My wife and I, along with most NJ/NY’ers, grew up eating in diners. Even though most diners are known for mediocre food, people flock to them. A 20 minute wait for a boring breakfast is a common event. But why? More importantly, can we rediscover this phenomenon in Lakeland? And last but not least, can the food be a little more fun and exciting?
Yes! Keke’s Breakfast Café has almost all of the ingredients necessary to establish that classic diner feel. Let’s take a look at each ingredient, one by one.
- The wait to get in
Diners are packed at breakfast time. Keke’s is no exception. Something about sitting in the waiting area of diners adds to their appeal. Perhaps the anticipation makes the eating experience seem more worth while. Or, perhaps food tastes better after letting your appetite grow for an extra 20 minutes. It always a feels like a treat when you finally get called to your table, which brings us to our next ingredient.
2. A cluttered table (with free refills on coffee)
If a table full of all the traditional condiments isn’t a sign that you’re in a diner, then nothing is. An absurd amount of sugar packets usually means free coffee refills, which you can expect here at Keke’s. After you order your coffee, the waitress will ask you if you know what you want to eat. You won’t. No one ever knows what to order in a diner, because…
3. The menus are always way too long
Get out your magnifying glass and take a peek at the breakfast menu:
The flip side of this has an equally excessive lunch menu. My wife and I opted for breakfast, which is the norm. Instead of microwaved pancakes and defrosted sausage, we got some food that was above diner quality. Check out the fluff on this pancake!
Additionally, some of the dishes here are a bit more creative than traditional diner fare. For instance, a buffalo chicken omelet, stuffed with Perdue chicken breast!
This food was so yummy that it began to remind us that we weren’t truly in a diner. However, the moment wasn’t ruined for us. Something about the atmosphere here still made us feel nostalgic… but what could it be?
4. The ever present sounds of banging pots and pans
No one comes to a diner for a quiet and intimate meal. Everyone needs a little chaos in their lives. At Keke’s, their turbulence is proudly on display.
Bang-bang, crash, ka-pow!!! If all the coffee doesn’t wake you up, then the soundtrack will.
Alas, the only way to truly be called a diner is to offer…
5. 24 hours of service
Keke’s falls short on this one. Their hours are 7AM to 2:30PM, which means no dinner. No watery spaghetti. No cod being passed off as Mahi. No mushy sirloin steak served alongside of powdered mashed potatoes… wait a minute, aren’t these all things that we can live without?
Maybe that’s why Keke’s calls themselves a “breakfast café” rather than a diner. Maybe a touch of classiness isn’t so bad, after all. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll find a way to forgive Keke’s for leaving out everything we hate about diners, yet holding onto everything that we know and love.