North by northwest
Across the old-timey Putnam Township Square and less than a block away on Howell Street, the new Pinckney Diner opened in July. A cheery spot with big booths, strategically placed closed-captioned televisions, and rowdy country-and-western on the speaker system, it appears to be a hit with the locals, several of whom directed us here as the best food bet in town. A classic in the Greek Coney model, it's owned by the Zavradinos and Stamatopoulos families, who also operate restaurants in Saline, Dexter, Tecumseh, and Jackson. The breakfast menu ranges from fresh fruit and oatmeal to multimeat combos and pancake-wrapped sausage (you can also "smother your breakfast with gravy" for an extra $1). The bacon and eggs are affordable and reliable, with crisp rashers and rough country-style omelets, like the "farmers," a three-egg assemblage filled with spinach, goat cheese, and fresh tomatoes. The cooks got their crunch on with a deep golden brown crust on the hash browns. While the Greek entrees looked promising, the only lunch offering I tried, a buffalo burger from a Pinckney bison, reminded me that local does not always translate to more delicious. Service is fast and friendly.
We walked off breakfast with a lovely and reasonably challenging two-mile hike through the woods along pristine Pickerel Lake, ending up at Silver Lake's swimming beach. I'll bet writer Caroline Kirkland, whose husband founded Pinckney, would still recognize the landscape she described in 1842 of "deep but waveless little lakes, which abound in this land of looking-glasses."