On a hill in West Lafayette, Indiana is an 85+ year old tradition – the Triple XXX Family Restaurant. With burgers actually ground from fresh sirloin onsite, to real, homemade-from-scratch potato salad, every delicious, succulent bite demands a plethora of napkins and results in the the occasional, ‘mmmm’ and ‘ooohhhh’ and plenty of ‘Oooohhh …schoo gwood …mmmmm.’
The root beer is an integral part of the history and continued success of the place – the distinct flavor compliments everything on the menu. OK, even being a root beer fan, I might have to exclude some of the breakfast items. But it’s still one of the best bottled root beers I’ve ever tasted.
On a wintry afternoon in November, I discovered a portal through time – or at least it felt like that as I walked through the Pioneer Village at the Governor Bebb Park in Butler County, Ohio.
The sky was slate gray; the kind of sky that promised snow and hot cider and crackling fireplaces …
… and the air was filled with the earthy fragrance of a blacksmith’s forge.
I savored this escape into the 1800s. The wonderfully cold day was cheered by bright red ribbons and dark green garland. The fresh colors were in stark contrast to the rough wood that had been sawed and hewn, cut and planed hundreds of years earlier.
As I walked through the village, I heard music playing on a dulcimer and couldn’t stop smiling.
I have eaten six different breakfasts in five consecutive days and have lived to tell the tale.This has been quite an experience for me and for my trooper of a husband. Together we ingested more carbs and grease and salt than we normally would have in a month – but it was worth it as we researched and critiqued and digested some pretty tasty meals. Our breakfasts for the next few months will probably consist of nothing more than fresh fruit and whole grains, but we now have a tried and true list of some local gems.
The following reviews are in chronological order, followed by a short list of some other eateries in the area that we simply could not visit due to lack of time. Please enjoy and patronize all family owned restaurants, and feel free to add to this list as you discover more of the best in local cooking!
Crossroads Family Restaurant
Crossroads Family Restaurant
615 w US 50, Versailles, IN 47042
Immediately following my first blog about Lawrenceburg eateries, a friend recommended Crossroads Family Restaurant. I had been there before, but had no idea that they served breakfast – and all day, at that!
So, with my pal’s enthusiastic urging, I ordered the blueberry pancakes, extra crisp bacon, and coffee.
Well – the pancakes were simply fantastic. They were the kind of pancakes you hope for when ordering. Two hot, evenly browned pancakes with juicy, real (not dehydrated) blueberries arrived in front of me. Even the plate was properly sized to facilitate cutting and eating. These pancakes were so flavorful, there was absolutely no need or desire to add syrup. Perfect texture, well balanced flavor and generously sized; I made every effort to eat with some sense of decorum and a minimal amount of lip smacking and grunting.
The tasty bacon was pretty crisp, though a tad chewy on the ends, and was understandably overshadowed by the perfection of the pancakes.
The wait staff kept my coffee cup full and provided very good service in spite of the brisk afternoon business.
Cost: $11 approximately
Distance from Lawrenceburg Public Library: 25 miles, about 30 – 40 minutes
Bright Spot Cafe
Bright Spot Cafe
1932 Jamison Road, West Harrison, IN 47060
As soon as I walked in the door, I was cheerfully greeted by the waitress. The Bright Spot Cafe is indeed a bright place, located in a former home and very relaxing. I ordered coffee which arrived shortly thereafter fresh and hot in a small cup, but was refilled so frequently, I never ran low.
Upon the recommendation of the server, I ordered French Toast, scrambled eggs with cheese and crisp bacon. The plate made for attractive presentation, but the French Toast itself was a little tough and needed syrup. The beautiful scrambled eggs were dehydrated or premixed. I realized afterward that I should have ordered a fried egg instead because I have had the luxury of eating only “just-gathered” eggs for the past few years. The bacon was salty and wonderfully crisp.
Our service was terrific and we were made to feel very welcomed and not rushed in the least.
Cost: $10 approximately
Distance: 10 miles from LPL, about 15 minutes
Round Table Family Restaurant
The Round Table
30 S Miami Ave, Cleves, Ohio45002
As soon as we walked in the door, this felt like a family place. There was a quiet background hum of conversation interspersed with the television news. The tables and floor were clean and the booth was comfortable.
It was great to discover a nice selection of juices on the menu, and to see that breakfast is served all day.
