Listeners have been recommending diners across northern Michigan, from Grand Marais to Beaver Island, during IPR’s series Order Up. IPR took the advice of one caller and visited Randy’s Diner in Traverse City – with him.
“It’s just a great environment that’s small and cozy and convivial,” says Craig O’Connor of Traverse City. “There’s a lot of people who know each other that eat there. You just feel like you’re part of the family and part of the community there.”
Craig moved to the U.S. from New Zealand in the 1980s and has lived in northern Michigan ever since. He says he's been a regular at Randy's Diner for the last dozen years or so.
Randy and Norma Vyverberg have run Randy’s Diner since purchasing it in the late 1990s. There were a number of different restaurants in the location over the years.
“It’s a small place,” Craig says. “There’s probably 20 tables … and booths sort of in an L shape.”
Cindy Blair has waited tables at Randy’s since her sister and brother-in-law bought the place.
“I remember everybody’s face and what they order,” Blair says.
As for what Craig normally gets …
“Over easy [eggs], hash browns, dry whole wheat,” Blair says. “Oh, and then he’ll have sausage instead of bacon.”
Blair recommends the stuffed hash browns – one of the more popular dishes. It's a bowl of hash browns loaded with sausage, bacon, onions, green peppers, cheese and eggs.
“Cindy remembers little quirky things,” Craig says, “like having my toast on a side plate.”
Craig recalls the first time he visited Randy’s Diner was with his daughters on the first day of school about a dozen years ago.
“My daughter Katie just said, ‘this reminds me of Andy Griffith,’” Craig says.
Randy's Diner celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year.