone. Two thick Italian sausage pieces tasted of fennel and escarole, while this soup was by no means shortchanged in the pasta department. I would have gladly dunked my roll into the soup, except that the gigantic rolls themselves were so delicious, airy and buttery-sweet that they were a pleasure to enjoy on their own.
Not long after clearing my appetizer plate (which I rarely do) my plate of Liver and Onions arrived from the kitchen. Oh man what a sight! Instantly I berated myself for not frequenting more diners in my life. Was this standard diner fare, or something extraordinary? Putting the thought aside for a moment I dug in. A thick slab of smoky bacon displayed excellent crispiness and brown sugar-sweetness without being overly greasy, while the generous portion of liver beneath the amalgamation of onions and bacon was, without question, one of the best cuts of meat I have ever consumed from a cow. No joke! The meat was tender and juicy without being too ‘buttery’ – something I hate in liver. The natural beef flavor was the star here, displaying that lean sweetness that stands out all on its own. I didn’t find any ‘stringy’ pieces of liver, and greedily ate up my portion. Unfortunately, the onions weren’t so much to my liking. They tasted overly of the griddle, with the natural sweetness overwhelmed by a taste of clarified butter. Despite this shortcoming, the liver itself was worth the price of admission, and that’s not even counting the baked potato and broccoli florets I also gobbled up.
Angie’s is the kind of place which inevitably makes you feel at home, even if in your home you’re not used to the standard diner fare. The wait staff is amiable and upbeat, while the portions make the prices extremely reasonable. Once more, Angie’s is a great place to go on a cold winter night, and a local establishment that proves even blue collar restaurants can serve outstanding cuisine.
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