On one of the first real fall-weather days in Rochester, I decided to find some comforting American cuisine to combat the chillier weather. A few friends and I ruled out our typical greasy spoon staples and opted for a cozier and more charming establishment – Charlie’s Frog Pond.

Walking into the restaurant on Park Avenue felt like stepping into a Tim Burton film set – not to the freakish extent of “Beetlejuice,” but more along the lines of the pleasing cinematography in “Big Fish.” The fluorescent colors that adorned every inch of the interior were accentuated by strangely-shaped booth dividers and lighting fixtures. The bright yellow wallpaper was adorned with cartoonish white frogs.

My dining partners and I chose a horseshoe-shaped booth next to the window. The yellow vinyl seats, metallic table and placemat menus paid homage to the restaurant’s diner roots without being cheesy.

Our table faced a giant chalkboard that hung in the center of the restaurant, boasting a number of dinner specials. The standard menu featured nearly 35 egg variations including the college student’s dream: “The Hangover Omelet,” with hot peppers, onions, bacon and cheddar cheese. It also included an array of sandwiches, burgers and traditional dinners like meat loaf or roast beef. And, like any good diner, breakfast was served all day long with butter-soaked toast and jelly.

Despite the restaurant being less-than-crowded, it took some time before we got any attention from the wait staff, though our waitress was friendly and very accommodating to all of our requests. Based on her recommendations, I decided on the “Frog’s Famous Frittata,” while my dining partners chose items such as a Buffalo Burger and Eggs Michelle, each dish costing less than $7.

Again the wait was a bit disconcerting, as we watched a number of pairs who had come in after us get served their food. But just as my stomach was beginning to growl, our waitress appeared with our orders.

In my culinary experience, a frittata is an omelet-like dish, except that instead of being folded over, it’s served open-faced and is grilled slightly. But my dish appeared before me as a massive mixture of home fries, crumbled sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese and peppers – a garbage plate of good diner breakfast. My first bite only reaffirmed the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” because it was incredibly flavorful, despite looking like a pile of leftovers.

After surrendering with a quarter of it left, I noticed the bottom of the chalkboard read “Homemade pies.” I couldn’t pass up the chance, so I ordered a piece of “Bumble Berry” pie, and the hearty slice was the perfect end note to the meal.

Fischer is a member of the class 2008.



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