$29 & Under: Mike’s Diner has plenty to choose for all-day breakfast

One of my favorite things to do when I’m out for a spontaneous meal is to seek out one of those plac

Mike’s Diner

WHERE: 3767 Carman Road, Guilderland.

WHEN: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. every day.

OTHER INFO: Credit cards not accepted. Children’s meals available. Telephone 355-9868

COST: $23

We were planning a barbecue on the first day of spring, but that was scheduled for early evening, and by midmorning we were famished.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m out for a spontaneous meal is to seek out one of those places that serves breakfast all day. Our visit to Mike’s Diner didn’t really qualify — though they do serve breakfast all day — because it was still technically morning, but it felt more like lunch time than breakfast. So let’s say it was brunch.

Mike’s, a popular eatery on Carman Road just east of Route 20, was buzzing with activity when we arrived, but there were a couple of tables open and we were quickly seated.

There’s a view of the kitchen and the big grill when you walk into the place, and food was flying onto plates and out to the servers.

I was in the mood for a good old Yankee breakfast, and I found it on the menu — The Big Breakfast ($6.95), featuring two eggs any style with choice of ham, bacon or sausage, home fries, toast, juice and coffee.

My toast choice was rye, my eggs scrambled and with crispy bacon, thank you very much.


My breakfast partner is more familiar than I with Mike’s and was torn between a short stack of hotcakes — there are numerous possibilities for griddle cakes at Mike’s — and the Eggs Benedict ($7.25). She noted that the Eggs Benedict at Mike’s is a little more decadent than the standard formula of poached eggs atop Canadian bacon on English muffins, all draped in Hollandaise sauce. At Mike’s they place crispy bacon under the Canadian bacon — happy news for your mouth, if not for your arteries. She chose the Eggs Benedict and gave me a bite, and I had to agree it was a wise choice.

But you can’t go wrong with the pancakes or French toast either, which includes such temptations as peanut butter and banana (Elvis would have approved), cocoa, coconut cream and Almond Joy.

The special pancakes range from chocolate chip and cranberry-orange to banana, blueberry and cinnamon.

And then there are the waffles, with choice of ham, bacon or sausage; varieties include kiwi and cream, apple and cream, caramel pecan and the “Dolly Parton,” which come with two scoops of ice cream.

Our breakfasts arrived with sides of home fries, and they were the best I’ve had in ages: crispy and flavorful and, best of all, steaming hot off the grill. My scrambled eggs and the Eggs Benedict also arrived at our table nice and hot, which can be an issue in diners where the servers don’t pick up their orders quickly. It’s not a problem at Mike’s, however. Service is remarkably fast. There couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes between the time we placed our order and the time our plates were sitting before us.


Mike’s — owned and operated by Mike and Andrea Kagas — offers an extensive breakfast menu, along with an equally extensive lunch menu.

Breakfast choices include many omelets, like the Special Omelette, which contains ham, bacon and cheese; the Florentine, which has spinach, bacon, Swiss cheese and Romano cheese; and the Oscar, which is stuffed with crabmeat, asparagus, and is topped with Hollandaise sauce.

You can also get corned beef hash, with or without Hollandaise sauce, egg sandwiches, bagels and cream cheese, and all kinds of baked goods, courtesy of the diner’s resident baker, Mrs. “C,” whose output is remarkable and a real draw.

It is Mrs. “C” who produces all those muffins — corn, blueberry, banana, lemon poppyseed, apple, pumpkin, raspberry almond, cranberry orange, low fat blueberry, low-fat cranberry orange, low-fat date bran — along with the danish, the cinnamon and blackberry nuthorns and much more.

Our server, “Sam, as in Samantha,” kept our coffee cups filled and was friendly and efficient. Our total tab came to $23 with tax and tip, and we left not only satisfied but promising ourselves we’d return soon to check out Mike’s lunches.


Later that same day, we roasted a lovely rack of lamb on the grill outdoors. I was wary of overcooking it so kept it away from direct heat and monitored it cautiously because I didn’t want to ruin it. It’s one thing to overcook a hamburger, quite another to ruin an expensive rack of lamb.

As it turned out, the lamb was underdone when I finally carved it and needed to be finished under the broiler inside. Lesson learned: Don’t be overly timid with lamb on the grill, but keep an eye on it. We ate it with fresh asparagus, rice plumped through slow cooking in a flavorful broth, and a green salad studded with ripe avocado.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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