Paxton's Family Restaurant
143 Main St. (map it!)
Greenville, PA 16125
Open 24 hours a day (special bfast menu served 5:30-11 a.m.)
Accepts cash and credit cards
Date of Visit: Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: My wife said she's spent many-a high school 3 a.m. at Paxton's Family Restaurant in downtown Greenville, Pennsylvania. Downtown Greenville is about as quintessentially small town America as you can get, especially the modern small town America: long-standing businesses (Hurlbert's Hardware, The Hub, News Depot, Majestic's) interspersed with a few new kids on the block (including the really cool Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse), and a handful of empty spaces put out of business by Walmart.
Paxton's is one of those holders-on, quietly serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 19XX. Not much has changed, from the dusty decorations, the carpeted walls, and the dim lighting. If my pictures appear a little too yellow, blame the lights above our table.
ATMOSPHERE: The carpeted walls hush the sounds of locals in conversation and the kitchen clattering. Paxton's long, thin space is divided in lengthwise by another wall, so the impression is of several inter-connected rooms stretching back into the building. If you want more light, sit in a booth towards the front of the place, next to the big plate glass windows looking out on Main Street (yes, an actual Main Street, America). If you want more quiet, particularly if you're visiting in the middle of the night, then huddle in the back at some of the smaller tables.
You can also sit at the counter with the classic swiveling stools...
...and try to sneak a peek in the kitchen. Unlike other diners, you don't get to sit right across from the kitchen. Bummer on that.
FOOD: "If you're awake, we're open," says the menu. Get your breakfast twenty-four hours a day. (Side note: the punctuation in that sentence makes it a good candidate for The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.)
The iconic brown diner mug. Typical okay coffee. Caffeinated and forgettable.
We started with Homemade Grilled Cinnamon Buns. The top one featured the maple glaze; the bottom is the white. Both were decent. Interesting that they're grilled - it gives them crispy edges - but that glaze is a pure sugary punch - make your teeth chatter.
The flattest and widest cinnamon buns I've seen. Proudly homemade. Not exceptional, but they went quickly.
I went with the old Two Eggs +: two eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast. With your coffee, it costs a whopping $4.15. If you wanted a simpler breakfast, you can get two eggs, toast, and coffee for $2.25. Bacon was thick and crispy. The potatoes were fresh and chunked, but oh my goodness, please season your potatoes! Also, there were some eyes in them - yikes! Not good. When all else fails, I can always just put my scrambled eggs on my fake-buttered toast. Thank goodness for that. Overall, it was all just okay, but nothing to write a blog about. Oh, wait...
My wife ordered the same, but with eggs over easy. These types of breakfasts are the ones you eat while in conversation. It's like muzak: it fills the background with some white noise that you can easily ignore. Here, you chow down on breakfast while chatting with everyone. You don't stop to point out how good such-and-such item is, you just eat it.
We ordered a side of french toast. Again, white noise. Doesn't taste bad (especially with the soft butter and fake syrup), but you just eat it and move on.
The one "special" menu item that caught my eye was the Deep Fried Mush. I ordered this out of curiosity, but was pretty disappointed that these were basically frozen corn meal/polenta patties you can buy in the store. And it absorbed too much of the cooking oil. More like vegetable oil patties.
And my brother-in-law ordered the Breakfast Hoagie, essentially the eggs, meat, and veggies on a hoagie bun. Don't know if I've seen a breakfast sandwich before. Plenty of burritos, no sandwiches. But he said it was good.
SERVICE: Typical diner service. I almost don't know what to say. A middle-aged server - not on the surly side, however - but nice, knows here Knowing the how old the restaurant is, I wonder how long the server has been there.
OVERALL: Places like Paxton's keep going for a reason. They're familiar, they have longevity, and a dedicated clientele. Returning customers like that will overlook average food, simple service, and even an out-dated location. There's certainly no reason to make a special trip to visit, but I hope places like Paxton's never disappear.