Memorable | One of the Best
Suzie Q Cafe
Review by: trzhotel
From a distance, this place sticks out from the downtown area of Mason City. It’s in the corner of a parking lot. The red and black stripes on white are a bright contrast to the half-empty Midwestern city center.
The highlight of the menu is evident from their radio promo, which goes “spic ‘n span tenderloin suzie-q, Spic ‘N Span Tenderloin Suzie-Q, SPIC ‘N SPAN TENDERLOIN SUZIE-Q!”. The Spic-N-Span tenderloin is made from a cut of tenderized pork loin dipped in a seasoned batter and then deep-fried a few feet from where patrons are seated. The toasted bun absorbs tons of flavor on the greasy flat top cooking surface. The Spic-N-Span bursts with flavor and juicy pork. It’s also available as a melt with grilled onions and melted cheese on toasted bread.
It’s always great to find places where the owner is proud enough to show up and operate his business and mingle with his customers. But the owner of the Suzie-Q takes it a step further with magic performances as Levi the Great in the diner. His hanging banner claims he also performs as a clown or hypnotist. The performance is for a younger crowd, making an egg disappear from his hand for a small child.
The mix of office and construction workers that have been there during my visits make tons of conversation with whoever is working. Both of the people I have seen working behind the counter take time to interact with the customers and know many on a first-name basis.
A note about the building: the Suzie-Q Café operates from a vintage Valentine diner. It has less than ten seats inside. The Valentine company probably stopped producing accessories and parts a long time ago. Modern regulations on restaurant buildings mean that refurbishments have been necessary. The entryway in front of the door keeps the cold air from blowing in, but the non-original materials make it a sore spot on the exterior. The interior has pictures posted and promotional materials for the owner’s magician and entertaining business that break from the red-and-white color scheme. For more information about Valentine pre-fab diners, the Kansas Historical Society has a giant database of all the old Valentine diners on its website.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|