My trip along the National Road last week was unplanned but I had read about this place called the Oasis Diner in Plainfield, Indiana. If I made it that far, I wanted to stop because it sounded like my kind of place.
I was right. In fact, it was so good I ended up having three meals there.
Manufactured by Mountain View Diners in Singac, New Jersey, it was shipped to Plainfield by rail in 1954. According to their published history, the Oasis went through a series of owners before being listed on the 10 Most Endangered Indiana Buildings list in 2010. The town rallied and local residents Doug Huff and Don Rector answered the call to relocate, restore and reopen this fabulous old diner.
And I’m so glad they did.
They did a beautiful job researching and restoring this stunning structure to its mid century splendor.
Today The Oasis is the only diner of its kind on the National Road in Indiana and one of just a handful of historic diners to remain on the National Road from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois.
It’s a long story but circumstances were such that I ended up eating three meals there – one lunch and two breakfasts over three days. There are plenty of other dining options in town but none are a cool old diner so, by my estimation, there was no reason to try them.
This place is light and bright and airy. Extremely clean with some vintage advertising pieces and other fun decor. It feels timeless and welcoming. It’s the kind of place that has regulars and waitresses who remember how you like your eggs and who seem genuinely concerned that you’re comfortable and happy.
It’s so hard to find decent vegetarian food in most restaurants but good mom and pop diners usually have some tasty options that aren’t limited to limp iceburg lettuce salads and greasy grilled cheese. The Oasis doesn’t have a ton of meatless options but they offer enough that I had choices and I made a point of thanking my waitresses for that. For all you meatetarians out there, they have some really unique sandwiches and breakfast items that you won’t find anywhere else as well as the usual burgers, soups and reubens. Here’s the menu if you’re inclined to fantasize about fun diner fair.
The verdict is that The Oasis Diner is well worth your time, especially if you’re a diner nerd like me. Here are a few more pictures to entice you to drive to Plainfield, Indiana.