It’s easy to drive past this tiny establishment at the corner of Leonard and Plainfield without even noticing it’s there. But don’t let the small size fool you; Choo Choo serves up big classic flavors in a friendly atmosphere that reminds you of the good old days.
Not much has changed at the little red brick burger joint since it opened its doors in the 1940s. The train track still runs right behind the parking lot (inspiring the Choo Choo name).The quaint, wood-paneled interior offers just a few booths and some seats at the counter. Customers are packed elbow to elbow, which is fine with them. They love to chat and converse while waiting for their orders, as do the staff, and it adds a definitely small-town charm to the ambiance.
The old-school Coca Cola menu on the wall behind the counter proudly proclaims “Best Burgers on Earth or Anywhere Else”, and it’s difficult to argue. Those with giant appetites can try The Legend, a one pound deluxe cheeseburger priced at $7 or the half pound version for $5. If you’re in an especially nostalgic culinary mood, Choo Choo also serves up egg salad and tuna salad sandwiches, patty melts and plenty of onion rings.
The diner is also well-known for the “jumbo malted”, a large milkshake with flavored malt powder. Peanut butter seems to be the fan favorite, but mainstays vanilla and chocolate are available too. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. with platters like the Conductor’s omelet and the Breakman (two eggs, choice of meat, American fries & toast). If you’re looking to up your cholesterol count (or cure a nasty hangover!), give the Rail Kill Sandwich with eggs, sausage and cheese a try.
When you do go, try to beat the lunch rush early or wait until after people clear out (Choo Choo is only open until 4 p.m.). With room for only about 20 people, you might risk a long wait otherwise. But hey, at least they have take-out!
- Free On-site Parking
1209 Plainfield Ave NE Grand Rapids MI 49505