It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas. In July.
It’s not about rushing the season. The trees are lit and the house is decorated year-round at the Lois Mann restaurant on the south side. And as far as restaurant themes go, Christmas seems like a good time. It’s a worthy use of the holiday decor volumes that tend to pile up. Lois Mann also has a detectable guitar theme, with instruments also mounted high as set pieces. But it’s hard to compete with all the Christmas bling, especially the animatronic section.
We’re not talking bombed-out corporate kitsch here. We’re talking real-real, real-deal.
That said, Lois Mann’s menu isn’t particularly Christmas. No cranberries. Or roast goose. Instead, it’s a simple restaurant that, in the tradition of good diners, serves breakfast all day, with an array that includes everything from classic grilled cheese to stuffed peppers.
Either way, it’s a good time. So take your money and let’s try a few things.
Take your money, literally, by the way. Before you get carried away with the order, make sure you have packed some cash. This is not a credit transaction.
Alright, so the protocols might not be clear upon arrival, but go ahead and sit at any vinyl tablecloth covered table. It will take you a minute to sift through the manageable menu, illuminated by the magic of Christmas lights. All day breakfast means Crepes anytime, and you can score a platter of three gold spins for $3.99. Nicely shaped, with crispy edges and plenty of absorbency for as much syrup as you need.
All-day breakfast also means regular access to a nice homemade gravy combo, nicely topped with sausage, a warm biscuit, fried potatoes and two made-to-order fried eggs (all-inclusive 6.95 $).
The breakfast menu also includes a few omelettes and French toast options. Beyond the breakfast scene is a classic dinner menu, the pinnacle of which is probably the Hot roast beef split ($12.95). It’s retro food. If you need artisanal, hand-carved organic beef on freshly baked seed bread, you have to explore another restaurant. In Christmas Town, you’re looking at a few chunks of lean, not overly processed roast beef between slices of white bread, smothered in a brown gravy. The same sauce covers a perfectly round ball of mashed potatoes. Long-cooked green bees are served as an accompaniment. It’s not fancy. It is hearty and provides a complete old fashioned dining experience.
A little more fanciful are the Cabbage rolls ($12.95). A tidy bun of well seasoned ground beef (with a little rice) is wrapped in cooked sweet cabbage which is smothered and cooked in a tomato sauerkraut mixture. The combo is cooked long enough to take away some of the aggressive zing of the kraut, but it retains enough personality to give the dish some zazzle. It is also served with a scoop of potatoes and green beans.
Beyond dinner, the menu also features subs and pizza. Lois Mann’s is closed on Sundays, but open Monday through Saturday. According to a sign on the door, current hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. You’ll find it at 1904 S. High St. (But you won’t find it online, the restaurant doesn’t have a website or social media page.)
All photos by Susan Post