The old-school favorite Northside Diner, known for its vintage Hollywood mural, generous portions, Stacked Chicks platter and the trains rumbling by, was crowned breakfast champion of Indiana’s Cool North, a Northern Indiana-wide honor.
Indiana Dunes Tourism and the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission stage the annual Food Wars competition to promote regional restaurants. It’s a joint initiative by the NITDC and its convention and visitors bureaus in Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Marshall, Kosciusko, Elkhart and LaGrange counties.
The public across the northern part of the Hoosier state voted for their favorite breakfasts over the course of a month. Previous competitions have involved burgers, pizza and tacos.
“This year’s Food Wars was one of the most competitive yet, and this year’s breakfast theme showcased a variety of locally owned restaurants throughout the region,” Indiana Cool North stated in a news release. “Thousands of votes were cast during two separate online voting rounds, but Northside Diner edged out the rest of the competition to stand alone as the breakfast king. Northside Diner now owns the title ‘Best Breakfast in Indiana’s Cool North’ thanks to its family-friendly atmosphere, its excellent service and its delicious variety of breakfast favorites.”
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Northside Diner, the pancake house near the train tracks at 100 N. Calumet Road, bested Jennie Rae’s Restaurant in Rolling Prairie, Castaways in Plymouth, Macadoo’s Family Restaurant in Mishawaka, The Golden Egg Pancake House in Elkhart, American Table Restaurant in Warsaw and Country Corral Restaurant in Shipshewana in the popular vote.
31 places in the Region that serve hearty breakfasts
Address: 1103 Joliet St., Dyer Signature Item: Stuffed cheddar & bacon biscuits and gravy. A half order costs $6.50 and a full order costs $9.
A roomy breakfast spot situated in Dyer's historic "Ideal Section."
Address: 114 E Lincolnway, Valparaiso Signature Item: The fantastic breakfast sandwich, which comes with red onion, red pepper, arugula, goat cheese and egg on sourdough bread for $4.29.
A trendy cafe and hotspot for Valparaiso University students looking for good breakfast food and coffee.
Address: 339 Main St., Hobart Signature Item: The Brickie Bowl Skillet, which includes sausage, bacon, onions and homemade potatoes. It's topped with Monterey Jack cheese, country gravy and two eggs any style. It's served with toast or pancakes for $7.65.
This popular restaurant sits in the heart of downtown Hobart.
Christo's Family Dining
Address: 1462 W SR 2, LaPorte Signature Item: Nutella crepes stuffed with a choice of strawberries or bananas for $6.99.
A greasy spoon with an old-timey interior on the southwest edge of LaPorte.
Eli's Golden Apple
Address: 101 E 107th Ave., Crown Point Signature Item: The large apple pancake: a pancake the size of a medium pizza made with crisp apples and carmelized sugar for $10.79.
The apple outside isn't the only golden thing about this tasty Crown Point establishment.
George's Family Restaurant
Address: 1910 E Commercial Ave., Lowell Signature Item: Stuffed french toast filled with sweetened cream cheese and topped with maple syrup, blueberries, strawberries, powdered sugar, cinnamon and whipped cream for $8.09.
An easy-going and quiet breakfast restaurant in placid southern Lake County.
Grandma's House of Pancakes
Address: 502 State St., LaPorte Signature Item: Banana split pancakes, which start out with pancakes and come topped with ice cream, bananas and strawberry glaze for $7.55.
A small breakfast spot just a block off of downtown LaPorte's main stretch.
J's Breakfast Club
Address: 3669 Broadway, Gary Signature Item: Shrimp and Grits, featuring sauteed shrimp and cheddar cheese served over grits and toast for $7.99.
A humble, soul-themed restaurant just a block away from the Indiana University Northwest campus.
Address: 444 W Ridge Road, Griffith Signature Item: Biscuits and gravy, offered with a choice of eggs or hash browns. A half order with the sides is $7.25 and a full order is $7.95.
The phoenix of Region greasy spoons after having been rebuilt following a fire in 2003.
Jelly Pancake House
Address: 936 Joliet St., Dyer (also located in Merrillville) Signature Item: Strawberry cheesecake crepes, which have cheesecake stuffed inside and strawberry glaze on top for $9.95.
A trendy, bright breakfast establishment serving up greasy spoon goodies in Dyer.
Les Cafe Pancake House
Address: 2708 Highway Ave., Highland Signature Item: Bill's De-Lite, a specialty item for those looking for something on the lighter side of calories. It features egg whites, mushrooms and spinach along with a toasted English muffin and your choice of tomato slices or fruit and a glass of juice.
A humble cafe nestled in Highland's downtown and just a small ways off the Erie Lackawanna Bike Trail.
Maxim's Restaurant & Lounge
Address: 7205 Broadway, Merrillville Signature Item: The Melting Pot Skillet, which comes with ham, bacon, sausage, egg whites, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.
An easy-going breakfast or lunchtime spot for workers and residents in and around Merrillville and Gary.
Memo's House of Pancakes
Address: 1714 U.S. 20, Michigan City Signature Item: The super omelette, which comes with ham, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheese for $8.79.
