Hidden Gem Reviews: Breakfast

Who doesn’t love a good breakfast? Three Squallers set out to find the hidden breakfast spots in the Dexter/Ann Arbor area. Here’s what they found.
By Lucas Bell, Kyle Doyle & Christopher Gaskin


A delightful haven of breakfast delicacies that is hidden off Ann Arbor-Saline road was our first breakfast place to indulge. However, indulgence did not come immediately.

Saturday mornings are the best time to get breakfast, but try to get there early. After 30 minutes of waiting, we were seated. The atmosphere of Nick’s calls to mind a more modern diner, with it’s combination of incredibly comfortable booths and tables, paired with a rusty tan tile.

image1The ambiance feels diner, the business occurs like a formal restaurant.

A huge arrangement of hits from across the decades (From “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye to “3AM” by Matchbox 20) played over the radio at a good volume; Not overbearing, but loud enough to hear. The waitress that took our order was obviously stressed with a full section, but she remained calm. However, she was forgetful, as it took her until midway through the meal for one of our coffees to come. Another  waitress spilled some coffee on the table and just walked away without a word.

It took maybe 25 minutes for the heaping mound of pre-noon edibles to get to the table, which was quick for the business. A steak and bell pepper skillet topped with a disappointing amount of cheese, melts in your mouth while fluffed chocolate chip pancakes the size of pizzas dance across your tongue.

The bacon was smokier than grandpa’s kiss, and it was agreed that it was the best wheat toast consumed by the three of us. However, the hashbrowns were okay at best. They lacked seasoning and tasted like they threw shredded potato on the grill and called it good.

After our feast we realized our mammoth meal had not been finished. For $27, three grown boys could not finish everything put in front of them. If you’re looking for a breakfast place that is going to make you feel like a bean bag chair, in a good way, come to Nick’s. They’ll do ya right.


There are few restaurants capable of providing an overall dining experience like the Pinckney Diner. Right off of Main Street  in Pinckney, the diner is about 20 minutes from Dexter High School.

Unlike our adventure to Nick’s, we ate on a Tuesday evening. The place was fairly empty, as Tuesday at 3:50 PM is not prime dining time. As soon as you walk in you feel cozy. The layout of the restaurant screams classic diner, and the only thing it’s missing is a bar in front of the kitchen.

We were allowed to pick our seats, so we chose a nice corner booth; however, you can’t go wrong with any table, as they are all placed well. We hope you don’t mind leaning though, because the seats are basically right angles.

There was one server working, and it would be fimage5air to say she is a model for the industry. She was attentive, kind, and, despite us being her only patrons, not overbearing. You could tell that she wasn’t putting on an act like many servers do.

Our order consisted of a sausage gravied-cheese-loaded-heaping-pile-of-deliciousness skillet that compared with the Knight’s-sirloin filled delicacy we enjoyed at Nick’s. It was phenomenal. Unfortunately, the french toast is nothing to be desired. The pancakes are a bit sweet, but very fluffy. That being said, for what we paid, it was all good; $30 got us enough food to feed a family of four. I’m sure the food would have been even better if they hadn’t been playing country music a bit too loudly over the speakers. It just had to be country… 

Overall, the Pinckney Diner is the perfect place to take a group of friends for Saturday brunch or to take grandma for the early bird special. We spent two hours in our booth talking and sipping the best diner coffee of all three of the restaurants. That’s the kind of place the diner is. You go planning to enjoy a meal, but you end you end up staying until the next.


Sitting across the street from Quality 16 on Jackson Road, Uptown Coney Island lives up to the connotations its name drums up.

The walls were covered in paintings of 1950’s cars driving on country roads, along with signs for Pepsi, Budweiser and Michigan’s own Bell’s Brewery (this was the only place that served alcohol).

We took seats at a corner booth, and were immediately greeted by our smiling waitress who was singing along to the radio, that was playing current hit songs .

image7We ordered our now usual skillet, (this time it was a philly cheesesteak inspired dish), chocolate chip pancakes, and a side of order of both bacon and hashbrowns. Our coffees were delivered promptly and were very hot. The mugs were the largest and best designed out of all the glasses we had used. A slight divot made a full digited grasp easy and comfortable.

After a brief wait, our food was brought out. The presentation was not as good as the other two restaurants; the portions were adequate, but definitely the smallest.

We enjoyed our meal, but nothing was a cheese and green bell pepper shined above the sirloin at Nick’s and the sausage gravy of Pinckney.

The pancakes had decent flavor, but the rubbery texture was somewhat offputting. It reminded us of Food and Nutrition school pancakes that come in the little bags. For some, this might be intriguing.

While we still ate well, the value was sub par when compared to our other choices. This was the only meal we actually finished. Although we can all appreciate reducing waste, compared to the other places the $30 we spent did not go quite as far.

On the whole, Uptown is definitely a good place for a laid-back breakfast with fantastic service.