“Hey you wanna join us for dinner?”
“Ok meet us over at MCL Cafeteria..”
–MCL???? What ??
Yes it’s true. There is a young movement underway. Slowly, but surely, the nation’s seniors are sharing their well kept secret. What secret? They know that the
food at MCL Cafeteria is actually pretty decent ! Sure it is a chain and we at Food Adventures conquer the local local local… but damn, Sam, take a lookie here. Yes, there are walkers, people with dentures and mostly soft food. But the comfort food is reminiscent of home made, family get-together dinners.
So, it is basically a senior place, and it is pretty cool .. think of it as “a Grandpa who uses SnapChat.” You wanna hang out with that guy. So is the case here. This is no metamucil Food Adventure.
HERE’S THE SKINNY on MCL CAFETERIA:
—In 1950, in Indianapolis, Charles McGaughey and George Laughner founded the first MCL Cafeteria. They took the first letters of their last names, hence the name MCL.
—The Dayton area MCL Cafeteria is located at 4485 Far Hills Ave, Kettering
—With 16 locations in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, their website says they maintain a family owned and operated company.
—They use local produce when in season, and offer catering, and have a special section for “to-go” orders, which is really busy.
—Their hours are shorter, because Granny needs her beauty sleep. They close at 8:30pm. They open everyday at 11am, except Sundays which is 10:30am.
—You walk in and in assembly line fashion, get a tray, and pick your food “a la carte.”
—The daily deal is the “Blue Plate Special” is $8.95 and includes an entree and 2 sides, typically. That’s blue plate, not blue hair special…
With an empty tray and so many choices, what are you gonna do? What are you going to get? Grandpa is nudging you in the ribs with his cane, to keep you moving along…. From our numerous trips over the past year to MCL, we got you covered with our patented “MUST EATS!”
MUST EATS at MCL CAFETERIA:
These are the highlight of the assembly line and placed at the end for good reason. From Cherry Pie made with Michigan cherries to Chocolate Cream Pie. Even the Peach Pie and Pecan Pie with fresh Georgia Pecans make outstanding choices. Even better than that, they are delicious. When in doubt, grab a piece of pie to guarantee a happy ending at MCL Cafeteria.
—THE FRIED WHOLE CATFISH:
These babies are dipped in milk and covered with
seasoned cornmeal. After frying, these crispy Louisiana fish give you a crunch, then melt in your mouth feeling. The tartar sauce for dipping is the perfect finishing touch. Big Ragu’s Favorite !
When they say “try the veal,” they really mean it this time. A fried veal cutlet, covered with Swiss cheese, then covered with a white
gravy. Probably one of the better choices, like many of these plates, it has that homemade, family feel, close to that of Thanksgiving.
A good looking chopped steak, grilled up nice and juicy, then covered in gravy. May we suggest mashed potatoes to take you back to your childhood? Corn for the closer? Sometimes the sides make all the difference in the entree.
—ACORN SQUASH SIDE:
If you see this side, stop the line abruptly and grab one. What a great deal this deliciously baked veggie is, with a buttery syrup juice in the cavity inside. This is heaven on earth and a definite MUST EAT !
One of the kings of comfort food, MCL serves it up golden brown with all the fixings. This is possibly their most popular item. Again the comfort food and southern feel of this entree with the sides, will have you dreaming of old family dinner days.
A fresh chicken breast, hand-breaded with seasoned crumbs from their bakery, fried to the perfect shade of golden brown. They top it with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. Served with pasta and topped with more marinara sauce (optional).
The Salads are very good, and nice and fresh. Also, the dinner rolls are amazing, with a dab of butter. They have a variety of side breads to choose from, all made in their on-site bakery.
So now you know about the food, he on-site bakery and the glowing clientele, you may see MCL Cafeteria in a different light. Give it a visit for your own family Food Adventure. Kids love the assembly line and the looks and smells. MCL is also a great place if you are alone and want a quick in and out dinner or lunch. It is not cheap dining, and by the time you get a drink and dessert or bread side, you’re looking at $15-$17 per person, so be fair warned. But the food is worth it.
This place isn’t just for grandparents anymore. You cannot deny that they have some great home made items on the menu. It is homestyle cooking the whole group can enjoy. We are starting to notice more and more young people at the cafeteria.
What time do the 90 year olds go, typically? Depends…
Want more fun spin on local eateries? Visit Food Adventures on Facebook by clicking here. The Food Adventure Crew consists of the Big Ragu, Chef House, and Hungry Jax. Bringing you perspectives of local food from a foodie bachelor’s, a locally obsessed professional chef and an Italian mom’s point of view. Original events, photos, website and classes are just some of what we offer.
Please browse the food porn gallery below from our various visits to MCL Cafeteria.