I always take it as a good sign when a restaurant will refuse to sell me something. Not in a discriminatory, wrong-side-of-the-counter way, but in a "we don't think this is up to our standards right now, so we'd rather not feed it to you" kind of way. So when the man behind the counter at Jeri's told me that the biscuits for my B&G weren't as good as they'd like 'em to be (it was a late 2 p.m. breakfast), I happily heeded his advice to order a side of gravy.
That's the kind of treatment you get at Jeri's, where the service and grill-cooks call you "sir" and "the gentleman" at the end of the boomerang, formica-topped counter. Where they top off your coffee every three minutes or so, and ask you how everything is about every five.
Jeri's gravy was good albeit a touch too sweetóbut I'm a bit of a spice addict. The ham on the bone advertised outside next to the "Open 24 Hours" sign, was fantasticóthick cut, hot, salty as hell and with a nice amount of fat to it. And the apple pie? Pretty damn good, for costing $2 and not made by mom.
And it's cheap! A cup of coffee for counter-sipping will run you a 70's-era 90 cents, the B&G (if the biscuits are up to snuff) is $3.25 for a half -order, and an omelette will set you back about $5-$6.
Lunch and dinner is available as well, with a tempting fried bologna sandwich, patty melts and a double burger, all for less than five bucks. Fries on the side run you another buck-seventy-five. Dinner platters served with soup, veggies, potatoes and bread average $6-$7 a strip steak, two pork chops, or a perch plate.
Of course, the real draw is the interaction of the staff and the regulars, the slamming screen door and traffic on Western roaring by, the edgy but friendly service, and the no-frills, solid diner fare. The proximity to the bars on Lincoln and the all-hours availability makes it a great late-late-night destination as well.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Karl Klockars