Local all-night hotspot: Lil Chef

Sylvia Labrie and Matthew Valinski head to Lil' Chef at 2 a.m. to check out Mt. Pleasant's all night hotspot.

The 24 hour diner is a flashback to the fifties. Fast food giants now dominant the landscape of today’s cities, but one little diner stands the test of time. That diner is Lil’ Chef which has been going strong since it first opened in 1973.

When most of Mount Pleasant is asleep, Lil’ Chef’s staff works around the clock to provide for the masses of college students and travelers that stop in for a bite. Even at 2 a.m. when most would be asleep, the diner is packed with people waiting for scrambled eggs, pita wraps and hot apple pie.  I fully expected to be the only person in the diner at that time of the morning, but 50 people had crowded inside by the time I left at 3 a.m.

My waitress, Stephanie, informed me that most of their early morning traffic comes from the Wayside Club.

“When they get tired of dancing they come right over here to eat.”

Yes, some appeared to have had a few drinks under their belts, but the patrons I talked to said there had never been any problems. Jeff Thornton, 21, a Central Michigan junior, was one of those patrons who spoke fondly of the diner.

“Everyone is always happy and quiet here. I have never seen anyone raise their voice or start a fight.”

Breakfast is served all day long with specials specifically set for the 2 a.m. crowd and the 5a.m. crowd. Breakfast was not on the minds of the crowd gathered at 2 a.m.  The majority of patrons were ordering wraps.  Jeff’s favorite wrap was the buffalo, while his friend Aaron preferred the grilled cheese.

The restaurant’s homey atmosphere and friendly wait staff definitely ease the home-sick heart especially if you’re looking for home-style cooking.  Patrons call Lil’ Chef their home away from home and where many good memories stem from.  Lil’ Chef is a self-proclaimed “Midnight Oasis” for the on the go college student.

Ashley Weber, the new night manager of Lil’ Chef, only just started two months ago.  She was busy seating patrons and taking orders as the diner filled with hunger midnight wanders.

” I love working here. It’s fun and people are really friendly.”

Her description of a typical night is nonstop patrons spanning from the 2 a.m. college students to the 4 a.m. early risers clamoring in to get breakfast and everything in between. If you like good food, a family feel and a friendly atmosphere Lil’ Chef will be your home away from home.

GCM video by Sylvia Labrie and Matt Valinski

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