Commuting from Dyer, Ind., into the city everyday can wear you down. So Ben Moore found a space closer to home and, along with his wife, opened up a charming little diner where the portions are generous, and everything is made-to-order.
Tucked away between some farm fields.. in a barely occupied strip mall.. away from the center of Dyer, Indiana.. The Scrambled Diner has been packing them in, offering breakfast and lunch fare that rises beyond the predictable.
"We try to dress it up a little bit more. We focus on more homemade aspects. Everything that we can possibly accomplish in that small kitchen is made from scratch: sausages, jams, we brine our own corn beef, we make two different types of sausages," said Ben Moore, chef and owner of The Scrambled Diner.
Moore has worked in a number of Chicago kitchens, and it shows. At lunchtime, he offers a chicken caprese sandwich, which begins with homemade foccacia that's lightly grilled, then slathered with a balsamic mayo. Spinach, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are stacked up along with the marinated and grilled chicken breast for a two-fisted sandwich. If it's greens you crave, his version of a chopped salad is loaded with blue cheese crumbles and bits of smoked bacon for extra flavor.
At breakfast, he gets a little more creative; check out the French toast "club" - the thick slabs of eggy brioche bread are layered with cheese, scrambled eggs and bacon, for a dish befitting a lumberjack.
"We have the eggs the way you like them with hash browns and your choice of bacon or sausage but we also have omelets like the fresh omelets with asparagus and Swiss cheese. We've got a blue cheese omelet with bacon and spinach," Moore said.
And those omelets are spectacular. Created anyway you please, they are more than satisfying, arriving with hash browns and homemade toast. Moore says he and his wife have been pleasantly surprised by the community's support for the little restaurant.. he's glad he went with his gut from the start.
"I passed this place with a For Sale sign on it and I said 'what the heck? I'll take a chance on it.' and people seem to be embracing it. It's pretty cool," said Moore.
And in the spirit of any great short-order cook, Moore relishes the chance to make special orders. He says if there's something you want, and he has the ingredients, he'll gladly make it.
The Scrambled Diner
250 81st St.
Dyer, IN. 46311
Take I-394 to Steger Rd. Go east on Steger, which becomes 81st St. in Dyer, and it will be on the right side in a strip mall.