Jerry Minnich tours Madison's classic cafes. At Bev's, he writes, the "countertop is so worn that the original design is completely obliterated, and now parts of the third layer are showing through - a real testament to Bev's success." Minnich finds "a good bargain" at the Dinner Bell on Fair Oaks, declaring the $2.95 liver-and-onions lunch special "one of our favorites." At Cleveland's Lunch Room on East Wilson, Quentin Braun (pictured) presides over a menu "featuring 27 sandwiches, 10 different omelets, homemade soups and chili." Serving "large portions of solid food," Mickies Dairy Bar also boasts a five-station milkshake shaker. At the Curve on South Park, Minnich judges the $3.50 lunch special - a hamburger steak platter with cup of chicken noodle soup, a slice of white bread, cottage cheese and coffee - to be "nice and greasy and good." Pushing past the brown plastic shower curtain at the entrance to American Lunch, Minnich finds a display of faded Norman Rockwell prints and a hearty lunch special with "a cup of well-seasoned chicken noodle soup containing real chicken, a small dish of canned apple sauce, canned corn, mashed potatoes, a Parker House roll and a big slab of meat loaf, all for $3.55."
Bev's relocates to Marshall in 2000. The Dinner Bell is now home to the Fair Oaks Diner. Cleveland's Lunch perseveres under new ownership, as do Mickies Dairy Bar and the Curve. The former site of American Lunch is now occupied by Taqueria Guadalajara.