BY NATALIE WINTERS
Auto enthusiasts, breakfast fanatics and fans of the fabulous 50s have the perfect place to gather at Hot Rod Diner in Turlock and Hilmar.
Better known for their country cooking, decent prices and large portion sizes Hot Rod Diner does not disappoint.
“People come back for our biscuits and gravy,” said Ashleigh Johnson, manager of Hot Rod Diners. “It’s just good country cooking and you get what you pay for.”
Hot rods, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis are what you can expect at the diner, and chicken fried steak, hearty omelets and Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes for kids is what you can expect for breakfast.
Johnson says their most popular omelet is the La Bamba with chorizo and avocado.
The Diner opens at 6 a.m. and breakfast is served all day, along with their lunch and dinner items including a Hot Rod Diner favorite, the Philly Steak Sandwich.
“We have 50s and 60s music playing and it’s just a really fun atmosphere,” said Johnson. “It’s awesome and no one leaves disappointed.”
Monday through Friday Hot Rod Diner features a special that gives you more bang for your buck and a meal that you’ll come back for.
“Our Ham and Egg special is a favorite for our customers,” said Johnson.
For just $5.49 you get a slice of ham, eggs, choice of potatoes and biscuits or pancakes and the biscuits, Johnson adds, are made from scratch.
“They’re not the kind you plop in a pan and warm up; that’s not what we do here,” she said. “We make them from scratch and it makes all the difference.”
Johnson says that it’s not uncommon for their usual customers to feel like “they’re getting ripped off at other places” because no other diner matches their portion size and price.
“Not only is the food delicious the service is great and the prices are reasonable,” added Johnson.
Another thing that sets Hot Rod Diner apart is their monthly classic car shows held at the Turlock location the first Saturday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. April through October.
“We give away plaques, have a DJ and do a 50/50 raffle,” said Johnson. “There’s always a great turnout.”
The monthly competition includes first, second, and best truck prizes up for grabs. There are no entry fees.
As for the theme of the restaurant itself, owner Lupe Saavedra admits he couldn’t get his mind off of the beautiful Marilyn Monroe and that’s what inspired the 50’s and 60’s theme.
Hot Rod Diner is in the process of opening a third location in Ceres and is estimated to open sometime in April.