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Posted Monday, September 6, 2010

It doesn't look like much from the outside (or the inside, for that matter), but Bonnie Lynn Bakery and Restaurant has got some staying power.

There are three locations, but the one we're most familiar with is in Blue Ash, across the street from McAlister's Deli. There are a higher than normal ratio of senior citizens inside its doors. Typically that's a promising sign: after all, those gnarly old folks know a good deal when they see one.

Nearly every time we make it out there, Bonnie Lynn Bakery is just minutes from closing for the day and we're the only car in the parking lot. That's because they're only open for breakfast and lunch (and we're not morning people). The building is divided into two halves: the restaurant on the left and the bakery on the right. On the bakery side is a long glass case capable of accommodating far more trays of doughnuts than we ever seem to see there; it's usually more than half empty.

We've had their doughnuts a couple times, and they're ok but, frankly, there's only one place in my heart for doughnuts. Today was our first try of their restaurant. I'm always excited when I find a place nearby with a breakfast menu. There never seems to be enough of them open past noon. Aside from the packet of oatmeal I sometimes force down my throat at work, I generally only like to eat breakfast food well after the morning has worn away.

Bonnie Lynn's menu consists of typical diner fare: burgers, salads, sandwiches, chili, open-face beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, and country fried steak. When we were ready to order, my girlfriend wanted the grits, but our waitress immediately raised an eyebrow and nearly talked her out of it. "I need to warn you that they're instant grits," the waitress said somewhat nervously. My girlfriend was a bit taken if the waitress had just told her, "Yo, our food here sucks, so please don't order it, ok?" But then the waitress elaborated with, "I recently got chewed out by a customer for serving instant grits, so I just wanted to tell you ahead of time."

Omelet and pancakes from Bonnie Lynn Bakery
Instant grits at Bonnie Lynn Bakery

I doubt most people north of the Mason Dixon Line could accurately identify instant grits, anyway. The only reason why a previous customer had complained is because grits and oatmeal are prepared by the waitress in a microwave mounted on the other side of the kitchen, facing the dining room, visible for all to see. If they'd stick it back in the kitchen and let its preparation be part of the cook's job, I suspect none would be the wiser.

I ordered an omelette with cheddar and Swiss cheese, onions and mushrooms. I elected a side of two pancakes instead of the home fries and toast option. Along with her microwaved grits, the girlfriend ordered a couple pancakes. My omelette was fluffy, cheesy and cooked perfectly. I thought the pancakes were good and had a nice, Bisquick-like buttermilk flavor, but my girlfriend thought hers were too dense, as though they'd been undercooked. But she liked her grits, despite the foreknowledge of their instant-ness.

Bonnie Lynn Bakery and Restaurant is satisfying for what it is: a simple, down-home diner and bakery catering to those looking for a filling breakfast, hearty comfort food or a box of fresh, homemade doughnuts. There's nothing outstanding or memorable here, but there's nothing particularly offensive, either. And pay no attention to the woman in front of the microwave: she'll cook your grits up just fine.

Bonnie Lynn Bakery on Urbanspoon
Bonnie Lynn Bakery and Restaurant

Price: Cheap (under $11 per person)
Service: Good
Rating: 2.5 out of 42.5 stars


Posted: 2010-09-07 17:27:30
I visited Bonnie Lynn Bakery and Restaurant's Blue Ash location last week for lunch, and I was pretty underwhelmed. I ordered an open-faced turkey sandwich with green beans. What appeared on my plate was a very meager piece of white bread, topped with about 5 pieces of deli-sliced turkey, and cafeteria-style gravy reconstituted from powder. The green beans were way over-cooked, appearing as a limp offering to the vegetable gods.

The redeeming feature of the meal was the Mountain cookie that I had on my way out. IT was delicious!

Tony (Mac) McAllister
Posted: 2012-05-06 19:04:12
Our group of retired Air Force men and women had been meeting at Rombe's in Blue Ash for 15 years when we learned the family was closing the restaurant. Luckily we rediscovered Bonnie Lynn's Bakery/Resaurant. Our group eats breakfast, drinks gallons of coffee and tells war stories the second Saturday of each month. The staff has made us feel very welcome and the food and baked goods are always excellent and served with a smile. We had an unexpected surprise when we walked in and found our waitress of 15 years from Rombe's waiting to take our orders. Trish was an added bonus to all of us. She remembered how we liked our coffee,eggs, etc. Although our servers at Bonnie Lynn's were great, Trish was one of the best moves the management could have made. Keep up the good work. We love Goetta and was surprised to find it in Ohio. Mac

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