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A friend of mine is very keen on Americana and American style diners so we decided to stop off here on a return from a day out for a late lunch. The one we visited is on the A1 Northbound at the not-so-charmingly named Bloody Oaks service station just outside the town of Stamford between Peterborough and Grantham. I have not eaten at an OK diner before, and it seemed to offer a 1950s American Diner experience, including its silver frontage which looked just like the ones you see on the films.
We arrived at about 4.30pm on a Sunday, which was later than we planned and in spite of this supposedly off-peak time, the diner was practically full. As we were only two we didn't have to wait long to be seated. The whole décor continues the 1950s American diner ethos with film posters and adverts, a rock and roll soundtrack and appropriately dressed waitresses. Seated at our Formica table on leatherette chairs we perused the extensive menu.
The OK Diners are open from 8am, but no matter if you are later than that - they have a number of all day breakfasts on the menu, including a veggie one, as well as pancakes and French toast. We passed on the breakfasts, and also the sides and appetisers - chicken wings, tortillas and dips, fries etc and went straight to the mains. They have a number of burger options, including a veggie one, a fish one and a few chicken versions, along with various toppings. This is what my friend went for, but I cannot tell you which version he went for, they do offer 6oz and 10 oz version, the smaller ones being priced between £6.95 and £9.10 which includes fries, salad and relish. It was certainly a good sized burger and you can 'upgrade' your fries to a baked potato, twister fries (which my friend went for) or cheesy fries for an extra 50p. I am pleased to report that a diner such as this does their chips well (as you would expect).
Those not looking for burgers can choose from grills, hot sandwiches, bagels and salads. In the end I plumped for a veggie chilli (£7.25) which was a delicious and filling bean-y chilli on a bed of rice. It was served in a massive bowl and it looked a bit empty, but there was actually plenty there (a little bit more rice wouldn't have gone amiss). It was topped with grated cheese, sour cream and chopped red onion, and home-made tortilla chips were on the side. I really enjoyed it and would definitely consider it again if I returned. My only quibble would be that there was a bit too much chopped raw onion on the top, which left a bit of an after taste.
To drink, my friend had a bottomless coffee, (£1.95) and I had a Diet Coke (£2 including free refill which I didn't need). They also do juices, beers, wines and shakes. The shakes started at £3.65 and seemed to be authentically done in a metal shaker and of a good size, with a good variety of flavours. We passed on desserts which started at £3.25 for ice cream and also included cheesecakes and waffles.
The place was very busy with a constant stream of people coming in at all times; service was brisk, but polite and efficient. The ladies lavatories were in a good state considering how busy the place was, although they were getting low on toilet rolls. I would definitely try an OK Diner if I got the opportunity to again of which there are eight in the country.