Friday, May 18, 2012 | 3:59 p.m.
Boulder City may be the perfect spot for a cluster of friendly, small-town-style diners, but it’s far from the only game in town when it comes to classic, hearty food served in nostalgic environments. Here’s a quick roundup of delicious diners on the west side of the valley.
Black Bear Diner, 6180 W. Tropicana Ave., 368-1077.
This charming cottage is actually part of a franchise with locations all over the West Coast (and Iowa), but it sure feels like a local spot. The Bear opens at 6 a.m. and stays open until 10 p.m., and serves just about everything you could imagine eating for breakfast, lunch or dinner, including steak and eggs all day. At lunch, gorge on a burger stuffed with bacon and cheddar or an old-fashioned patty melt, and chicken fried steak in country gravy is in the supper spotlight.
Lou’s Diner, 415 S. Decatur Blvd., 870-1876.
The menu at Lou’s claims the restaurant has existed in some form since 1969, and sitting down for a meal here certainly feels like a blast from the past. Stop in for breakfast and you’re likely to see weathered old dudes, sitting alone all over the room, chugging endless coffee and quietly reading newspapers (remember those?). You can sub grits in for hash browns, get full on a decent dish of chicken and dumplings for lunch, and go overboard with homemade coconut cream pie for dessert.
Maple Tree Cafe, 6000 W. Spring Mountain Road, 362-5151.
Maple Tree calls itself a “country cafe,” and the faux windows with shutters inside fit the theme, but the menu is diner grub. Obviously, pancakes and waffles are the easy choice at this Chinatown-area eatery, but like everyone else, this kitchen does its own version of fried chicken and waffles. Decide between vegetarian or New England-style crab cake eggs Benedict, or attack a classic Reuben or roast beef dip for lunch.
Shari’s Diner, 1900 N. Buffalo Drive, 870-6424.
Once one of several Las Vegas 5 & Diner locations, Shari’s has all the ‘50s kitsch: bullet-shaped silver building, counter or booth seating, baby jukeboxes on the tables, etc. The best bites are the burgers, flame-broiled half-pound monsters that can get pretty creative with toppings like brie, bacon, grilled onions and apple slices, or feta, spinach and lemon zest.
Sunshine Cafe, 1581 N. Decatur Blvd., 646-4415.
A true greasy spoon, Sunshine Cafe has loyal regulars, a minimal but homey atmosphere (in orange, yellow and brown) and friendly service, all of which raises the value of the already dirt-cheap food. If you’re looking for biscuits-and-gravy basics, this is your diner of choice.