Sometimes, you just need a huge wholesome meal to fill not only your stomach but also your heart. The beauty of the classic diner is that you know you are definitely getting more food than you can possibly eat, but you are also getting recipes that have remained a constant for longer than you have been alive. This next spot is a place my wife and I randomly stopped at on our way to Portland, in the city of Medford, Oregon.
Punky's Diner and Pies
953 Medford Center
Medford, Oregon 97504
Ron Swanson once said that people who go to a restaurant and order anything that isn't breakfast are "Morons," and he is totally right. Punky's serves breakfast all day long, and whenever I get the chance to return, I probably won't even look at the lunch menu. Although I'm sure its delicious as well, you can never go wrong with breakfast.
Walking into the diner, you instantly feel like you are traveling back in time. With posters of classic car shows, signs for 10 cent sodas, and framed pictures of The Fonz in the bathroom, you know you are going to get a genuine experience. The place had customers at every table so we knew it was probably the right choice. The workers make you feel like you are a part of one big family who is coming together to enjoy some good food and good spirits. On the front of the menu, you get their list of unique ingredients that you will likely never find anywhere else:
- Almost 50 years of marriage
- Mustard seed of faith
- 20+ years experience in the food industry
- A ton of planning and work
- A loving nickname by a groom to his bride
- 13 fantastic grandchildren
- A bushel of passion for great tasting pies
and the people who eat them
- A bevy of townsfolk in need of pies made
Directions: Mix the first seven ingredients well and sprinkle the last ingredient gently over the top... and you get Punky's Diner and Pies!
Before you dive into your food mouth first, please take the time to enjoy the presentation of the plate. Honestly, there isn't even much plate to see because it is covered in like 3 pounds of hot and delicious food. I took the word of the waitress and went with a Family Favorite; The Chicken Fried Steak. It came with chicken fried steak, smothered in homemade sausage gravy (Yes bruh, SAUSAGE GRAVY) 2 eggs, fried red potatoes, and toast. As I make my way through my meal, pretty much just making a mess and mixing all of the foods together like a barbarian, I realize that I didn't even realize I was at a diner. I honestly felt like I was at home, enjoying a real home cooked meal.
As I push through to the end, probably also eating some of my wife's food, I realize that I am still supposed to eat pie. Now I am more than full by this point, I can't even drink my water because I feel like I am going to explode. But as soon as the waitress asked if we had room for pie, of course I said yes because when else am I going to be able to eat pie made from these unique ingredients, especially for breakfast. To the kids out there, as an adult you're allowed to eat whatever you want whenever you want. If you want apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on top at 9 am, then you fucking get it.
When the pie arrived, I was somehow no longer full for those 3 minutes that it was at the table. It was the best apple pie I have ever had, hands down. It could be because I was on another level of happiness because I knew I was going to propose to my wife that night, but whatever the case, you need that pie in your life. You need Punky's in your life. If you ever find yourself in Oregon, or you're just passing through on a road trip, you have to stop by and enjoy this throwback experience. We all love the fresh new restaurants that offer things we haven't seen before, but sometimes you just need the classics in your life to remind you to cherish the simple things in life.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.