By Tom Kane
A few decades ago the early morning glow of a diner serving up breakfast at the bar was a common sight in most towns. Only a few still a exist in Saline County.
One of them is The Mills Cafe at 202 Main St., Carrier Mills.
Owners Tim and Michelle Aut will let you in out of the cold if you show up at 5:30 a.m. They open at 6 a.m., six days a week, closed on Sunday
Their pancakes are as big as dinner plates and their country ham has just the right amount of salt.
"We hunt deer every morning, then we come here," said Terry Tripp, Harrisburg, during the shotgun deer season.
"It's about two miles from our cabin. The food is great. The best in Southern Illinois. "The people who wait on you are great too."
Tim Aut said that business was good.
"We basically doubled our business since we opened on May 30, 2011. All our food is made fresh and we have a good rapport with our customers,” Aut said.
Their menu includes breakfast all day long: pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs, ham, sausage and bacon. Weekday specials include lasagna, pork chops, meat loaf and chicken and dumplings.
On Saturday they serve omelets all day long. The most popular one is a cowboy omelette with steak and pepper jack cheese.
Ruby Arnold said, "They have good food and they put plenty on your plate."
Tim Aut said he and his wife put in a lot of hours at the cafe.
"You gotta be here if you want to make it,” he said.