Heading back up the street I was looking at store fronts where I saw a number of bikes parked. Numerous bikes parked in front of a building early in the morning is either an indication of a place to sleep or a place to eat. :)
I almost missed it, but there was a sign that said "Durango Diner" about a small store front wedged in between two other builds. I said "There we go" and Tina said, "Where?" She hadn't even see it, the front was so small. "Diner" mixed with the look of it screamed "road food" to me. So we stopped and went it.
It was awesome! :)
The building is pretty narrow. A small set of tables up front, all full, and then a long counter. On the right are all the grills and cooking areas, running about 1/3 the length of the building, with about 3 feet for the cooks to work and then the counter running the length of the cooking area, and then a few tables in back. Just enough room between the wall and the counter to get by, and then enough room between the counter and the grills to cook. So we grabbed a seat at the counter, right across from where all the action (cooking) was going on.
There were at least 3 cooks. One making hash browns (to our left), the owner cooking the main ingredients (right in front of us) and another cook plating the dishes - putting them all together, smothering them with green chili, etc.
The hash brown cook just cooks hash browns... continuously. He has a big bowl with peeled potatoes (restaurant baked potato size) and a grater. The kind that looks like a box with a handle on top, opening on the bottom, and different size grates on the 4 sides. He grabs a large potato, grates it holding the grater towards the grill, and then dumps the entire grated contents onto the grill, pilling the hash browns next to the last order. This creates a single "order" that is about 4x2x8. We are talking a large plate covering of hash browns. Not doing carbs anymore... but I could definitely appreciate it. :) The main cook then takes this plate of hash browns, covers it with a helping of scrambled eggs (more like a flat omelet that is about 8 inches around, flipped in half), throws 4 strips of bacon on the top, and hands it to the next line cook who covers it in green chili and then sets it up to be served to a customer. Yeah... we're talking heaven. :)
So I asked for 2 eggs over medium, 4 bacon and smoother it.
Sitting there, talking to the locals (fireman on one side of us talking about the local goings on, teasing Tina about the rally, etc.), folks coming in, the owner turning around and yelling "Hey Joe, your usually", other folks, "Hey, hows the coffee today?", etc. The place had a great feel, and I just sat there, drinking cups of coffee with cream from the kind of creamers that all the restaurants used to have - the metal kind with real cream in them, not little individual containers.
The waitress slide our food to us and it was great. Chili wasn't mild, but wasn't too hot. Could of sat there for a while, but we had to make the meeting at Denny's, so ate up the food, and off we went.
If you're looking for road food and our in Durango, I highly suggest it. As their home page says:
"The Diner" is well known for their nostalgic no-frills meals, local buzz, and the Green Chili, Southwest Salsa, and Enchilada Sauce sold through-out the country.
It was awesome. The best road food find I've had in quite a while. I'll definitely go back next time we are down there, and would have gone again if I could have worked it out with everyone else's schedules.