Prairie Joe's is a study in "never judge a restaurant by its cover." The storefront space features neon signs for lunch and fountain service, but enter the joint looking for a retro-style diner and you'll feel impressively disoriented. The decor oozes serious quirk: The junkyard-chic joint houses a hanging plastic shark, bunches of American flags, a lit-up palm tree and Moses action figures. Paintings by local artists adorn the walls, and if you've got more than enough to cover your PB&J think about investing in an original painting or photograph. In the dimly lit "cozy up room" in back, score a seat next to the cactus plant and flip through one of the used books on offer.
The doors open early, so stop by before work to stock up on hearty breakfast goods like blueberry pancakes, an egg and veggie sandwich or the chorizo and cheese omelet. The lunch menu features Mexican, American and "eclectic" (read: whatever the cook feels like cookin') cuisine. Always-on-offer selections include open face meatloaf and specials may include fried plantains with rice and beans or eggplant-feta quesadillas.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg