On a crisp, but sunny, recent Sunday morning, we visited Renee’s Diner on Massachusetts Avenue in North Adams in an attempt to find the best diner in the Northern Berkshires. As we walked in, we were overcome by the friendly, “homey” feel of the restaurant, and we were immediately offered seats at a cozy table in the corner. It is a simple building, with only one room and about ten tables, yet big enough to accommodate the bustling array of amiable people who filled in and out. There were regulars whom all of the waitresses knew, and also new customers like us–all in search of a delicious brunch and the perfect place to dine.
As we settled into our seats right across from each other, we ordered an orange juice and water. While mulling over our cartes du jour in a quest to find something desirable to eat, we found ourselves staring at a basic breakfast menu of pancakes, french toast, waffles, home fries, eggs, etc.. However, after perusing the menu further, we found ourselves looking at each other in astonishment. What were these new and creative options? The Very Veggie Omelet, the Meat Skillet, breakfast tacos, the Super Hungry Man, and the Garbage Plate?! As a team, we were very impressed with the descriptions and variety of these innovative breakfast options, and we decided we would be wild and order meals big enough to satisfy our large appetites.
To match my own physical state, I chose the Super Hungry Man for my brunch option. This dish included 3 eggs, 2 pieces of toast, 3 pancakes or french toast, and a choice of ham, bacon, or sausage, served with home fries. It was past my usual breakfast time, and I couldn’t wait for the meal to arrive. When I saw the waitress coming from the kitchen, I was surprised to see her holding two plates. As she came closer and closer, I came to the shocking realization that those two plates held my one meal. When I dug into my meal, I was not let down in terms of the size and most importantly, taste. My favorite brunch food is by far french toast, so accordingly, I stuck my everyday metal fork into the powdered sugar-covered sweet bread. I was amazed with the combination of tastes that encompassed everything I look for in french toast: a subtle savory flavor melded with sweet, local maple syrup and was topped off with fluffy, delicate powdered sugar. Within seconds, it was gone. Subsequently, I dug into my eggs, expecting greatness yet again. Unfortunately, the eggs fell a bit short of my liking due to the immense amount of grease that was dripping off the sides. Alas, with my appetite, I was certainly not going to quit there though and continued to go after the rest of my Super Hungry Man. The home fries, bacon, and toast were delightful, but nothing I had never seen before. The home fries were fulfilling, the bacon crispy, and the toast buttery. These are all good aspects of a meal in my mind. To sum my Sunday breakfast up, the sweet foods were outstanding, filled with flavor, but the savory foods need a little work.
In preparation for this meal, I had gone on a super long run the day before to ensure my true eating potential. In addition to the run I just ordered a water to save a little more room in my stomach for a few more bites. So, like at every breakfast place I go to, I knew I had to order pancakes. I went with my usual, blueberry pancakes and had to make sure to ask for pure maple syrup. Whenever you go to a breakfast establishment you have to make sure not to skimp on the syrup, you can’t get that fake corn syrup imposter. Along with the pancakes, I ordered something a little unorthodox, breakfast tacos. I’ve heard of breakfast burritos, but never in all of my breakfasts had I seen breakfast tacos, I had to order them. I got to choose the contents of my tacos, two veggies and one or more meats. I decided on peppers, onions, and sausage. We ordered all of the food and the waitress seemed a little astonished at the amount of food that we were ordering. The wait for the food was not bad at all, only about twenty minutes for the copious amount of food ordered. When she came with the food, I was astonished, four plates filled with food. After a few pictures to encompass the reality of the food. Then we dug in, I started with the pancakes, which were incredible. They were perfect, fluffy, airy, and thick with the exactly the right ratio of blueberry to pancake. It took me under five minutes to demolish the short stack. I needed a quick breather before I attempted the tacos. The tacos, two fried tortillas, with an omelet esque interior. It was good, but not great, the grease, there was just too much grease. When I squeezed the taco, grease came dribbling out, I couldn’t get over it. I was able to finish one of the tacos, but that was more than enough. Overall my meal was good the pancakes were incredible, but the tacos and eggs were too greasy and it took away from the meal.
Gabe’s Bathroom Review
One very important piece of any restaurant is it’s bathroom. If I go to a restaurant and the bathroom is incredibly with a fancy vanity and spotlessly clean I notice. The worst is to go to a nice restaurant and everything is going great and you go to the bathroom and it is a mess. Smelly, not clean, out of paper towels every little piece comes together to create an unpleasant experience. Renee’s was neither super fancy or grungy and uninviting. It was probably one of the most average bathrooms I have ever been in. Average is not a bad thing though, as it was still clean and smelled as it had been recently febreezed. There was a nice little window for some nice natural light, no writing on the walls, soap and full paper towels, a double plus. As a whole, it was an average bathroom, with no big issues and nothing that caught my eye. I would rate it a 6/10.
As there are not very many small, eye-catching diners in the area, Renee’s is definitely one of the best diners you’ll find if you’re looking for brunch. With the small, family-based feel, it is a place that feels welcoming on a cold weekend morning. The service was impeccable, the was bathroom nice, and the food was something to come back for. Our suggestion for ordering after going there and trying a variety of foods is to order an option that is sweet, rather than savory. We would definitely recommend getting those breakfast basics, pancakes, french toast, and bacon, all of which are some of the best we’ve had at a diner. Just watch out for the grease, as it was the low part of our meals. We will undoubtedly come back to Renee’s and we encourage you to as well.
Oscar’s Overall: 8.3/10
Gabes’s Overall: 8.6/10