Family-style feasting

Right in the heart of this Jersey County community, you’ll discover a small family diner that does things up right.

The tall sign next to the main road through town is easily noticeable, as is the name of the joint, prominently displayed on the building. The paved parking lot wraps around the square building, offering plenty of space for patrons.

Enter through a vestibule and come face to face with the counter and hostess station. It features a big open dining area with wooden floors. Booths line the outside walls with small wooden tables and chairs sprinkled throughout the rest of the restaurant.

A couple of small partitions separate tables to offer a more private experience. Beige walls with a couple of TVs in corners and some random paintings on the walls comprise the decorations. Some of the paintings are coffee-themed; some are of flowers and other generic themes.

It’s really got that classic family diner atmosphere, good for small and large groups and relaxing meals.

The gigantic menu has something for everyone and stays simple and affordable. Breakfast is served all day here, and daily specials are available.

It was steady business here when I visited on a weekday afternoon between lunch and dinner. It can get quite busy during peak hours with the good grub and cheap prices.

I was in a breakfast mood, so I chose the smoked ham steak with three eggs. It also came with shredded hash browns and pancakes, so a monster meal and I only paid $6.99. I can’t complain about that.

I chose sunny side up for my eggs, so I was stoked just dreaming of popping those yolks and letting that creamy goodness cascade all over a big slab of pork. When it arrived that’s exactly what I did, with hot sauce and black pepper added to the mix for a little zing.

The ham was super thick with a great smoky taste. It was also extremely tender. I practically cut through it with a fork. I gently shifted all three eggs on top of my ham steak and stabbed them to run all over everything. The taste was phenomenal and extremely filling.

On top of that the shredded hash browns were tender as heck and offered that classic taste. The two buttermilk pancakes were huge and fluffy. They had a great rich taste, gussied up with a little butter and maple syrup.

Just writing this my mouth is beginning to water.

Like I said, the price is right, too. You definitely get your money’s worth here.

Some of the other scrumptious breakfast options include pork chops and eggs, chopped sirloin steak and eggs, ribeye steak and eggs, a selection of crepes and a slew of omelets, including a chicken fajita variety.

There are also appetizers, salads, burgers, steaks, chops and ribs, sandwiches and melts, chicken, pasta and specials sections on the menu.

The bourbon chicken caught my eyes, as did the barbecue pork steak and the chicken Milan — a chicken breast sautéed with fresh broccoli, mushrooms and a creamy garlic sauce, on a bed of pasta.

This is an alcohol-free restaurant. I ordered water on my visit, but they offer soda, juice, milk, coffee and hot chocolate. It’s open seven days a week.

Any idea of the name of this family-style diner in Jersey County? Scroll down to see if you’re correct.

Overall - four stars

Cleanliness - three and half stars

Service - four stars

Food - four stars

Price - $

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ANSWER: Nick’s Pancake House, 891 S. State St. in Jerseyville