Dave Jones hasn’t had a day off since July 30. Ever since the reopening of his Garland landmark, Ferguson’s Café, Jones has seen hundreds of eager patrons flock in to support him and his labor of love. It’s been nearly a year since a crippling fire engulfed the then-newly remodeled building, but what seemed to be the death of the diner only served as another new beginning.
“It’s gone so well,” says Jones of the opening, his voice tinged with both exhaustion and optimism. “We’ve just been so busy, busier than before the fire.”
If, by chance, you’ve never seen it before, Ferguson’s is definitely an eye-catching establishment. Its period-accurate architecture has brought several film crews from around the country. The interior gleams proudly, from the chrome trim on counters to the checkered flooring, to the unblemished vinyl seats. The menu offers a mind-blowingly vast array of every diner staple you’d expect, and then some, without going overboard.
“We’ve also added a dinner menu on top of the classic diner sandwiches that have always been there,” he says, adding that the Salisbury steak, meat loaf, a bone-in ham steak and house-made mashed potatoes have been especially popular.
All burgers and most sandwiches can be made vegetarian, which allows herbivores to also enjoy the grub of days long past when vegetarians were considered freaks of nature. The jalapeno burger ($9) is bursting with fixings that squeeze out with every bite, and my companion made good use of the mess by mopping it up with his crispy, perfectly seasoned shoestring fries.
I opt for the elusive-in-origin yet decidedly all-American truck stop classic, the patty melt ($9), which was also accompanied by a large heap of fried potato goodness. Crispy, toasty rye perfectly complements and contrasts the gooey cheesy filling, which was heightened to perfection with a little addition of Tabasco (my personal contribution) for a spicy kick.
The milkshakes($4.39) are made to order out of the original machine — installed in 1941 and, fittingly, the only appliance not destroyed in the white-hot blaze — and they do it justice by serving it the way you always remember: in a tall glass garnished with an airy cloud of whipped cream.
Ferguson’s Cafe • 804 W. Garland Ave. • Open Mon-Sat 8 am-8 pm, Sun 8 am-3 pm • 328-1950