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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Rosie Sunday Afternoon

Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 01:11 PM

131I was gazing at the photos that feature this week’s post and I am shocked that it has already been almost 4 months since we visited this place. I guess that’s a testament to how it settles with you, because it truly does not feel that long ago.  Plus, I looked so tan and happy in my shorts…wow it’s hard to believe I am now contemplating Thanksgiving meals and Christmas decorations. Time just goes way too quickly my friends.

But this week I want to showcase a happening spot that is not necessarily in a “destination city,” but rather a good ol’ Midwestern local that could easily be a stopping point along the way. For the past 5 summers, Adam’s family and I have been spending a week in South Haven, MI, about 2 1/2 hours away, right on Lake Michigan.  It is a beautiful little city, chalked full of quaint old homes, shops, and restaurants; and our next feature spot just happens to be only 45 minutes away.  So as we planned our trip this past summer, we knew we were going to have to take advantage of the proximity and pay Rosie’s Diner in Rockford, MI a visit.

Rosie’s Diner is just that…an old school dining car that was made popular in the 40’s & 50’s. The car itself actually dates back to 1946 when it was located as the Silver Dollar Diner in New Jersey.  Back then it was featured in many “Bounty” commercials, with a well known character, “Rosie the Waitress.”  It remained in Jersey until 1991 when Jerry Berta purchased the dining car and relocated it to Michigan to sit alongside his existing 1947 Jerry O’Mahoney Dining Car, which served as an art gallery. Then, to complete his dining car collection, Jerry purchased the Garden of Eatin’ car from Fulton, New York in 1994.  So yes that is correct…there is not one, but THREE old-time dining cars that sit together on this property; and as of 2006, a new owner, Jonelle Woods and her husband, took over the establishment and have been busy re-introducing this traditional diner feel with a modern flair, which includes an updated menu with some old family recipes that Jonelle had handy. Additionally, they have recently began finishing renovations on the adjacent dining cars, turning one into a rockin’ sports bar and the other that is soon to be an ice-cream parlor.

Sound good so far? Well, Rosie’s happened to catch our eye on an episode of Travel Channel’s Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives,” and at first glance we were sure this was going to be a place we were going to like…

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What’s not to like…a fun atmosphere, fresh home cooking and diner classics…sign me up!

So we headed on up after we packed up from our week of vacation for one last meal together.  You would think with three dining cars lined up together this place would be hard to miss, but nonetheless, Adam and I were so busy checking out our GPS to make sure we didn’t, that we drove right by it! 🙂  Luckily it was an easy fix and quite a site when we finally did pull into the lot…

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I mean it really does look like you have stepped into the past when you drive up and even more so when you step inside.  So we quickly settled in and perused the menu, because we were all starving!  I knew after watching the clip that I definitely wanted to try some of their special Cobblestone French Toast, but a burger and onion rings sounded great as well.  Luckily my father-in-law also wanted to try that toast, so we got an order for the whole table to try.  (I think he and I ate most of it though)!  Adam wanted to try the Beef and Noodles he had seen prepared on the show…leave it to my hubby to go for the comfort food dish. 😉  My sis-in-law and mother-in-law pretty much stuck to typical diner fair of soup and sandwiches, however my brother-in-law was BOLD and went with something I have seen other places, but never have been daring enough to order myself…the Fat Burger…a double cheese-burger that has 2 full-size grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun…Yup you heard me right!

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I was not kidding about the 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, a.k.a the bun of the fat burger.  But I tried a bite and I must admit it that it was pretty freaking good!  I seriously doubt that I could stomach the whole thing, but the one rich bite was awesome.  My burger was also good…just a good ol’ standard diner burger, cooked perfectly, seasoned well, and a great bun to complement.

Still, what was really amazing was that French toast…OMG!  The chunks of apple were seriously tasty and the whole dish just melded together perfectly…not too sweet with a great punch of cinnamon, and not overly greasy.  As I said, the father-in-law and I had no problem polishing it off.  Adam seemed to enjoy his beef & noodles, but I don’t think it was the best thing he has ever eaten. He mentioned he would have liked more of the gravy, which was very tasty.

As a whole, everyone seemed pretty impressed with their food; and what was even better is they are known for their pies, so pie was definitely on the to-go list to enjoy later (which was also very yummy).  And for you families out there, this joint even has a miniature golf course out back…how fun is that?

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SIGNATURE DISH: Although they are really just known for their diner fare, they do have a few dishes that they seem to specialize in.  Their Cobblestone French Toast is definitely a one-of-a- kind special, as well as they have every kind of pie under the sun, homemade no less.  Also, the beef & noodles is a family recipe. As for their other dishes, they are fairly typical of most diners, but definitely have that homemade touch.

TASTE: Overall I think we were all pretty impressed with each dish we had.  Some of the things were definitely much better than others (a.k.a. the French toast), but everything I tried was definitely tasty and worth the visit.

AMBIANCE: If you are looking for a diner with that old timey “diner feel,” this is the one to visit.  These diners look and feel like they must have 60 years ago, but modernized enough to feel comfortable… and well… let’s admit it, sanitary.  We didn’t get to experience the other 2 dining cars, but the concept seems pretty cool. Overall, I just love how it felt to step into a place that literally felt like a step back in time.

PRICE: Good ol’ Papa Bear (Adam’s dad) picked up the bill, so I don’t exactly know how much the meal was.  But from the looks of the menu, their items seem pretty standard and reasonably priced.  Also, they give you really good portion sizes, so I would say it is well worth it.

SERVICE: Our waitress was very cute, fun, and friendly.  See did a great job with our large order and remembered each and every thing that we asked for.  In fact, the whole wait staff seemed very happy to be there and genuinely had great attitudes as if they were having a lot of fun!

We truly enjoyed our visit to Rosie’s Diner and I would definitely go back. Very deserving of 4 ‘Little Piggies.’

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