110th Anniversary Look Back

110th Anniversary Look Back - Day 129

110th Anniversary Look Back - Day 129

Harley theme drives Kegel's Motorcycle Diner

Diners can enjoy homestyle meals while waiting for repairs or just gazing at displays.

Rockford - A white 1971 Harley-Davidson Super Glide is mounted in the center of the counter at Kegel's Motorcycle Diner, a display of classic bikes that changes every six weeks.

But you don't have to be a Harley-Davidson enthusiast to enjoy the food at Kegel's. Although the restaurant is inside what Kegel's boasts is the world's oldest Harley dealer, the all-American diner cuisine such as charcoal grilled hamburgers, shakes and apple pie, suits all tastes.

The Kegel family opened the diner in March 1996 inside their motorcycle facility: "Mr. Willie Davidson, himself," whose family founded Harley-Davidson, "came to the opening," says Kathy Hanneman-Skarpac, manager of Kegel's Diner.

The Harley-Davidson theme creates a unique atmosphere. Every other seat around the counter is an authentic black Harley seat. Numerous pictures of motorcycles and various displays decorate the walls. And booths along glass windows allow for a view of the dealership.

Thus, the diner provides a sort of entertainment for the nonrider while giving the motorcycles owner the option of eating breakfast while waiting for a repair.

Even the menu names are motorcycle-oriented. Valves and Stems ($3.25) actually are light and crispy breaded mushrooms. The popular Springfield Mile meatloaf ($6), a Kegel family recipe, is made with 100 percent ground sirloin and is served with homestyle mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Route 66 ($3.25) is a bow of homemade five-alarm chili.

Each day features a different blue plate special for breakfast and lunch. Hanneman-Skarpac tries to find a low-calorie plate, something filling and a pasta dish once a week for specials. The specials vary by season.

"During summer months we focus on lighter foods," says Hanneman-Skarpac.

The customers are diverse. During the week, guests are mainly working folks, coming from businesses such as Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. and DaimlerChysler. The Sunday crowd consists of mostly families and repeat customers.

For those interested in catered events, the diner offers a unique view from its banquet facility.

the upstairs room, which overlooks the dealership, is available for private parties and banquets. It accommodates 50 people.

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