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Dino’s Restaurant and Pancake House

January 30, 2023

  • 2080 Niles Road #400
  • St. Joseph, MI 49085
  • (269) 982-0229
  • Website
  • Menu

Our firstborn turned 11 this month. Her birthday fell on a Sunday so we were able to do whatever she wanted to do for her birthday.

Guess what she picked.

Go ahead…guess…you’ll never get it.

Yeah…she wanted to go skating.

She started doing Learn to Skate through Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association in January of 2019. We kind of took our time working through the levels then the pandemic hit in March of 2020. There was one class left but that ended up getting cancelled and they didn’t pass the kids out of the level they were in.

We started back with Learn to Skate in the winter of 2020. Masks were still mandatory indoors and a lot of rinks weren’t opening up for open skate…including Wings West.

The kid was determined to pass Learn to Skate Level 4 but she needed to practice. We went to a couple of outdoor rinks and even Griff’s Icehouse West in Holland once but it was a rink in St. Joseph we spent most of our weekends practicing at.

The John and Dede Howard Ice Arena was open most weekends for open skate. They are run by the park district so they had a reservation system the could easily put in place and it’s partially outdoors so it was a place you felt safe at. Several times, we were the only ones there.

We asked L what she wanted to do on her birthday. She said skating. She can’t do the afternoon open skate at Wings West because there’s also Club Ice at the same time so they make her go there. She wanted to screw around a little bit and asked if we could go to St. Joseph. We haven’t done that since those days during the pandemic and it was always a place I liked skating too.

Before skating, food. The kids love breakfast so we headed to St. Joseph early with the hopes of getting breakfast in before ice skating. We were going to have to rush back to Kalamazoo for B’s Learn to Skate class and L still had Synchro practice so late breakfast might have been the only meal we were going to get until late that evening.

I don’t know much about the breakfast scene in St. Joseph so I Google searched places near the rink. I found a one that looked simple and had great reviews…so that’s where we went.

Dino’s Restaurant and Pancake House is on Niles Road just south of Hilltop Road in St. Joseph Township just south of the St. Joseph City Limits. The restaurant is in a small shopping center anchored by a Walgreens to the north. The parking lot was pretty full but we didn’t see anyone waiting inside. We found a parking spot then headed inside.

The restaurant was full but we saw a couple tables getting ready to leave when we walked. The host told us to take a seat and he’d get a table cleared off as soon as someone left.

The restaurant is actually a little smaller than it looks but there are tables in ever available space. The restaurant is a pretty typical breakfast joint and just like any good, typical breakfast joint, it was packed on Sunday as servers and cooks were working as fast as they could to get meals out.

We were taken to a table right next to the kitchen. It was a little odd because it was bench seating on one side and we were sharing that bench with another family. They also had two kids so I wasn’t as worried about B bothering them but it was a little hard for me (bigger guy) to squeeze between tables to get to the bench without putting my backside in their space.

Our waitress popped out of the kitchen right away and asked about drinks. We all stuck to pop except L. She ordered a strawberry fruit smoothie. She still has this issue realizing when she orders drinks like that, there are no refills. She really liked it and finished it off pretty quickly so she had to ask the waitress for a glass of water.

Our meals came out of the kitchen really quickly. None of us ordered anything really difficult but I was a little shocked at how quickly it came out seeing how the restaurant was so busy.

I had a hard time choosing…like I always do…between the Eggs Benedict and the Steak and Eggs. I went with the cheaper option of Eggs Benedict…I mean, it’s not my birthday.

The Benedict was simple. It’s a toasted English muffin, grilled ham, a poached egg, and hollandaise. The dish was perfectly cooked with just a little bit of crunch and a lot of creaminess from the hollandaise mixed with the poached egg yolk. The plate came with hash browns that were pretty undercooked. There wasn’t much of a crispy layer on top and by the bottom, they were pretty raw. Didn’t stop me from loading up the hot sauce and eating the whole plate but really not the way I prefer hash browns.

J was in the mood for an omelets so she ordered one with bacon and cheese. The omelets are made with four eggs and they are huge. J said it was delicious but it was way too much food. She would have really liked it to be maybe two eggs as she felt like she wasted a lot. She also got hash browns and like mine, they were undercooked. She likes them really well done and these were not that. The omelet was more than enough for her to eat so she didn’t walk away hungry.

B kept it simple with chocolate chip Mikey Mouse pancakes. He would eat pancakes for every meal if he could. He didn’t love that there were strawberries on the ear but J took those and ate them. B wouldn’t let her take the whipped cream though…that was for him. He ate almost the whole pancake and asked for bacon on the side. He got two pieces of perfectly crispy but not burnt bacon.

L wanted waffles. She has been on such a waffle kick lately. She eats frozen waffles at home and has started texting me or having mom text me on the way home from the rink that she wants waffles for dinner. We ordered her the Belgium waffle with a side of bacon and white toast. The waffle came just with powdered sugar and she ate about half of it in the restuarant. She quickly polished off the bacon and toast then asked for a box to take the rest of the waffle. We knew what she was doing. As soon as we got in the car after ice skating for two hours, she popped open that to-go box and finished the waffle.

Our bill for breakfast was about $65 (extra bacon and toast add up) and the check is paid back at the host stand near the entry door.

Dino’s Restaurant and Pancake House is a classic family diner. There are fancy breakfast restaurants and then there are comfort food breakfast restaurants. J and I like to do the fancy ones occassionaly but the kids love the classic diner. We knew both kids would eat breakfast…even though it was closer to noon. We got a full bellies before heading to a full day of ice skating which was the plan when we pulled in to Dino’s parking lot.

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