I find that American diner food can be really hit or miss. Since most of the dishes served at these places are simple comfort foods it all comes down to how they are prepared and presented that really makes a difference between a mediocre meal and a delightful taste of Americana.
Auntie Mae’s Cafe, originally opened up at Central and Tyler several years ago and recently they expanded to an eastside location tucked away on the northeast corner of Harry and Webb. The new location was the home of a previous diner, so not many changes were needed outside or in. The interior is done up in classic 50s style with vinyl red and white booths. Assorted memorabilia adorn the walls reminding you of the good ole days. The only thing that seems out of place are the flat screen TVs, one of which appeared to play a continuous loop of Auntie Mae’s commercials, just in case you needed further reinforcement to continue your dining experience here.
The menu at Auntie Mae’s is a greatest hits of classic diner food. There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes from pancakes to burgers to chicken fried steak. They even sneaked a few salads onto the menu for those looking for something a bit lighter. Although their specialties are a cinnamon roll the size of a small child and chicken fried steak, after our holiday feasting we were looking for something not quite as heavy on our visit. They had several intriguing sandwiches and we ending up ordering a chicken salad sandwich and Michael’s Caramel Glazed Turkey.
The restaurant appeared to be moderately busy on this particular Sunday afternoon, but we ended up waiting nearly 45 minutes for our food to appear. Steph reported that the chicken salad was more like egg salad with some chicken mixed in. There was also a lack of grapes in the salad, which were mentioned on the menu description. While the sandwich wasn’t a total disaster, it wasn’t anything we would want to order again. My caramel glazed turkey sandwich was underwhelming as well. It was just chopped turkey with some shredded cheese and a small bit of caramelized onion. The single lettuce leaf and raw white onion on the side was a feeble attempt at a garnish I guess. The turkey was moist and flavorful, but it was not enough to save this sandwich from mediocrity. We both received large baskets of fries with our sandwiches, but for some reason only half of them were crispy. Those that were properly cooked were nice thick cut fries. Our sons mac and cheese looked and tasted very similar to something that came out of a box. One person in our group did order the chicken fried steak and reported that it was good. The portion sizes are large at Auntie Mae’s so there will be plenty of food to go around.
The long wait time and mediocre food were quite disappointing, but perhaps were ordered the wrong items. Maybe we needed to get a burger, or pancakes or one of the colossal cinnamon rolls, but after our first experience it will be hard to go back anytime soon. They did help us recover a toy that had fallen between the booths, so they get some points for customer service.