There are only a few places in Eugene where the waitstaff and I know each other by name. Buddy's Diner is one of these restaurants. I love this place, and yet I always feel like I have to offer a caveat: "Oh, well, if you ignore the décor," I'll say, or "You know, it's just a little diner." I think it's time I just own it: I love this place. No excuses.
Well, except perhaps this one: I have no real idea of how good this place is for omnivores. I go here for the grilled cheese sandwich (see the accompanying sidebar) and, sometimes, the Veggie Philly Cheesesteak. Oh, and I've been known to have a strawberry shake, which comes with a glass and the metal canister, and is full of bits of frozen strawberry and strawberry syrup and creamy vanilla ice cream and...
So what's the story here? It's basic diner fare served in a café that may not be from the fifties, but certainly has a decorator who's been collecting since then. The booths are glittery red vinyl; there's a juke box; and the toilet seat in the ladies' room is in the shape of a guitar. You'll find breakfast fare, all day; burgers, in many varieties; chicken sandwiches, grilled or fried; assorted other sandwiches (meatball hoagie, pastrami melt, chicken-fried steak sandwich, a BLT, a Reuben); the aforementioned Philly sandwiches in steak, chicken, and veggie-patty varietals; a few dinner entrees (spaghetti with meatballs, pasta alfredo, a teriyaki chicken patty, chicken fried steak, NY Strip Steak); and basic ice cream treats. There's sometimes pie. There's sometimes not.
Unless you want the shrimp alfredo or the strip steak, everything on the menu is $10 or under.
When you order, you'll have the option of either saying "I'd like the Peggy Sue Melt" or calling things by their original names ("grilled cheese, please"). Service is quick and friendly. You can sit in the booths, at one of the few tables, or up at the counter, where you can oversee the grill.
I love the grilled cheese -- in part because it comes with crisp, crinkle-cut fries, in a little plastic basket that should be mandatory at all diners who want to be called diners. PLASTIC BASKETS, diners, do you hear me?
Anyway -- feel free, Eugene, not to fall in love with Buddy's. I will be very sad should I ever have to wait for a table. Because I love this place, and I'm proud of it.
Location: 1725 Coburg Rd
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; open 'til 10 on weekends