Biddeford diner serves cool atmosphere and a brunch feast

On our way home from running a 5K, we thought it a good idea to grab some brunch and recharge our batteries. We ended up at Palace Diner on Franklin St. in Biddeford – somewhere we wouldn’t normally venture to – where we hoped we didn’t smell bad enough to be escorted out or look bad enough to be caged up and sent to a zoo.

From the outside, the non-descript, old dining car didn’t look like much. Inside, the long, lean restaurant, with about 15 seats running the length of the counter, had all it needed to draw us in, not the least of which were two empty stools. I sat and ordered Mrs. Portlandeater a coffee while she parked the car and noticed a sign above that offered canned cold brew and a selection of four beers. The waitress told me the omelet of the day was spinach and two cheeses.

After a run, I was hungry and looked at the menu for the most expensive items, assuming those would include the most sustenance. Both the Fried Chicken Sandwich and Lumberjack Breakfast fit the bill at $16, but I went with the latter which included five silver dollar flapjacks, two eggs, Palace potatoes and ham, bacon, or sausage. I chose the sausage and eggs over hard. She went with the omelet without cheese. It came with Palace Potatoes and choice of bread for which she chose the English muffin.

We got our meals in short time and mine was indeed large. The five pancakes were bigger than what I expected for “silver dollar” types. My two failures-to-hatch appeared perfectly over hard. I had a duo of sausage patties and three or four tater…thingies. What were those anyway? I peered at the golden brown disks to inspect them fully and garner a complete understanding as to their origin.

I cut a bite of the spud, eating a triangular piece. It was delicious – crispy outside with a dense baked potato interior. As far as I could tell, it was a whole small or half medium potato baked, then flattened by shoe, mallet, or other smashing device and fried to utter perfection. They were just awesome and an ingenious breakfast concept.

Next, I went to the east side of my plate for pancakes, putting syrup on each one as I went and downing them with care and precision. They were quite fluffy and held just the right amount of surgary coating. I ate all of them, hardly stopping to take a breath before moving onto my eggs and meat. The sausage was a mild breakfast version and fit into the meal very well as it entered my belly.

My wife happily ate her meal and commented about the potatoes too as she ate them. She also kept praising the coolness of the place, stating how much she liked it. Sure the food was exceptional, but the room was very inviting, comfortable, and as cozy as sitting around a fire wrapped in a fuzzy blanket during the dead of winter.

We finished what we had and paid, leaving a good tip which brought the total to $40. It should be noted that Palace Diner takes only cash, so bring plenty of bills with you because the food is super and you’ll want to order lots of it. Next time, I’m getting the fried chicken sandwich. I saw one come out and that baby was piled high. They give food in large portions, it’s simply delicious, and the prices are reasonable. Do you need another reason to go?

Stay hungry.

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Peter Blanchette

About Peter Blanchette

Peter Peter Portland Eater grew up in Lewiston, Maine and graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in English. After college, he left the state to work in Massachusetts, but the allure of a more comfortable life in his home state brought him back after eight years. Upon his return and after meeting his now wife – Mrs. Portlandeater, he slowly integrated himself into the Portland food scene by trying as many restaurants as he could afford. That and a desire to write for others again led him to start where he reviews restaurants and blogs about whatever Portland/Maine food topics he finds interesting.