» By CONOR SCRUTON – cscruton@my.apsu.edu

In my travels this semester, I’ve been to an Asian restaurant and two diners, but never in my life had I eaten somewhere that combined the two.

Only about a two minute drive from campus, Thai-American restaurant Duke’s Diner somehow went unnoticed to me all year.

Duke’s Diner is located at 886 Kraft St., near the intersection of North Second Street and Riverside Drive. It’s open every weekday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for both dine-in and to-go orders.

I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect when I went to Duke’s. I’ve developed the habit of typing my “travels” restaurants into Google before I try them, and Duke’s had gotten 4-star reviews from multiple restaurant review websites.

Still, I wasn’t sure if one restaurant could truly have the best of both culinary worlds.

My worries were soon proven wrong. All the food at Duke’s is made fresh, which is really the secret for both a good Asian restaurant and a good diner. I tried a standard fried rice and chicken meal, which was as good as any I’ve had, and my photographer got an order of loaded fries with bacon to test both sides of the spectrum.

As I’ve said, Duke’s doesn’t sacrifice quality in Thai or American diner food to focus on either one too much. It is effectively a restaurant that can satisfy whatever craving you happen to have at the moment. This, combined with fairly low prices and close proximity to campus, makes it a good restaurant for an impulsive weeknight dinner.

While the food was great, it also deserves mentioning Duke’s provided possibly the best service I’ve had all year. The employees were incredibly nice and easygoing, and seemed genuinely happy we were enjoying our meals.

While it’s not open for a midnight snack, Duke’s has a classic, cozy diner atmosphere that’s refreshing in a fast food-dominated world.

Duke’s is also available for catering, and features lunch specials every day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information, including a map and a small list of menu options, can be found on the Duke’s Diner Facebook page.

Don’t be intimidated by the unusual food combinations; any fans of Pad Thai or a good old-fashioned cheeseburger will feel right at home at Duke’s. TAS