I visited Lehi's One Man Band Diner in the way most people probably visit it: My kids and I were hungry, and we saw it as we pulled off the highway.
It's a squat building just east of I-15, and it has lots of diner touches glass block, a working jukebox, shiny Naugahyde booths, pictures of a few '50s celebrities on the walls without going over the top. The space, with its long banks of windows, chrome and white walls, feels airy and clean.
Unfortunately, on the day we visited, it wasn't actually very clean. The main problem was that many tables retained the detritus of previous diners, and they weren't cleared the entire time we were there.
True to its name, the place apparently is a one-man operation the same person took our orders and prepared them but he had time during our visit to clear off those dirty tables. He just didn't.
However, that was my only major problem with One Man Band Diner. The food was predictable, but in this case that's not necessarily a problem: at a diner, you want things like pancakes, fries, onion rings and melts.
Which is exactly what we had, starting with the cheese fries and onion rings. The cheese fries were no more and no less than a plate of standard french fries oozing with melted cheddar, with a little seasoning salt on top. The onion rings were the crumb-breaded kind, well cooked and sweet-tender inside.
You order Training Table-style at One Man Band Diner, from a phone at your table. The phone rings again when it's time to pick up your food. The restaurant provides a handy pad and pencil for jotting down your order before you call and lots of serve-yourself condiments and drinks.
For dinner, two of my kids had the Kritter, an enormous Mickey Mouse-head-shaped pancake with chocolate-chip eyes and a slice of bacon for a mouth. My oldest daughter had hers with chocolate chips inside, an option that costs 50 cents extra. Both the plain and chocolate-chip pancakes were slightly sweet and fluffy, and the bacon was salty and chewy.
My youngest daughter had the Pee Wee, a crisp grilled-cheese sandwich generously filled with melted cheddar.
I tried the Wolfman Melt, a thick patty of beef with Swiss and cheddar cheese, bacon and grilled onions on rye bread. I generally like patty melts, and this was a particularly good one, with strong, earthy flavors from the onion and rye.
We took home a quite decent All-American burger the standard burger, cheddar, bacon and fixings on a toasted bun for my husband. But before we left, we shared one of One Man Band Diner's chocolate mint shakes.
The shake was spoon-supporting thick and lightly minty, with lots of big semi-sweet chocolate chips, the kind you'd find in a cookie. I think I'd have liked the chips chopped up a little, but we all enjoyed our dessert down to the last spoonful.Appetizers $2.99-$4.99, breakfasts and omelets $1.79-$8.99, lunch baskets $4.99-$6.99, salads and tacos $1.99-$5.99, burgers and sandwiches $3.99-$5.99, dinner platters $4.99-$9.99, pasta $5.99-$6.99, kids' meals $2.19-$2.99, desserts 49 cents-$2.49.
One Man Band Diner
Rating: ** 1/2
Where: 1220 E. Main, Lehi (plus locations in Nephi, Payson, Santaquin, Spanish Fork, Pleasant Grove, Clearfield, Layton and at Hill Air Force Base)
Hours: Monday to Saturday 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Closed Sunday
Payment: Cash, credit cardsPhone: 766-0533
Stacey Kratz is a free-lance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org