During the week, breakfasts for us are light, consisting of things like yogurt and fruit, or scrambled eggs. We’ve got schedules to keep, so our meals need to be quick.
But when Saturday morning rolls around, our fast-paced weekday routine is replaced by unstructured blissfulness. We sleep in, and when we finally get out of bed we’re hungry, like bears that have awoken from a long winter’s slumber. Since yogurt alone does not satisfy this kind of hunger, we venture out to find sustenance, and we usually end up at a diner, where the portions are hearty enough to feed my three little bears (who are not so little anymore). One of the spots that we go to is Norma’s Diner, located on Main Street in Joplin.
We’re not the only ones who bring hearty appetites to Norma’s. This diner, which opened in 2010, ranks as one of the top breakfast spots in town. It’s not surprising that Norma’s is so popular: the food is tasty, the portions are large, the prices are affordable, and the menu is huge, featuring something for everyone.
On one recent weekend morning, my daughters and I ventured to Norma’s to quell our stomach rumblings. Looking at the enticing photos of the entrees featured on the menu only intensified our hunger.
Did we want eggs, waffles, French toast, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, a breakfast skillet, or an omelet (for those with extreme hunger pangs, Norma’s offers the World’s Biggest Omelet made with 15 eggs!)?
My middle daughter opted for the regular stack of fluffy pancakes (which she couldn’t finish),
and my youngest chose the daintier silver dollar pancakes (which were complemented by several thick pieces of bacon).
My oldest daughter ordered biscuits and gravy, and she was in heaven.
This is not a dish that I make at home (growing up in the North, it’s not something that I have in my recipe book), so my daughter only gets to eat this when we go out for breakfast or when her Southern grandmother makes it for her.
I decided to try one of Norma’s skillet meals. There are several kinds on the menu, including the Chicken Fried Steak Skillet. I chose the Veggie Skillet, which sounds like it would be a light meal – it was anything but
Loaded with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and hash browns, topped with eggs and cheddar cheese, and served with a side of toast or biscuits and gravy, this meal is hearty enough to satisfy a bear just coming out of hibernation – or maybe a bear just going into hibernation because anyone who consumes this entire skillet meal will need a long nap afterward!
While Norma’s is known as a breakfast place, there are a number of lunch options on the menu as well, including sandwiches, salads, Italian entrees, and gyros. To satisfy your sweet tooth, order one of Norma’s handmade pies. Anytime is the right time for pie – even breakfast time.
As our feeding frenzy began to slow down, we shifted our attention away from our plates, and I noticed that the interior of Norma’s was decorated in a whimsical Route 66 theme. This seems fitting since Norma’s is located on Main Street, just a few blocks south of the original section of Route 66 in Joplin.
With nostalgic decor and old-fashioned home cooking, a visit to Norma’s feels like a trip back to simpler times.
Norma’s Diner is located at 1901 South Main Street in Joplin (if you venture over to Kansas, visit Norma’s other location at 300 West 7th Street in Galena). Click here to follow Norma’s on Facebook.
Christine is a Chicago native and has lived in Joplin for almost two decades. Growing up in the Windy City, she loved to explore the wide variety of museums, restaurants, sports venues, theaters and parks. When she moved to Joplin her goal was to learn about the unique culture and attractions in the area. Now Christine discovers new things each week, whether it be a little-known park, a new restaurant or a community event. Joplin can be just as exciting as a major city if you dive in to all the community has to offer.