Order Up: digging into northern Michigan's diners

Jun 30, 2017

Daily specials advertised at the Iron Skillet in Mancelona.
Credit Aaron Selbig

Most towns Up North have a local diner – a place everyone knows about, where you can get a simple meal and a strong cup of coffee at a reasonable price.

But diners are more than just a place to eat. You can see the history of a town slowly unfold over generations of conversations in a diner.

Mike Nygren, owner of the Iron Skillet in Mancelona, gets satisfaction out of that.

“To me, having a business in a small town is all about being part of the community,” says Nygren. “It’s not just about us making money; it’s about helping the community grow.”

Like a lot of diners, the Iron Skillet serves as a boardroom for a group of regulars who, as one of them puts it, meet every morning to “solve the world’s problems.”

This summer, IPR is taking off on a road trip, to learn more about northern Michigan communities through its neighborhood diners.

We’ll meet a sheriff in Lake County who runs a country diner with his wife and operates a shooting range out back.

We’ll ride into Rapid City with a group of bikers.

And we’ll meet the guy who claims to have the best eggs benedict in northern Michigan.

We’d also love to hear from you. Do you know someone who works in a diner who’s a real character? Do you have a funny diner story to share with us?

Leave your comment on our listener line at 231-276-4441.