OK - I know this one is up for debate as to how great a diner ought to be, but this humble reviewer believes that anyone looking for a REAL diner need no look further than the Blue Benn in Bennington, VT.
First, this is a Silk City diner from sometime in the 1940s. Big deal or no? It is for me - you can't beat the atmosphere that these old diners bring to the table (or counter, as it were). True, we are talking cramped - 5 people at a booth? Someone is sitting at the end in the middle of the aisle...been there and done that!
Appearances aside, the service is friendly. I read somewhere once that the servers were a little less than friendly but I've never seen that. Locals and out-of-towners (and both are easy to spot) are treated the same...it's just that the locals are known by name. I've yet to see college students treated any different either.
The food is my favorite part. I'm not sure what a previous reviewer is talking about, but then again for me, diners are breakfast places and as such, breakfast is all I will speak of. First, the sausage gravy is superb. Lots of places serve it up and it is bland. Not the Blue Benn. My father-in-law tried to eat it for breakfast AND dinner, but once the batch is done it is done...and usually early. The hash is excellent and the pancakes are huge. My son's blueberry pancakes were served one at a time - too big for the plate otherwise.
Every day it pays to look at the specials, taped on the wall. Gingerbread pancakes, cornbread french toast...all favorites. Do I like the Blue Benn? Listen, to me food is a destination in and of itself. The Blue Benn is a reason for me coming to Bennington when I have no other reason, and is reason enough for me to plan breakfast road trips that are 3 hours one-way!
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