We’re not going to tell you that the cuisine at Mickey’s Dining Car rates four stars. There are some things they serve we wouldn’t recommend at all. The pies, for example, are more easily identifiable by their color (red, yellow, blue) than by their designated ingredient (could it be fruit?).
On the other hand, breakfast is foursquare. Eggs are whipped up in a flash, blueberry-buttermilk pancakes are pretty fine, and the hash brown potatoes are available O’Brien-style, meaning mixed with diced ham, onion, and green peppers. We like the French toast made from the diner’s extra-thick white bread, and the morning special of pork chops or steak and eggs. While these chops bear little resemblance to the thick, tender ones you’ll get for supper in a high-priced restaurant, they have a flavorful hash-house charm all their own. The milk shakes are real, blended to order. And how many other joints do you know that still offer mulligan stew?
The best thing about Mickey’s Dining Car is Mickey’s Dining Car itself – a stunning yellow-and-red enamel streamliner built by the Jerry O’Mahony company in 1937. Although it has been well-used over decades of twenty-four hour service, it is still in magnificent shape. Complementing the Deco dazzle of the diner (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) is a juke box featuring Elvis and Del Shannon, and a staff of waiters and waitresses who have honed the art of service with a snarl. It’s not mean service, and it’s not bad service; in fact, it is efficient and polite … unless you are one of the frequent gawkers (we plead guilty) who come in to look around at the handsome joint and its colorful regular denizens. We who are too preoccupied to place our order swiftly and with no hesitation can find ourselves at the mercy of the hash-slingers, one of whom once told us, in no uncertain terms, “A museum, it’s not. You gonna eat or kick tires?”