Mr. Don’s Restuarant
It should come as no surprise when I say I’m working a lot of overtime again. Late last week, I got called in to work early and sent straight to Battle Creek. I had a pretty time sensitive job and I needed to get there as quickly as possible. Once I got the call, I left without grabbing something to eat and there was no time to stop on the way.
When the assignment finished just after 5:00, I decided to grab something to eat before heading back to Grand Rapids for the rest of my night. I was in the Springfield area and there’s a fast food place I always seem to get coupons in the mail for…yet, it took me forever to figure out where it was.
Mr. Don’s Restaurant is a mainstay in the Battle Creek area. The business has been family owned, through four generations now, since it’s inception in the early 1950’s. The restaurant is a fast food restaurant, but with a menu size that rivals any full service restaurant in the area that includes both breakfast and lunch specialties.
Mr. Don’s is just off Dickman Road in the City of Springfield on 20th Street. It’s actually south of Dickman at the intersection of 20th and Betterly. The building was probably state of the art when it was built, but it’s looking a little on the rougher side now. There is a drive thru on the south side of the building and the parking lot on the north side butts right up to Betterly Road.
Counter service is what you would expect from a fast food place and counter service is how it’s done at Mr. Don’s. The menu can be a little intimidating at first and the unfortunate thing, for me anyway, is that I didn’t know what some of the items were. I mean, I know the Fiery Don Burger or the Western Don Burger are burgers, but no one in the restaurant does it say what comes on each one (the answer is Fiery Don – spicy mayo, lettuce, deep fried jalapeno rings, and Pepperjack cheese. Western Don – BBQ sauce, lettuce, onion ring, American cheese). I found out later once I had better access to their website.
I decided I was just going to order a Bacon Double Cheeseburger and a large order of fries. Pretty simple, standard order for this type of place. I got in line to order and was pretty shocked at how many people were in the restaurant. The line was five or six deep and there was one girl taking orders and packing them up trying to keep up. She was going as fast as she could, but the people in front of me were making a lot of demands on her.
That brings me to the only thing I didn’t like about Mr. Don’s and it has absolutely nothing to do with the restaurant itself. The customers were incredibly rude. To me. To the employees. To each other. Several people were making snide remarks to the employee about how long it was taking (again, lots of people and orders going through at this time for some reason), the size of what they ordered (extra sauce was too small for them), the length of the line, etc. It was ridiculous. At one point, another girl who was working in the kitchen came out and opened another register. You would have thought it was Black Friday. The back of the line all ran for the newly opened register and started pushing each other out of the way. I was actually next in line at the original register, but the girl working that one had a back log of orders ready to be sent out, so she was doing that. I was fine with it. I get it. The people behind me…they weren’t so fine with as they continued with the rude comments and eventually making a mad dash towards to the new register.
Once the original cashier got caught up on orders going out, she came back to me and apologized. I told her not to worry. She was going as fast as she could. They were busy. I get it. So, at that point, I put in my order for the Bacon Double Cheeseburger and large fry. I asked for the burger plain, but I had a feeling once I walked away she didn’t’ punch that in. The cost was around $7 and Mr. Don’s is cash only. They have an ATM in the dining room area if plastic is all you show up with.
It took about ten minutes for my order to come up. Once my number was called, I grabbed the bag and headed to the car. I still needed to get back to Grand Rapids and grabbing dinner took much longer than I thought it would.
I started in on the fries first knowing they would be easy to eat while driving. The large bag of fries were just crinkle cut restaurant fries with a pretty heavy dusting of salt. I had a bottle of Pepsi in the car from earlier and that was a good thing. They were cooked to a crispy outside, so for standard crinkle cut fries, they were as good as they could be.
My hunch was right on the burger. I didn’t get it plain. The Bacon Double Cheeseburger came with two small fresh burger patties, bacon, American cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickles, and onions…so pretty similar to a McDonalds cheeseburger. the onions I can’t do at all, so I took a napkin and wiped off most of condiments from the top bun. I’m not a huge ketchup fan, but it doesn’t ruin a meal for me, so I was OK with a little residue left over on the bun. The burger itself was pretty tasty. It wasn’t much different that most fast food burgers. It was a little greasy, a little salty, and pretty tasty.
Mr. Don’s is a great alternative to the fast food giants. It’s still fast food, so you’re not going to get a gourmet meal, but their large menu has options for everyone. They’ve got quite a following and they’ve been around for several decades. Both good signs as to what the place is all about. As I usually say with fast food joints, it is what it is. Fancy it’s not. A good meal at a good price…that it definitely is.