IF there is one thing my husband, Payat, misses about his homeland of America it is the food. Eating out in Colorado is cheaper than the UK and the food served up is usually enough for that meal and two more (there is no snobbery about taking home a doggy bag).
In short, and in my best faux state-side accent, American food is pretty good, dudes.And it is this simple idea which has been lassoed, cowboy style, by owners of the new Ken’s Diner in Finedon.
Experience of American dining is behind this venture as owner Mark Thompson’s late father, Ken, once moved the whole family to Rawlins, Wyoming, albeit to open an English fish and chip shop.
Ken’s Diner makes you feel cheerful as soon as you walk in. It isn’t posh, but it does look like one of the sets of Happy Days, with a huge bar (at which customers order their food and non-alcoholic beverages) and sky blue walls decorated with American artefacts, such as road signs and even traffic lights.
There was plenty of parking when we arrived, but soon the car park filled with vintage American cars, including a 1946 Hudson.
We were told it was American “Hot Rod” night and we had lots of fun staring out of the huge windows at the beautiful vehicles as we ate.
There were no starters, but I plumped for the Chicago hot dog with chilli and cheese (£4), while Payat chose the California chicken burger, a grilled chicken fillet in a toasted bun with mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion (£3.50) and a side of onion rings (£1.95).
The food wasn’t pretty to look at, but it tasted delicious. Served in little plastic baskets with wax paper, it is the kind of stuff you messily cram into your mouth to satisfy hunger and get that inevitable kick of nostalgia.
Payat demolished his burger in lightning fast time and smiled as he ate what he called “proper” onion rings.
And for pudding?
Payat tucked in to some Pennsylvania Dutch apple pie with squirty cream (£3.25) while I had the Old-Fashioned Sundae, three scoops of ice-cream with mixed fruit, strawberry sauce, chopped nuts, whipped cream and a cherry (£3.95).
Payat was very happy with his pie and my ultra sweet sundae transported me mentally back to childhood.
If you are looking for posh nosh served on towers of spinach, this is not the place to go.
But for fans of vintage America, Ken’s Diner is a culinary blast from the past and definitely worth a visit.
RATINGS AT A GLANCE
VALUE: Cheap but good food
FOOD:Delicious American fare
SERVICE:Friendly and quick
DISABLED ACCESS: Small step into restaurant
PARKING: Plenty on site
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £19.80 for two courses each, a wild cherry Pepsi and a regular Pepsi.