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For Intermission in Hyde Park: “Eveready Diner”

I have been spending a lot of time with the Roosevelt’s lately, and it has been delightful. Despite the fact that my favorite members of this famous family have passed, they still bring me an exceeding amount of joy and inspiration. It is less strange than it sounds and I can prove it.
As part of my ritual of trying to accomplish all of the things on my annual to do list (, I decided this was the year I would finally make to each of the Roosevelt residences that have been on my list for as long as I can remember. Small goals like that are how I tackle a list as long as mine.
But the houses aren’t the focal point just yet. First we are going to talk about the places I got to scope out because I was in the backyard of greatness. So while I am starting out with food, it is not the way the day progressed.
First I found myself at Springwood, the family home of the Delano’s and then Franklin Roosevelt’s parents and later his own family.
Later in the day I would be touring the home Eleanor Roosevelt lived in after Franklin died. In between the two I scheduled time to restore my strength, review the previous experience, and of course get a bite to eat. This is where we begin this blog’s journey at the helm of the magnificent Eveready Diner.
Eveready Diner has been in Hyde Park for quite a while although I couldn’t find an exact date during my research it doesn’t seem to matter. Whether they have been there for five minutes or five years they have certainly left their mark in Hyde Park and everyone from everywhere seems to know about it. It is a legend in its own right despite its close proximity to F.D.R.’s former home.

Naturally you would assume when I left Springwood in search of food I would have stumbled upon it, but you would be wrong. It would have been a possibility since it is literally a one-minute drive and located on the opposite side of the street. However I knew I would be dining at Eveready long before I knew when I was going to Hyde Park. What is even weirder is that I still do not know the person who gave me the recommendation but wherever he is out there in the word I say THANK YOU!! Clearly the universe knew I was destined to come here.
A few months ago, maybe even towards the beginning of the year, my mother happened to overheard a gentleman speaking to someone in her office about Eveready Diner and what a treasure it is. When she heard that it was near a home where Roosevelt’s had lived she knew to tell me because I would get there sooner or later. I still have the yellow post it the name was written on, not that I needed the reminder.
Once I looked up the website I was hooked. The menu was insanely large. There is NO ONE who goes there that will leave hungry. There is no way you will not find one, five, or thirty things you want to try. I could probably go there every day for a year and still not make a dent in that menu.
As customary when I am hungry I sat down and had absolutely NO idea what to order. While it is a joy to have more than one thing you eat on a menu it also has a tendency to cripple me. I kept flipping back and forth between pages trying to make any kind of decision. Sometimes even choosing a beverage is difficult. Luckily we weren’t in a rush (so you know my mother had to come with me since she was the one who heard about it first) but my hunger ruled the roost.

We ordered an appetizer, the Solid Gold Cheese Sticks, which according to the menu is:
“Savory mozzarella cheese coated with zesty Italian batter and fried golden brown. Served with a side of our legendary marinara sauce.”
As a great lover of cheese and fried foods I have had mozzarella sticks just about everywhere I have eaten. In my neighborhood I could list all of the places I have had them and give descriptions so vivid you would swear you had been there too. These were heavenly. I felt as if I died after eating them I would be satisfied they were my last meal. My love for F.D.R. is real but so is the passion I have for this dish at this restaurant.

My mother enjoyed them just as much. If we hadn’t already ordered lunch we would have probably let them continue bringing us mozzarella sticks until I couldn’t fit in the booth. It wouldn’t have taken that long.
For an entrée my mother got a steak sandwich, which was
“An Eveready original. We stuff a fresh baked panini with some of our favorites then grill it on a HOT IRON SANWICH PRESS and serve it hot and crispy! Served with Eveready fries, cole slaw and pickle.”

I went with a familiar food group and ordered the chicken street tacos:
“Served sizzling hot on a bed of grilled onions and peppers, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, Monterey cheese and warm flour tortillas.”
I nearly blacked out when they arrived. They were double tacos wrapped in two rather than one at a time because they were so warm and fresh they were breaking from the weight of the ingredients inside. Each part of this dish was better than the next. The beans and condiments were awesome as was the chicken. I ate most of it but after that appetizer I was full. Full and exhausted. So exhausted I would be taking a brief nap in the car in the parking lot of the Eveready so that I would be conscious when I visited Eleanor’s home.
It might seem from my description above that I, while enjoying my food, was acting like an average customer during my time. I can assure you nothing was as far away from the truth. I was bouncing up and down, running around taking pictures, sweating from the heat of my food and having just left Springwood. It was pretty much the highest feeling I ever have. That is my favorite when a day works out even better than I planned. And because I plan every detail I love when I can’t account for how very much something on my itinerary will be adored. When this happens not just for me but for my companions those memories of their reactions will stay with me forever and continue to bring me pleasure long into the future.
For those fellow Food Network fans out there you may have heard about the Eveready Diner from the show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”. Apparently this place left quite an impression of the show’s host, Guy Fieri. During his visit he managed to score a recipe for their three cheese macaroni and cheese, which is included in the listed links below. Now I am regretting that I did not know it ahead of time so that I could try it. Nothing I make at home is ever as good as the original although having a staycation day probably plays some role in that too.
Not surprising to anyone that knows me, but I did manage to bring a souvenir home from the diner, a pound of their specially made coffee. I have not tried it yet but I plan to soon. I have been saving it for something special. Perhaps New Year’s Day will be an ideal time.
To continue with this theme, over the next couple of blogs, I will be discussing the meal I had after visiting Sagamore Hill, the former home of Teddy Roosevelt and his family. From there we will revisit these homes in depth as I try to figure out how to capture all that I saw and all that I learned. To say these visits stayed with me is an understatement, keep reading and you will find out why.
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