|Nate's Diner delivers a taste of America|
|Written by Lee Strubinger, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2012 14:53|
Historic Route 66 runs straight through the town of Bloomington–Normal, from Shelbourne Drive to Willow Street all the way down Main Street and on to Veterans Parkway.
Through a series of twists and turns, one can drive on Old Route 66 clear to California if one so chooses. There is a far more intimate feeling with the road, rather than driving on the interstate. Cool cafés and diners, Funk’s Groves maple syrup and a whole cluster of parks and campsites line the highway. The true spirit of the American west lies on that road.
Moving back to the ISU campus, along Willow Street, there sits this town’s own slice of the Route 66 nostalgia, Nate’s Diner.
Having been open less than a year, replacing the Maid-Rite on the corner is Willow and Main Streets, when one walks into the time machine known as Nate’s, they can feel the retro vibe of the 1950s in the diner.
Music from Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and a multitude of other Sun Studio artists, as well as many others, fill the bright red walls of this establishment. Pictures of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean are scattered throughout.
Red and white leather upholstered chairs complete the authentic feel of just stepping off the great American highway. I personally feel like I’m in a scene from Jim Jarmusch’s “Coffee and Cigarettes,” even though smoking is not allowed.
Nate’s diner menu is a la carte, with items named after famous people and phrases of the time period, like the “Little Richard Burger,” “Big Bopper Burger” and the “Love Me Tender Loin.”
My personal favorite is the “Big Texas Burger,” which is a double cheeseburger, topped with bacon, onion rings, and BBQ sauce. I wasn’t hungry for another day after eating it.
Another great thing to order, which has been recently added to the menu, is the loaded nachos. Everything is prepared right in the diner for these nachos, including the chips, which make the meal if you ask me.
Attached next to a gas station and laundry mat, Nate’s Diner is one of the fine eating establishments in this town. Especially when looking for an atmosphere with good music, good vibe, and great food. After filling up on burger, fries, and malt shakes, it is time to hit Route 66 and get our kicks.