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Panclog #37: Downtown Diner

 Dining at a Diner in a Downtown
2/26/18 7:00 AM

Downtown Diner is right down the road from another Panclog spot, Mom’s Kitchen! Downtown Diner is located at 409 E Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS 66061. They are open Sun-Tues 6A-2:30P and all the other days 6A-9P. Downtown Diner does not have a website.

Location/Environment: Downtown Diner is right next to the Olathe courthouse.  Courthouses are almost always surrounded by a certain type of business. That business is bail bondsman.  Downtown Diner shares a parking lot with Shane’s Bail Bonds.  The environment is one of an old Chinese restaurant. The building once belonged to Ping’s Chinese Restaurant. The dining room is divided into 2 sections and a bar with seating area.

Service: Service at the restaurant was interesting although it was rather slow.  Our server spent a good portion of the morning chattering away with family in China over skype. It seems her mother or mother-in-law was facing surgery and she called to help provide some cheer and comfort. We hope everything turned out well for her family. The gregarious server did interact with us in a fun and open way throughout the morning. She even impelled Brent to sign up online at the DMV so that he would not have to wait too long once there.

Menu/Selection: Downtown Diner has a pretty standard diner menu.  They boast a menu with 16 different omelet varieties, 8 egg benedict varieties, and a burger called “Heart Stopper.” The heart stopper is 2 grilled cheese sandwiches as buns, double burger patties, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and of course bacon.  So i’d say they have a bit of variety, wouldn’t you? Let’s stop talking about what we didn’t get and dive in to what we did:

Banana Caramel French Toast (Jared!)

My panclog pals, I do not know if you know this about me, but I am a big big fan of disc golf. I have been playing regularly for 3ish years now.  I have a good pal at work, Matthew, who invited me to play randomly once and we have been playing at least once a week since. Rain, snow, or shine we get to playing sometime.  Why am I telling you about this lovely hobby of mine? It’s because if it weren’t for disc golf, I would not know about Downtown Diner. We were playing the Lakeside Hills course in Olathe and our coworker at the time, Karla,  said we should grab breakfast after the round.  She questioned if any of us had tried Downtown Diner. None of the group had. She said we have to go. I never object to breakfast. A Peanut Butter & Jelly French toast later and I knew there had to be a panclog review on this fine establishment.

Let’s chat about the toast from France.  I tend to not choose french toast over the other breakfast breads.  I think I would rank the hierarchy of breakfast breads as followed:     1. Pancakes. 2. French Toast. 3. Waffles

I think I shy away from French toast because I find pancakes more filling and I have been scorned by very egg-y toast before.  I must say the french toast in the picture below are quite delicious. I mean, just look at them.



First I will say that this french toast did not need the bananas nor caramel to be some of the best french toast that I’ve ever had.  This toast does not seem to be cooked on a griddle or flat top. I may be wrong, but I believe they are shallow fried.  I’m sure that’s a thing. The banana and caramel did not enhance the meal above and beyond.  It was simply some nice fluff.  Next time I will not be choosing these add-ons.  I did not need any syrup for the french toast. The caramel and whipped cream added enough moisture to start that critical breaking down of the structure of the french toast.  Bacon is always a great pairing with a sweet breakfast treat. The crispy, peppery flavors of bacon reminds your mouth not to go all-in on the sugary goodness of the french toast.  Sometimes you just have to put your taste buds in their place.

I will absolutely be having a meal at Downtown Diner again.  I sure hope it is busier next visit.  This place deserves business.

I got coffee, bacon, and the caramel banana french toast with tip for $16.79.

I’d like to recommend you listen to Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.” It is just a beautiful upbeat song.  Plus it is a nice mystery. Why is Paul wanting to be called Al?  If you find out please let me know.

French Toast Platter (Brent)

Stepping into the Downtown Diner in Olathe, KS is quite a striking experience. The initial impression the establishment provides is one of a gritty, old, experienced diner. From the inside out you feel diner’s age as it permeates every aspect of the restaurant. I expected to see a couple truck drivers sitting at the counter swapping stories and lies about the road with a loud cook in the back slinging hash.

Upon closer inspection though, you notice the accouterments of a Chinese restaurant. The tables are stamped with various logograms that I assume are hanzi. The diner also displays other artistic elements of East Asian stylistic origin. This diner forces a fusion of cultures that is absolutely delightful. Common ground can be found between art, décor, and, most importantly, breakfast.

We entered the Downtown Diner to a space devoid of customers. This concerned me a little thinking that there is something that others know that I do not know about this place. Sitting there for a bit, Jared wondered if we would complete the entire breakfast buddies experience without another customer entering the building. We came awfully close to seeing this happen, as we made it all the way through eating our meal before another soul showed up.

The menu options offered are all pretty standard. As we perused the menu our first cup of coffee was delivered. Their coffee was fine. Nothing special. Nothing earth shattering. It simply tasted like a cup of Folgers. This isn’t a bad thing, just not an exciting thing.

I ordered French toast for breakfast, which caused our server to emphatically say, “Our French toast is the best!”

