People, places and food

At the Coffee Shop

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Usually on Sundays, the wife and I go out for breakfast at some local place to get out of the house.  There is always the option of the big franchise places; McDonalds, Bob Evans, Burger King, Dunkin, etc., but we like the local spots. There is just something about the small diner, full of locals who have visited there a long time, and the coziness of the old interiors that make you feel comfortable.  I love those places and we even hunt them out when we are traveling. 

Recently, we discovered a place in West Milton called the Bulldog Diner. It is everything a small, local establishment should be: small, familiar faces, great food, and an atmosphere that can’t be beat.  Rose and I stopped in and they open at 8:00 a.m. on Sundays, so we had to wait about 5 minutes for them to open.  There was a large local contingent waiting to get in, so we stood in line and talked to some people we had never met before. 

You know, just  like small town people do, they were friendly and after a few minutes it seemed like we were regulars! This was our second trip to the Bulldog, we went several months ago with our friends the James’s, and really enjoyed it.  This time, we went in and noticed that several tables had been already set up, waiting on the regulars to come in.  We found a booth, and sat down by a lady who has been there forever, and her place was already set, she didn’t even order….the cook knew what she always got and it was there in a very short time. 

Our food was very good, and served with a smile and the conversation with the older lady was really fun.  After we left, I got me to thinking about some places in Greenville I have been going to that have the same atmosphere, and great quality of food and service that have been there trademark for years.

The first place is the Front Street Inn.  Owned by Monica Saintignon, the Front Street Inn has been a place for me since I was a real youngster, over 60 years.  It has had numerous owners, but somehow, it has maintained its look and local charm that people love.  The service is always quick and good, and the food is always good.  The people are all the same, some like me have been there since they can remember.  The “Liars Corner” sign in the back by the round table has been there since the early 70’s, I believe. Tom Karnham, who worked for DP&L was a woodworker who brought it in one morning when I was there, and it has been there ever since!

It is still one of my favorite places, and I will continue to go there as long as I can.  If you haven’t been, you need to go.  It is not fancy, it is not huge, but it is home, and Monica and the staff make you feel like you belong there.

Another place is the M&M Diner located in the old Palace department store in the east end of the building.  Operated by Shellie Walker, it is another local, small, good food place that makes you feel at home.  Shellie’s mom ran it for a long time, and now that Shellie has taken over, little has changed……and I think that’s good!  The people there frequent the place often, and it is never unusual to see the same folks time after time. 

A small group of us meet there every Friday morning, to shoot the bull, and tease Shellie and each other mercifully. We have solved many world problems there (people just won’t listen to us though!) and talked about the old times we remember.  Jim Anderson, a longtime friend from Wayne Lakes, is my main target, and I am his, too!  You gotta love a place that makes you feel that comfortable.  The M&M Diner does.

There are other local places in our county that are the same, and I hope they all continue to operate long after I am gone.  Local places are the best, and bring out the best in everyone, you never see anyone unhappy at a local diner or restaurant.  It is full of people we know, and people who are of like mind; they enjoy people, good food, and the friendships found in these places. 

Go find some of the local gems, sit down, enjoy a meal and meet the people who are there. There is nothing like small hometown places…….a good place to meet, eat and smile…..at the coffee shop.