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As you travel on any Interstate highway, headed toward Anywhere, U.S.A., without any effort, you'll spot a Denny's Restaurant in practically every town.  I like Denny's, as their menu features something for every taste, the food is always delicious, attractively prepared, reasonably priced, and the service is usually good.  When you visit a Denny's, there are few surprises, as the menu is practically the same in each location, and the dining experience is generally quite uniform.

Photo:  Denny's, on Glenwood Drive looks warm and inviting inside, on this rainy Saturday morning.  Photo was taken the day before my visit, as I didn't want to take photos in the dark.

Yes, I'm a huge fan of regional and local cuisine, so I usually frequent one-of-a-kind restaurants and diners.  But at 0515 on Sunday morning, March 28, 2010, I wasn't looking forward to the nine hour drive from Eugene, Oregon to home, and since Denny's was located next door to the motel where I was staying, it was the obvious choice.

On this early Sunday morning, the restaurant was as dead as King Tut's tomb, as besides myself, there was a cook, a lady vacuuming the carpet, a waitress named Toni, and only one other customer, seated at the breakfast counter. I was by myself, so I seated myself at the breakfast counter, and ordered a cup of coffee.  Within what seemed like only a few seconds, the coffee and a menu arrived.

Photo:   "Hey, you can't take my picture!"  Toni brings my biscuit, as I snap her photo and get reprimanded by her.

The menu at Denny's in Eugene, Oregon, seems to be the same as the menu in Roseville, CA, where I live, so as per the usual protocol, there were no surprises.  I wasn't particularly hunger, so I elected to order a "Senior Starter," from the senior menu, which is something that I rarely do, as I'm normally a ravenous breakfast eater.  After ordering my meal, I sat down, enjoyed my coffee, and chatted with the guy sitting at the counter, a couple of stools to my right.  

As Toni emerged from the kitchen, carrying my breakfast, I whipped out my small camera and snapped her photo. She exclaimed, "Hey, you can't take my picture!"  Sensing hostility, I explained to her that I was planning to publish a write-up of my dining experience, and if nothing else, would give the restaurant free publicity on the World Wide Web.  That didn't put a brake on her attitude, as she repeated that she didn't want her photo taken.  So I said that I wouldn't take her photo (I didn't say anything about taking other photos) and put away my camera.

Photo:  "You can't take pictures in here, this is private property!" was Toni's remark when I took this photo.  The only other customer present didn't seem to mind, as he chatted with the cook.

Yes, the "Senior Slam" is very uniform, but it's good, as it consists of a slab of hash browns, a pork sausage, a slice of bacon, a fried eggs, and a large biscuit, covered with chunky, sausage gravy.  The food was delicious, attractively prepared, and included just the right amount to satisfy my appetite.  I wolfed it down in a couple of minutes, as suddenly my appetite reappeared.

The other gal was occupied vacuuming the carpet, the cook was nowhere to be seen, and Toni had disappeared into the kitchen.  Well, for this article, I needed a "cover shot" of the inside of the restaurant, so I pulled out my camera, snapped a photo, but Toni reappeared and said, "You can't take pictures in here, this is private property!" With that remark, I was dumbfounded, as that I'd never heard that one before.  I can understand her not wanting her photo taken, but to be hostile when I was only taking an interior shot of the restaurant?  Being the quasi law-abiding citizen that I am, I put away my camera and paid my bill.  

Photo:  My delicious "Senior Slam" breakfast was perfectly cooked.  This places serves great breakfasts, but unfortunately an unhealthy amount of attitude is included with the cuisine.

The food, as expected, was delicious, the presentation was very attractive, the dining room was clean and comfortable, and the service was fast, efficient, and friendly, until the camera appeared.  I did not appreciate the attitude that I received, so I left Toni a whopping tip of $1.00.  Next time I visit Eugene, I won't bother to patronize this particular Denny's.

Update, April 20, 2010:  I received an email from a reader, asking me why I didn't make any mention that a famous restaurant scene from the film, Five Easy Pieces, starring Jack Nicholson, was filmed in this restaurant, back in 1970.  The truth is, when I visited the restaurant, I wasn't aware that the movie had been filmed there.  The reader provided a link to YouTube, so if you're interested in checking this out, click on the link.  I did, and sure enough, it was filmed at this Denny's location.  The decor of the restaurant has changed, but shots of I-5 and the surrounding scenery are visible in the clip, and the scenery hasn't changed over the last 40 years.

Maybe Tina didn't want me to take photos because she thought I would generated unwanted publicity, and folks might wander in just to take photos?  Go figure... Whatever the case, no movie memorabilia adorns the walls, nor was there nary a mention of the fact that this restaurant was featured in the most famous scene of the movie. Whatever the history, my recommendation still stands:  Enjoy a delicious breakfast, but don't take photos, or you'll incur the wrath of the surly staff.  

3652 Glenwood Dr.
Eugene, OR 97403
541 343-7258

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