“Bold words,” I thought to myself as I squinted back at her with a steely glare. Bold words indeed.

An order of French toast comes with a few side options: eggs (scrambled of course), choice of meat (I went with sausage), and choice of potato (hash browns). The eggs and sausage were pretty nondescript. I would not go so far as to say flavorless, but the word bland comes strongly to mind.

I had high hopes for the hash browns though. Getting hash browns at a seedy diner is one of my favorite things, because they are usually fried crisp with a hint of onion, and a fair amount of black pepper. These came out slightly crispy but I could not taste much in the way of seasoning. To make matters worse, the hash browns were slightly undercooked and soft in my opinion. I did share them with Jared – I wonder if his opinion differs.

The French toast was excellent. This tasty treat lived up to exactly what our host said it was. Downtown Diner makes amazing French toast. The French toast had a distinct sweetness to it with a hint of cinnamon. The toast actually had a streusel like crust to it. Not an overwhelming amount of streusel but enough to add an interesting texture. Speaking of texture, the toast had a pleasant crunch on the outside and a soft tender center. It is usually necessary to add something sweet to French toast like syrup or a fruit compote, but Downtown Diner’s does not require it. All that is necessary is a little butter and you can experience a quick trip to joy.

Overall: We would be happy to add the Downtown Diner to the regular rotation. The overall experience was interesting and fun. Of course every breakfast buddies is interesting and fun.

Brent: B
Jared: B-

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #36: Village Inn

Villages may vary in visceral reactions
1/26/18 7:00 AM

Happy 2018, Panclog Pals. I bet you were wondering when you would receive a new edition of your favorite breakfast-themed blog.  My excuse for the absence happens to be the best one you can have. In fact, I have 2. TWINS!!37-Sova-47

My babies are nothing short of enablers of my breakfast addiction.  Almost every day we bind over breakfast. A bottle, a bowl of cereal, and a comfy chair are the ingredients for a lovely breakfast.

Village Inn is a nearly nationwide upscale-diner chain  that has over 200 locations.  The Panclogsters went to the Village Inn in Mission, KS at Johnson Drive and Metcalf.  They are open from 6 AM to 10 PM everyday. Check out their website to find a local locale.

Location/Environment: This Village Inn is located in a growing area or perhaps a better word would be refurbishing area. There are construction sites all around this clearly aging building.  Some would say that this building will “slowly disappear” if not updated in the coming years.  The first thing you see when walking in is the always tempting display case of fresh pies.

Service: The service was standard. Coffee was filled when needed. No recommendations of meals was made. But no recommendations were needed.  A manager checked the Panclogsters out and made sure our trip was a successful one.

Wait time for food: 7 minutes

Menu/Selection: The menu is very similar to a past panclog establishment, Perkin’s.  It has breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They both also feature their house-made pies.  Check out their menu if you don’t believe us. They do have a nice feature called Inn-credible V.I.B.  Thisis a feature similar to a u-pick 2.  But it is actually pick 4!  So that is a nice wrinkle in the morning.  Create your own combo. Let’s dive into our selections:

Belgian Waffle Combo (Brent)

6 am comes early. But, if you want to successfully experience Breakfast Buddies that is often the time you need to get up; the event starts promptly at 7 am. There is no need to worry if you are late though, we will still hug you, we will still share our coffee, we will still share our excess carbs, but, you just might miss solving the crossword with us. Let’s face it folks, your faithful Pancloggers have become senior adults. Someone fire up dinner and have it ready by 4:30 pm, papa is headed for bed about 8.

Our premature aging was evidenced quite clearly at our chosen establishment this fine morning. As it seems our restaurant of choice today was well populated with an older generation. I have always felt that I would make an excellent senior adult, especially considering how quickly I am approaching it. It is a given that my wife and children would suggest that I have already achieved senior adult status.

On this fine morning we found ourselves at the Village Inn, a restaurant that my wife and I used to live right next too. However, I believe this is the first time I have frequented the establishment. The Village Inn is pretty simple to describe: it is a restaurant in the same vein as Perkins. The Village Inn offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they have a lovely display case of pies and other baked items, and they offer a diner like atmosphere.

Speaking of the restaurant’s atmosphere the Village Inn location we visited is clearly showing its age. This is not a problem per se, but unfortunately, the surrounding area is undergoing a bit of a renewal. There are many brand new shops and restaurants being added, and several older ones are getting a brand new facade. My concern is that if the  Village Inn does not have a plan to refurbish its look, it will slowly disappear. For those unaware, many are beginning to believe that there is a Panclog curse. It seems that your fair and easy on the eyes Pancloggers have caused the unfortunate closing of several restaurants. Will the Village Inn be next? I do not know, but I suggest you get out there as soon as possible, in case it does close.

