Happy 50th birthday to the Lincoln Street Diner, which opened in its current Fall Creek location in 1964 as Mae's Diner. It also used to be Bud's Diner, and Ziffy's, and with breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, it's a perfect place for a quick but hot lunch on a chilly day, or an early-morning breakfast.
Breakfast could be blueberry pancakes, a spinach and feta omelet, or an occasional special, Cajun sausage gravy over biscuits, maybe with a side of cheddar grits.
In fact, sausage gravy is a fixture here at the Lincoln Street Diner; the "daily breakfast special" is home fries and corn bread topped with sausage gravy. Who could ask for anything more? Well, I'll come clean and admit that I usually add a pair of eggs over easy to this dish, just for the sake of completeness.
There's always an inexpensive breakfast sandwich option, a filling meal wedged between two halves of an English muffin, and lots of fresh coffee is brewing non-stop.
At lunchtime, try a turkey club sandwich or a reuben, or a one-third pound burger. All of the burgers and sandwiches come with chips and a pickle, or you can add a side of hot and crisp fries for a little more.
There are better burgers in Ithaca, but I'd call this the best of the diner burgers. Of course the options include a Tullyburger, the local specialty with raw onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Or, you can go all out with a Bo-Burger, that wince-inducing delicacy, a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg.
I've enjoyed the frequent lunch specials like fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, a "Thanksgiving sandwich," hot turkey sandwich with stuffing and gravy, or scalloped potatoes with ham. Don't forget about the soup of the day, like the excellent tomato florentine soup, or the split pea with ham. Either one can turn a sandwich into a hot comfort-food experience, perfect for a winter afternoon.
The Lincoln Street Diner isn't open 24 hours a day as many diners are, but they pack plenty of diner atmosphere into the hours they're open.
You can spend as little as three or four bucks on breakfast, or five to ten on a complete meal. Find the Lincoln Street Diner at 309 East Lincoln Street, right near the north end of North Aurora Street and just a couple of blocks from the Ithaca Falls. Call 607-216-1616 or visit lincolnstreetdiner.com and tell them you heard about them here.