Ham, eggs and Eastwood
“The pancakes are fluffy,” says D. Brian Burghart reflectively. “But Clint keeps staring at me.”
Even before our associate editor mentioned it, I’d noticed the large poster of a young Clint Eastwood. In fact, the walls of Mann’s Restaurant on Kietzke Lane are jam packed with assorted photos of cowboys, like Eastwood and John Wayne. The art is part of the café owner’s collection, a waiter tells me, pointing out owner Doug Mann, the guy in a black Raiders T-shirt behind the grill.
The RN&R staff had just finished the weekly miracle that you read last week, and we were hungry. It’s not terribly hard to get breakfast at 11:30 a.m. Editorial assistant Miranda Jesch says she knows of a fine place.
“It used to be Mann’s, but I think the name changed,” she says.
But the waiter tells us that, despite the apparent lack of signage out front, the restaurant is still Mann’s. Mann is still manning the grill and holding the hard line on family dining. “Children, remain seated,” a sign directs.
“I want to point out two things,” Arts Editor Carli Cutchin says, after glancing at the menu. She quotes her favorite parts: “One, ‘God loves you!’ at the bottom of both pages, and two, ‘No credit cards or checks accepted.’ “
It’s a good thing I have cash.
Brian also enjoys reading the menu, noting that as far as breakfast combination specials go, there will be “no substitutions.” But after the listing for the “Miner Special"—six bacon or sausage links or three sausage patties, three eggs, hash browns and three slices of toast ($6.75), the menu crisply notes that you actually can substitute three hot cakes or three slices of French toast for the hash browns and toast.
Clint Eastwood looks on. He is not amused by these inconsistencies. Maybe nothing is as it seems. Maybe they would take a check at Mann’s. I begin to wonder if God really loves you.
Reading my mind, Miranda notes a reiteration of “God loves you!” on the white board where tuna sandwich is listed as the special of the day. I immediately feel better.
Vegetarian Carli orders scrambled eggs and French toast ($2.75). She likes it, though it’s so good that she suspects the cook used plenty of butter: “It’s too good.” Vegetarian Miranda orders pancakes and hash browns ($2.75). She’s the first to declare the pancakes fluffy, going into food reviewer mode with the following remark: “Often, when I get pancakes fried in fat, they end up burned around the edges with griddle grease. These aren’t like that.”
“No griddle grease?” I confirm.
“No griddle grease.”
Brian orders three eggs over medium, a slice of ham, hash browns and a short stack.
“I skipped dinner last night,” he tells us at first. Then he remembers. “No, I didn’t skip dinner. I ate three hot dogs. And about 20 cookies.”
I get the minced ham and scrambled eggs with hash browns and toast ($4.75). It’s all good.
We talk about school—Carli’s teaching at TMCC and Miranda’s taking Old Norse at UNR. A poster of double-belted, gun-slinging John Wayne sparks talk of fashion, of baggy pants and belts and how girls wear pants down low so you can see their thongs, or “butt-floss,” as our token male says.
The ornate light fixtures are dark, but sun filters in through the windows. I can see the rows of recreational vehicles for sale on the lot next door. At a nearby table, a cell phone rings, playing a familiar tune that I can’t put my finger on. At another table, a girl dumps about eight tablespoons of sugar into her coffee. I am relaxed, and my tummy is full. Then it’s time to go.
I don’t even ask if they’ll take a check.