Did you figure out that last week’s review was about 157 Diner Family Restaurant at 115 N. Bluff Road in Collinsville? Our experience was pleasant, there was free wi-fi, the food was satisfying and the service exemplary.
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My regular dining companion and I were coming back from having our car looked at by our favorite mechanic and noticed a new little place we had never been to before. We noticed the outside and inside of the building were decorated with today’s representation of the Fabulous Fifties, with records, jukeboxes, poodle skirts, classic automobiles and advertisements of that era in American history. Counter seats, booths, two large round tables and a few smaller tables made use of every inch of floor space without feeling crowded. Satellite radio added to the late ‘50s/early ‘60s ambiance.
A whiteboard on the wall listed the day’s specials, but the restaurant was out of mashed potatoes, so that wrecked the open-faced roast beef sandwich. The menu listed at least 12 kinds of hamburgers, but I wasn’t in the mood for a burger. I finally opted for a fish sandwich and lemonade, but they were also out of lemonade. I wound up with Sierra Mist at $1.89, a fish sandwich for $5.69, and a salad and order of fries for an extra dollar. My dining partner requested Sierra Mist and a plate of supreme nachos for $5.99.
While we waited, I looked around. There was a flat-screen TV showing a gruesome true-crime re-enactment, and I requested that our server change the channel. She turned it off as soon as she had a minute free. No one was actively watching it, there was no sound or closed captioning on, and there were two young girls in the room. That kind of programming was upsetting and totally unnecessary.
I noticed there was free wi-fi and one restroom. It was clean and as lavishly decorated with ‘50s collectibles as the rest of the building. The toilet paper dispenser was empty, but a fresh roll was within easy reach.
My salad arrived, and although it was simple, it was very good. It consisted of iceberg lettuce, one slice of cucumber, a quarter of tomato and lots of shredded cheese. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, with no rust spots. With the blue cheese dressing, it was great.
And then we waited. When the rest of our meal finally arrived, I was very pleased with my sandwich. The fish was quite large, sticking out from the bread on both sides. The fries were battered, long and hot. My dining companion, however, was disappointed. The nachos were long triangles of flour tortillas, and were supposed to be covered with cheese sauce, jalapeños, onions, lettuce, tomato, beef and shredded cheese along with salsa and sour cream on the side, according to the menu. He said they were covered with lettuce, cheese sauce and a little bit of meat. No jalapeños, no salsa, no sour cream, no shredded cheese. I have never seen my friend this unhappy with a meal before.
Overall: 4 stars
Cleanliness: 4 1/2 stars
Wait staff: 4 stars
Food: 3 1/2 stars
See if you can find out where this little restaurant is and its name.
The Secret Diner
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