Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Small Town Diner

Well, life has seemingly been so busy lately that I haven't been posting to the blog quite as often as I would like. So here is the first post for the month of August.

The lovely spouse and I decided to take my new car out for a short spin on the Interstate to give it a quick exposure to what a road trip might be like. We didn't go far, but headed east on I-70 and exited at the small town of Strasburg, Colorado. There seems to be a bit of a housing boom going on in Strasburg, as one homebuilder is apparently cashing in by building homes a little cheaper than you can get them in the Denver area. The catch is that the approximately 40-to-50 mile, each way trek into town makes it not worth the price difference. Just the gasoline alone would add to the cost of living there.

That said, Strasburg is a nice little town out on the prairie. It is so flat out there that you would not think you are in the same state as Estes Park or Aspen. The terrain is more akin to our neighboring state of Kansas than it is to the Rocky Mountains for which Colorado is known.

It was getting into the afternoon hours and we were getting hungry, so we looked at the handful of choices in Strasburg for lunch, and saw there were quite a few cars at an establishment called the Nifty Fifties Diner. We have this rule when looking at unknown places to eat. That rule says that if the parking lot is empty, the food is probably not very good. With the traffic at the diner, we decided it would be a safe bet.

The first thing I noticed is that Strasburg time is slower than Denver time. It took a while for everything, from getting water, to the arrival of our food. Not an inordinately long time, but longer than I usually wait in Denver. The menu had a great variety of food, from meatloaf to chicken fried steaks to burgers to malts. We each decided to get a malt with our meal. Too bad we didn't take a closer look at the price before ordering. More on that later.

My wife had a grilled meatloaf sandwich, and I had the Heartbreak Hotel Hot Dog. The meatloaf was over an inch thick slice, grilled and put into a sandwich that looked delicious. My hot dog was also quite the feast. It was split butterfly fashion, and grilled; put in a foot-long bun and smothered in a chunky-style chili, with cheese, mustard, onions, and jalapeno slices topping it off. It was served with waffle fries. The dog was delicious, but was also so big that I could not finish it all without making myself overstuffed. I got about two-thirds of the way done and had to stop. I also ate about a third of the fries.

The only surprise came when we go the check. The total after tax and before tip was about $34! The big gotcha was the price of the malts. They were $4.99 each! Yikes. I might have settled on something else had I looked at the price. The malts were really good, but not overly big. They were thick and tasty, but at five bucks, I think they are a bit pricey. But then again, you are in Strasburg. Don't like the price, drive to Denver.

Bottom line, the Nifty Fifties Diner had tasty Americana diner fare. While the price is a bit on the upper end for this type of food, it is a good stop for non-chain road food when traveling across Colorado. And while this type of food is good once in a while, I would not recommend it as a steady diet if one expects to live a healthy life. I think it's time for some granola and yogurt!

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