IN-DEPTH: Ritchie's Diner

Ritchie's Diner

Summer in France is a wonderful time. Hot days and long nights make getting out of the city for a swim and a picnic an absolute necessity. For The Pinot Front Row in Dijon, who is used to the expansive coastline of Western Australia, there isn’t a lot to choose from unless you venture further afield.. 

On one such hot day we had opted for Lac des Settons, a well visited and lively spot for a dip about an hour away. And after a very pleasant day down at the lake we headed back to Dijon. A fairly uneventful drive until, about half way, off in the distance, The Pinot Front Row spotted something yellow that looked decidedly out of place. As we approached it became even more out of place: a yellow train carriage sitting in the middle of this commercial area of Creancy, otherwise the home of nondescript car dealerships and industrial lots. Out the front were thatched-roof wooden tables, a statue of Elvis, and to the side a chrome Airstream caravan. Unfortunately, on this occasion plans for that evening meant it was not permissible to stop. And realistically how good could something so kitschy actually be… 

The next day the train carriage returned to The Pinot Front Row’s memory, with the question of how good it could possibly be remaining unanswered. A quick Google search incredibly yielded a listing 4.6 stars out of 1,000+ reviews. These are impressive numbers in anyone’s book and so dinner plans were launched to try it.

The big day arrived and the excitement in the air was palpable, at least on one side of the car. It was getting dark as we arrived and it was to an empty carpark and an empty train carriage, other than the staff. Could the Google review have been wrong? Why wasn’t there more people here if it was so good? Nevertheless, we’d travelled all that way and so wouldn’t be deterred. 

The kitsch outside extends inside, with lots of (genuine) American memorabilia and decorations adorning the walls. Sit yourself down in one of their booths and take in the surroundings, and it at least feels quite genuine, well considered, and certainly not trying too hard in a way some retro or chain American diner’s try to be.

The menu is extensive and there’s a lot there to choose from. We both went for burgers, chips and milkshakes. It didn’t take long before it arrived, even if other patrons were finally starting to arrive. Impressions, and it was as good as the Google review suggest. The burgers were uncomplicated but did the simple things well and the milkshakes were thick and full of flavour. No frills, no fuss, all up just good, filling American food.

And so it turns out that there weren’t many people there not because the place wasn’t good, far from it, rather they were eating at a time normal for the French (post-8pm). By the time we finished our meal the carriage was packed, and The Pinot Front Row can see why.

Yours in rugby,

The Pinot Front Row

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