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Pine Cone

No menueIn a word: What even?

The specs: #01014  
6162 US-51, DeForest 53532
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook

Latest Pine Cone news and reviews

JM ate the biscuits and gravy.
Nichole ate the strawberry pie a la mode with coffee.
The bill was $15, or $7.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Pine Cone a C; Nichole gave Pine Cone a D+ (see our grading rubric).

We are aware that the legendary Pine Cone in Johnson Creek, where they make éclairs the size of small dogs, is the preferable location of this mini-chain, but that one is not in Dane County and the Pine Cone in DeForest is. So that's where we went.

Our luck at truck stops ranges from bad to weird. This one was a little bit of both. First off, upon arriving on a Friday evening in early summer, on our way up north to bring some Drug Free Fun, in the form of board games, to a family library event, we found the power had gone out at the Pine Cone and that they would not be serving any time soon. Not even the ice cream.

So we got a snack elsewhere, and stopped at the Cone (what what?) again on our way back. The power had lurched back on and the place was open again, and serving a steady stream of clientele. We joined them and slid into a well-worn booth.

A few minutes later, JM was eyeing a plate of biscuits and gravy laden with several kilograms of standard gravy over some starchy, but otherwise fine, biscuits. He should have opted for the half order. By the time he decided to leave a portion for the trash can, he was thirsty, overstuffed, and a little bored.

Biscuits and gravy

Nichole went just for dessert. The ice cream had survived the power outage quite well. The strawberry "pie" had not, or maybe it had other problems. The strawberries were crunchy golf balls in a canned Sysco-like glaze and the accompanying Sysco-style malaise. The graham cracker crust was - no. The whipped topping had us whipped. Boo.

Strawberry "pie"

We did pick up an éclair on our way out the door, since they seemed comparable to the Johnson Creek ones. Maybe this Pine Cone is just a little backwards, but we probably won't go back.

L C R H

Comments

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The thing about the Pine Cone, in all its iterations, is that you must temper your expectations.

If you go in expecting a high quality meal, lovingly prepared, you are at the wrong place.

If are you are looking to eat a steak the size of your face for under $10, or purchase a cookie that can sustain you for the next 7 hours on your OTR haul, or merely have copious amounts of food delivered to your table in less time than it takes to fill your rig with diesel, then it's the definitive place to stop. It as an archetypal truck stop diner: large quantities of starchy food prepared as quickly as possible and served at a price amenable to truckers with little to no food budget. WHile I have been to many truck stops with finer dining, or some specialty that comes from the owner's greek grandmother in the kitchen, most are like the 'Cone - a vast, budget-friendly dispenser of calories.

It's a temple to carbohydrates; a shrine to low glycemic indices; a sharp rebuke to the principles of modern nutrition; a celebration of prediabetic syndromes.

In that respect, it's kind of amazing.

btw - the Johnson Creek one is pretty iffy, too...

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