Something I have truly missed since moving from Detroit to Cleveland is the old fashioned coney island. A coney island for those of you who don't know is the marvelous place where chili dog meets cheese fries and goes on a date with milkshake... sometimes for breakfast, and sometimes for fourth meal. The thing about a coney is more times than not you can usually get an omelette that is the size of your face. Portions are generous, cheese oozes, and the price is always pretty darn cheap.
My manager Clarence swears by Big Al's Diner in Cleveland near Shaker Square. He promised me that the breakfast made to order would alter my world. I'm not sure that my world tilted to its side, but I am pretty sure that I found my Cleveland Diner.
When we arrived the place was PACKED. We were actually sat at a table touching another table, it was the kind of environment where it would have been rude if I had not introduced myself to my neighbors to the right. Even in such close quarters, there was something very perfect about sharing the lunch table with perfect strangers.
The coffee was fabulous, I had three cups. It was difficult to get all three poured, in fact I had to set my cup on the lunch counter to get someones attention.
I ordered a cheese, mushroom, and ham omelette with grits and dry rye bread. The BEST part about this meal was that at no point was it sitting under a heat lamp. score.
The mushrooms were thick sliced, and had a baby bella essence about them, really tasty. There was a ton of American cheese and lots of small ham squares. I should have pulled a John Petrou (my father) and asked for my ham to not be chopped into tiny baby finger pieces.
Grits are something I am trying to make myself like... without tons of butter and cheese, not as easy as you might think. Grits have almost no fiber, but I have read that they are high in iron, and the folate they contain help prevent birth defects in your future progeny... get out of town. The grits were pretty great, did I add at least one little gold wrapper of butter? Of course I did, I have almost no self control.
The dry rye toast was dry rye toast..
Al's is a great place to dine. I enjoyed the atmosphere, I enjoyed the semi large omelette, and it is a corner spot that I look forward to hitting up again sometime soon.