Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bode's Corned Beef House

Today, I had the opportunity to visit a nearby establishment that I've visited all too infrequently. Bode's Corned Beef House is an institution in Plymouth, MI. The last time I tried to visit was at 6:00 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, to partake of the traditional corned beef and cabbage of that holiday. There was one problem, however: they ran out of corned beef. It didn't help my situation, but it tipped me off that there was some damned fine corned beef at the place.

And as it's been around since 1959, they've had time to perfect their recipe. Situated right next to a set of train tracks that were serviced by the Bode Hotel, the Bode House was once a boarding house that served up craftsmen from the adjacent Daisy Manufacturing Company (yes, the same Daisy that produced the Red Ryder BB gun featured so prominently in A Christmas Story). In 1959, it was turned into a restaurant and the same couple has been running it for the last 40 years.

Inside, it's a throwback to middle America of the 1960s - formica countertops and vinyl-covered stools front the kitchen. The 50th anniversary mugs hang proudly on the wall and are taken down for each customer. And in the back room where you'll find more tables and booths, there are nature shots - hunting & fishing, mostly - as well as vintage and antique toasters to remind you of the establishment's serious commitment to breakfast. It's a busy and bustling place, with little room for patrons to wait for a table - which is a good thing, as every last bit of available real estate gives priority to diners.

Today, I had the opportunity to visit Bode's but was more successful in my efforts. Their special on the weekends is eggs & hash, so I had to partake (aside from it being one of my favorites and, quite frankly, one of the standards by which I judge diner fare). I ordered my eggs over easy and the meal came as you see pictured to the left. In short, it was perfect.

The eggs were done exactly as expected, the toast was complimented with an usual assortment of Smucker's jams at the table: in addition to the typical mixed fruit, orange marmalade, Concord grape, and strawberry, there was also apple butter, seedless blackberry and apple cinnamon. And the hash? It was no-nonsense stuff. Just corned beef and potatoes - just like I like it. It was fresh and it held together nicely. As I combined it with my eggs, it was a simple yet mouthwatering mashup.

Certainly, they do more than breakfast, but you can be sure that corned beef figures heavily in their other menu items. The corned beef sandwich is not to be missed, and Al's Caboose sandwich is a local favorite - corned beef, Swiss cheese, slaw, lettuce and tomato on rye. You can even take home corned beef by the pound, rye bread by the loaf and cole slaw by the quart. And at dinner, they're known for their fish & chips, which is also a weekend special.

Be sure to check out the menu - nothing fancy, but really, really good stuff. And if you're in the southeastern Michigan area, stop by and have a bite.

You can see the entire set of photos over on Flickr.

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