Food Worth Driving For

Dealer’s AUTOmotive, March 10, 1993

FOOD WORTH DRIVING FOR…by Bob Bowers

Restaurant: FRED’S DINER

Location: 930 Home Avenue, Akron 330-535-FRED (3733) (just south of Tallmadge Avenue)

Information: Credit cards not accepted. Non-smoking room, plenty of free parking, and carry out.

I’ve been searching for a place like this for a long time. A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting with some friends lamenting the apparent lack of good little restaurants in Akron. Boy, did I hit a nerve! They reeled off a long list of their favorite places. The tablet of paper I had with me was filling with names and directions until I had writer’s cramp. The first place they told me about was Fred’s Diner. We made plans to have lunch there the following week.

We arrived a little after 12 noon. Fred’s Diner is a single story brick building not much to look at on the outside, but it looks cozy. We went in and the place was full. Everyone from guys in work clothes to three piecers, moms and career women. Fred’s was humming with activity. The waitresses were gliding around the rooms with coffee pots and large plates in each hand. We waited about five minutes to be seated. As soon as we were seated, a waitress came to our table with water, a big smile and welcomed us. I knew I was going to like this place.

I ordered the marinated chicken salad and my friends ordered the soup. Today’s soup was chicken dumpling. In fact, it was Fred’s Famous Chicken Dumpling Soup, $1 a cup, $1.50 a bowl. It arrived hot and loaded with chicken, vegetables and nice sized dumplings in a beautiful golden broth. I noticed this confident-looking taller man in a white cook’s outfit with an apron. He had a coffee pot in each hand. He was going around the dining room smiling, calling people by name, and just being the ultimate host. This was Fred. Not only is he the grillmaster, he meets his customers at their tables during their meals. I thought either this guy is very brave, or everything he turns out of his kitchen is good. Well, as it turns out, EVERYTHING is GOOD. “Breakfast Anytime” is the motto. Fred’s “Wake-up Special” is two eggs, toast and jelly for 99 cents. Lunch has at least ten different sandwiches including “The Freddy,” “Yo Meatball,” and “The Porker.