Hungry and can't wait before you arrive in Michigan or South Bend? Just pull off the highway to stop in here.
Address: 100 N Calumet Road, Chesterton Signature Item: Stacked Chicks, a dish including two eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and cheese piled on top of biscuits and gravy for $8.69.
You can't miss this place with the mural aiming right in the direction of Calumet Road in downtown Chesterton.
Address: 6525 Indianapolis Blvd., Hammond Signature Item: The steak skillet, which includes strips of beef topped with melted American cheese for $7.69.
The place to be in Hammond for a Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast out.
Portage House of Pancakes
Address: 5900 U.S. 6, Portage Signature Item: A full order of pancakes (four) starting at $5.95. Pancakes can come plain, with strawberries, blueberries, chocolate chips or pecans.
An easy-going greasy spoon ideal for a Saturday or Sunday morning meal in Portage.
Address: 1151 W 37th Ave., Hobart Signature Item: The three-egg omelette, which comes with a choice of hash browns or toast for $5.95. Omelette options include ham, sausage, mushrooms or gyros with cheese.
This classic Hobart icon still rocks breakfast in eastern Lake County.
Address: 2606 Portage Mall, Portage Signature Item: The melting pot skillet, which comes with onions, ham, bacon, sausage and Swiss, American and cheddar cheeses for $8.25.
A Portage classic with ornate stained glass on the doors in the shape of roses and reddish lighting on the inside.
Round the Clock
Address: 9010 Indianapolis Blvd., Highland (also located in Chesterton, Dyer, Lansing, and Valparaiso) Signature Item: The 4 for 4 breakfast, a bundle that lets customers choose four separate items for the price of $4.
A laid back restaurant with a rustic theme.
Address: 2040 45th St., Highland Signature Item: The Hobo Skillet, which comes with ham, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, sauteed vegetables, cheese and hash browns topped with sausage gravy and two eggs for $9.39.
As the name might suggest, this spot specializes in steaming hot skillets — 19 of them to be exact.
Sophia's House of Pancakes
Address: 9344 Indianapolis Blvd., Highland Signature Item: The combo skillet, which comes with ham, sausage, bacon, green peppers, onions, cheese and two eggs any style for $9.75.
You can't keep a good greasy spoon down. Like Jedi's Garden, Sophia's suffered a fire as well that shut down the restaurant until it was renovated and reopened.
Address: 1342 119th St., Whiting Signature Item: The 2-2-2: two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links as well as a choice of toast, french toast or pancakes for $4.46.
Don't let the name fool you. Breakfast is always hopping here.
Address: 1050 Southpoint Circle, Valparaiso Signature Item: A cinnamon roll, which is estimated to be three pounds with vanilla frosting, for $5.99.
A small, friendly shop off the beaten path in Valparaiso and tucked away off of U.S. 30.
Address: 745 Ridge Road, Munster Signature Item: The commander skillet, which comes with ham, bacon, sausage, onions, potatoes and American cheese. Comes with a choice of eggs or toast. The dish costs $9.25.
An easy-going family establishment that, aside from its breakfast, is known for its lemon rice soup, according to management.
The Purple Steer
Address: 8601 Indianapolis Blvd., Highland (also located in Whiting) Signature Item: The melting pot skillet, which comes with eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, American, Swiss, and cheddar cheeses, hash browns and onions. The dish costs $8.99.
A cozy family restaurant with dishes so filling you might end up feeling like a steer yourself by the end of the meal.
The Scrambled Diner
Address: 250 81st Ave., in Dyer Signature item: The French Toast Club, a dish featuring French toast, bacon, cheese and eggs stacked together for $9.
A popular breakfast joint in southern Dyer notable for its egg concoctions, such as the Tangled Up in Blue omelet and Mighty Irish skillet.
Address: 7430 Indianapolis Blvd., Hammond Signature Item: The Baked Apple Pancake, a large pancake infused with fresh apples, sugar and cinnamon glaze for $8.99.
A classic Hammond breakfast spot just right off the Borman expressway.
Toast & Jam
Address: 7311 Mallard Lane, Schererville Signature Item: The farmhouse, which includes a half order of biscuits and gravy, two sausage links, two strips of bacon, has browns and a choice of toast or pancakes and two eggs for $9.99.
A trendy, modern breakfast joint notable for its breakfast food-themed wall artwork and Bell jar lights.
Address: 8813 Indianapolis Blvd., Highland Signature Item: Pork chops, which also come with eggs and hash browns and a choice of toast or pancakes. One porkchop is $6.95 and two are $9.95.
A small greasy spoon just a short walk away from Wicker Park.
Topp Skillet Cafe
Address: 810 Lincolnway, LaPorte Signature Item: The Topper's Mess, an arrangement of biscuits, cheesy potatoes, one egg and topped with sausage gravy. A half order is $5.50 and a full order is $8.50.
A small, cheery cafe right in the middle of downtown LaPorte. A perfect place to stop during a visit or shopping run to this part of town.