Order Up: Digging into northern Michigan's diners

Most towns Up North have a local diner – that place everyone knows, 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. Diners are places where the history of a town slowly unfolds over generations of conversations, and thousands of servings of chicken-fried steak.

In a local diner, you can catch up with an old friend and soak in some of the character of a small town.

That's what IPR News intends to do this summer as we visit diners all over northern Michigan. We'll be bringing you their stories in this series, "Order Up: Digging into northern Michigan's diners."

Sam Corden

The owners of Bob’s Country Kitchen in Irons know that when your diner is out in the middle of nowhere, making fresh food from scratch is key. But sometimes, the thing that keeps your customers coming back has nothing to do with the food at all.

Morgan Springer

In Traverse City’s East Bay, on the busy hotel strip on U.S. 31, is Don’s Drive In. The pink and turquoise restaurant is known for its burgers and shakes and the fact that it’s kind of old school.

Aaron Selbig

As you pull into Mancelona, the highway narrows, following alongside railroad tracks and past a couple of abandoned warehouses. And then, there it is – a red, white and blue chicken, the unofficial mascot of the Iron Skillet.

Maya Kroth

At Cops and Doughnuts in Clare, classic tunes play on the stereo while customers line up at the glass display case, waiting to place their orders.

But Bill White isn’t here for the doughnuts.