Although we learned that they use only real eggs, we ordered goetta, one pancake, a small order of biscuits and gravy, coffee, and cranberry juice. Our waitress, Sarah, was more than a little capable. She managed to run the entire floor by herself, never letting the coffee run low, or the plates get cold waiting in the kitchen window.
Our food arrived and we dove right in. The biscuits were good, the gravy peppery, and the goetta was well balanced with a crisp exterior and a meaty interior.
Cost: $9.47, tax included
Distance: 9 miles from LPL, about 15 minutes
Cleves Drive Inn/Nick’s American Restaurant
248 South Miami Avenue, Cleves, OH 45002-1223
Upon driving up, we saw that there was plenty of parking for the steady crowd of Saturday morning patrons. This restaurant looked like a chain when we walked in, but is actually family owned. Everything was very clean, looked new, and was well lit. To the left of our table there was a flat screen TV on the wall, but it remained silent, and the background restaurant noise was fine.
Although the menu offers inviting gourmet omelets, we ordered pancakes, one egg over-easy, goetta and biscuits and gravy, along with my requisite coffee and my spouse’s chocolate milk since cranberry juice wasn’t an option.
Sandy, our server, was friendly and efficient. She brought our hot pancake with chilled butter packets, and deliciously warmed syrup. The pancakes themselves were a little sweet; crisp and golden on the outside , lovely texture within.
Our goetta was just a little greasy on the plate, but crisply brown with a nice thickness and flavor. When we mixed it with the fried egg, it made for a tasty combination.
Oddly enough, I thought the biscuits and gravy were slightly sweet, but my husband didn’t really notice that. We both loved the fluffiness of the biscuits and the generous chunks of sausage.
Cost: $14.08, tax included
Distance: 9+ miles from LPL, about 16 minutes
55 US 50, Greendale, Indiana 47025-1685
The very moment we entered the Stateline Grill, we experienced that classic diner ambiance complete with tile floor, friendly, cheerful service, and the comfortable din of clattering utensils, hearty conversation and sincere laughter.
They serve breakfast all day, so we ordered the Hungry Man’s Breakfast. This is a very generous meal of three eggs , home fries that are deep fried and coated with a great seasoning, dark rye toast that can only be Klosterman’s , goetta, and biscuits and gravy. We added one jumbo pancake, coffee and chocolate milk.
The delicious eggs were cooked perfectly, the goetta was fine, and the home fries were good.
However, during our meal, a fellow customer suggested we ask for blackberry jam. Oh my … the pancake was wonderful by itself, but was taken to an entirely different level when smeared with that homemade blackberry jam. We tried the strawberry jam, too, and that was delightful, but the blackberry was the stuff of dreams!
As for the biscuits and gravy … well, I have to say that they were the best I’ve ever tasted. Ever. And I lived in the South for 30-plus years. Fluffy, tall, homemade biscuits with loads of robust gravy and big pieces of sausage. Mmmm Mmmmm.
Our service from Belle was good, my coffee was refilled often and she was always upbeat and happy to provide us with various jams and syrup, even though this was a very busy morning. What a way to begin a day!
Distance: About 10 miles from LPL, less than 13 minutes
1049 East Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
Since 1960, Howie’s has been a locally owned eatery. The 50’s and mostly 60’s decor includes pictures of Bogie & Nat” King” Cole on the walls with red and black booths for ample seating.
This diner/truck stop is open 24/7, and serves breakfast anytime. I ordered one pancake, goetta, one egg over-easy, a small order of biscuits and gravy, and coffee.
The good-sized serving of goetta arrived crisp, and not too salty. The egg was cooked over-light instead of over-easy, but that was fine since I combined it with the goetta. The pancake was perfectly golden, and had a nice texture and flavor. The syrup was served in a plastic container and was more than enough for the serving. I received a rather full dish of the biscuit and gravy. It was peppery with fluffy biscuits, although the meat was just a little chewy.
Overall, the coffee was OK, but the refills were very slow in coming. The service was sluggish in general, even though there weren’t many customers in the restaurant. This may have been due to the fact it was 11:30AM on a holiday weekend, since I’ve heard that as a late night haunt, it is one of the best places to grab a meal.
Distance: 8 miles from LPL, about 10 minutes
Additional Breakfast Destinations in Southeastern Indiana Worth A Visit: