As the sign says out front, Andy's Restaurant has been a part of Crystal Lake since 1981.
Looking for a good late breakfast on Memorial Day, we rode down Route 14, parked in the parking lot across Dole Avenue from the restaurant and wandered in right around the time the downtown parade was about to begin.
Because of that, a few booths were available and we were seated at one near the back. It's an old-time diner feel for sure, with a large lunch bar area as you enter, booths that line the windows to both the right and left and a few tables in between.
There's a tall glass dessert case that caught our eye as well. But my fellow diner was most excited about the fact that Andy's has a gluten-free bread option, which was advertised on the door as we entered.
We were seated as the hostess, who seemed to be the manager, was extremely helpful and helped my fellow diner with a few questions related to the gluten-free menu options.
Our best option was the french toast combo with bacon, it turns out, so that's what we ordered. It came with two eggs - my fellow diner ordered them scrambled - along with two strips of bacon and two slices of the gluten-free french toast, each cut into triangle halves.
We ordered a cup of fresh fruit and large glass of orange juice on the side as well.
I ordered from the specials menu. As always, specialty benedicts and skillets are the first place I look on a breakfast menu. The meat/egg/potato options are filling and make a great start to your day along with a warm cup of coffee. I ordered one of those too, of course.
At Andy's, I picked out the Mexican benedict, which is the standard two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on top of english muffins but it came with a good portion of hash browns and a whole lot of chorizo atop the english muffins.
Overall, it was a ton of food without a steep price. Solid, hearty, make-you-full-to-start-your-day portions.
My fellow diner finished her eggs, bacon, half of the fruit and half of her french toast, taking the other two slices to enjoy for breakfast the next day. They reheated pretty well, by the way.
The best compliment you can give a gluten-free bread option is that you didn't know it was actually gluten-free. This bread was that and the mix was made separately to ensure it was gluten free as well, the hostess/manager assured us when she came back to check on how our meal went.
The chorizo benedict was also a solid, filling dish smothered in hollandaise goodness. The hashbrowns taste good with a little hollandaise and what spills out of the poached egg too.
We finished up, paid our bill and left both happy and full. Not a bad way to start our holiday.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.
WHAT: Andy's Restaurant
WHERE: 468 W. Virginia St, Crystal Lake
WHEN: 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday to Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday
INFORMATION: 815-459-1661 or facebook.com/pg/AndysRestaurantOfCrystalLake