Did you notice that I said they have a lovely display case of pies? I am still dreaming of the White Chocolate Cherry Dream pie, the Key Lime pie, Lemon Meringue, French Silk, and Country Apple. I am overloaded with a desire to experience a full on sugar coma driven by an overconsumption of various pies. Looking at the website you will see an amazing offer, one free piece of pie with any other purchase on Wednesdays. The website even has a handy dandy countdown clock for the momentous event. Sadly, we did not get to participate in this promotion because we showed up on a Friday. With a little bit of research we could have left extra happy, but now I am just overly disappointed. I feel that Jared owes me a return trip for a Wednesday lunch.

Now we must turn ourselves to breakfast. I ordered my current go to breakfast of a Belgian waffle, sausage links, and scrambled eggs.


The waffle was slightly overdone but came with a more than sufficient amount of margarine. While I prefer butter over margarine, with enough of either, it can ease the crispiness of an overdone waffle. The waffle lacked a touch of sweetness, like powdered sugar or a fruit compote. Some would point me to syrup, but I am currently working on learning to like it, thus I think syrup spoils a tasty treat. Village Inn’s waffle also had a strong malt flavor. I am not a fan of a lot of malt flavoring as it makes a food item taste dusty. I get that may sound odd, but too much malt causes a dust storm in my mouth. It is this reason that I prefer a straight up milkshake over a frozen malt.

The sausage was, fine. Nothing special. Nothing spectacular. Nothing earth shattering. The sausage was just fine. One hopes when biting into any type of sausage, be it a bratwurst, hot dog, or any other type of sausage is a nice clean snap on the casing. Followed quickly by an explosion of juice that fills the palate with flavor. This sausage, while it tasted fine, did not meet any of these qualities.

The menu said the dish came with one egg cooked however you like it. It seems that they did not say what type of egg was being offered. My guess is that they had a case of Quail eggs or Robin eggs, because this was certainly not a grade A, large egg. I can sum up my feelings about Village Inn’s eggs with one word: pitiful.

Like my assessment of the sausage, the breakfast offered by Village Inn was fine. I would not add them to the regular breakfast location rotation. In fact, I would be fine with never going back again. Village Inn is not bad, but it is not good either. If someone offered to take me there I would be fine with it, but I would not suggest it as a location to experience again. So it is up to Jared to take me to lunch on a Wednesday so that I can get a free piece of pie.

  Strawberry Blintzes and Coffee (jared)


Let’s start this like any research paper that a sub-par student.  A definition and a bunch of blabbering that will help out with the word count requirement.  Oh, no one else did that? Just me? Alrighty Then!
What is a “Blintz?” The Free Dictionary website defines it as: A thin pancake, usually wrapped around a cheese filling, sauteed or baked, and topped with sour cream, fruit, or powdered sugar.

I discovered blintzes while working at the DoubleTree Hotel.  The chef made it for special events such as holiday brunches or fancy employee functions.  Therefore I equate this treat as a delicacy.  This is the first time I have seen this special pancake dish on a chain restaurant’s menu.  Village Inn was offering it with either a strawberry or blueberry topping.  I chose the former.

Village Inn has had a soft spot in my mind for about 18 years. My childhood best friend, Cameron, invited me on a little road trip where his mother had some business to do.  We were in a town that I had no idea existed.  At 10, my life circle was very small.  Cameron and I in the backseat talking about nothing but everything to a child’s brain.  When Cameron’s mom asked if we were hungry, our preteen stomachs screamed, “Absolutely!”

We stopped at a place that Cameron’s mom experienced when she was a child.  That place was Village Inn.  What made this trip even more special than just being on a road trip, was the fact that we were allowed to order off the “big” menu.  No kid’s menu for me.  I was a grown-up if only for a meal.  It was a freeing experience.  I got pancakes.  They were fine but special none the less.

I had not been back to a Village Inn until this meeting of the Breakfast Buddies.

My Blintzes were delicious. A beautiful pairing of Ricotta and cream cheese.  The texture was light and fluffy. The sour cream on top melted into a good counterbalance to the sweetness of the strawberry topping. I was disappointed in the strawberry topping.  It was simply a strawberry compote.  Has a compote ever tasted “fresh” at a diner?  I don’t believe so.  But I’d love to find one.  I was also underwhelmed with the price of the blintzes.  $8.99 felt too much for 3 blintzes and no sides.

Coffee is also known as delicious dirty water.  This makes me feel like it should not be over $2.  At Village Inn, coffee is $2.19.  Yes, I am happy that it is a bottomless cup, but the price point reminds me of when my amazing mother took me and my siblings to a all-you-can-eat buffet, she would state to all of us “eat your worth.”  While that made those trips more worthwhile.  It does not make for a happy stomach when it comes to coffee.

I’d like to recommend not one but 2 songs that have been on repeat in my head. First is Kendrick Lamar’s LOVE. Ft. Zacari.  The second is The Avett Brothers with Murder in The City. If you don’t enjoy either of those, you have bad taste. Don’t @ me.

Overall: Village Inn is a chain diner that is hit-or-miss.  It isn’t outstanding for breakfast nor is it terrible.  It won’t be added to our regular rotation for breakfast.  But it should not be shunned all together.  Middle of the road.

Grade: Brent: C-
Jared: C+

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

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