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Ma’s Coffee Pot

June 28, 2010

  • 13967 M-140
  • South Haven, MI 49090
  • (269) 637-4448
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu

Last month, J and I made a trip to check out the beach at South Haven.  We had so much fun that day, we decided to do it again.  I was off work and when J got home at noon, we headed west towards the lake.

Before swimming and sunburning, we needed to find lunch.  There are a lot of great restaurants in South Haven, but the one I found is a little 24-hour truck stop on M-140 at the I-196 Interchange.

Ma’s Coffee Pot is a truck stop diner in every sense of the word.  It’s right off the Interstate.  It shares a parking lot with a gas station and it’s not very big.   In fact, the building is actually a historic Valentine Diner.

Valentine got their start in the 1930’s in Wichita, KS.  The diners were originally built as 8-10 seat diners that could be run by just one or two people.  Ma’s looks like they’ve added on a little bit over the years.  The original part of the building is not much more than a lunch counter and a few booths.  Around the corner is another small dining area with only half a dozen or so booths.  We chose to sit in this area. 

There’s not a whole lot in the way of decorations.  There’s a flat panel TV on the wall (obviously not original to the building 🙂 ) and a few signs and dry erase board advertising specials and unique items like a beefallo burger (1/2 beef, 1/2 buffalo).

A waitress followed us to the table with menus.  She asked if we wanted coffee and we both declined.  She started to walk away and I blurted out I wanted a Coke.  J spoke up to with her Diet Coke order and we looked over the menu.

The fare is classic diner food.  Just about everything on the menu can be cooked on a flat top or in a deep fryer.  I went with the cheeseburger basket which came with fries and coleslaw.  The coleslaw was brought out right away with a couple packets of saltine crackers, but I’m not really a fan and J doesn’t like slaw made with mayo, so we both passed on it.  The burger wasn’t anything special.  It was a frozen meat patty on a seasame seed bun with American cheese.  I don’t know why, but for as much as I make over fresh hamburgers, there’s something about a diner burger that reminds me of growing up in a small town.  One summer while I was in high school, I worked in the maintenance department for the school district.  Everyday, the two guys I worked with went to lunch at the same greasy spoon.  Everyday, we ordered the same thing.  I lived on cheeseburgers and fries that summer.  They weren’t good cheeseburgers, they were pretty basic diner burgers.  Just like this one.  I know it’s horrible for me, but when I get a burger like this, I always throw a little extra salt on my plate and just kind of wipe it up with the bun.  It just tastes like memories.  The fries were crinkle cut restaurant fries.  Again, nothing special, but there was enough to make sure I left without being hungry.

J ordered a grilled cheese and fries.  Again, a pretty standard order for her at a place like this.  The grilled cheese is just white bread with American cheese that was griddled to a crispy golden brown.  She seemed to really like it and liked the fact that is was cooked as well as it was.  There were few too many fries on the plate and some of them went back to the kitchen after we left.

The waitress dropped off the check when she dropped off the food, so we were able to get out of there fairly quickly and get on with our trip to the beach.  The bill was a little over $15 and it’s paid for at a cash register near the entrance.  We were a little worried about having enough cash, but Ma’s takes credit cards so it was a worry about nothing.

Ma’s is a good stop if you’re traveling through the area.  The food is not going to blow you away.  It’s more of an atmosphere stop and just getting a chance to live a little bit of history before places like this completely disappear from the roadside. 

Cheeseburger Basket

Grilled Cheese w/Fries

Ma's 24-Hour Restaurant Incorporated on Urbanspoon

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