Calling Pattie's Home Plate a throwback doesn't quite do the Lombard Street St. John's diner justice. This is a place seemingly unstuck in time, untouched by modern influences but for the presence of a Street Fighter II arcade game and some DVDs among the clutter of wigs, costumes, books and VHS tapes that make up the thrift store, which is actually more like somebody decided to plop down a garage sale in the middle of an old-school soda jerk, burger and breakfast joint.
The regulars seem like they've been here since the '50s, when the place was a pharmacy and the Homeplate Deli & Fountain, and have no qualms about staring at youngsters who come in curious and leave confused when they can't fathom pairing hot beef with a side of flea-market deals. Sock hops, live music and family karaoke are the norm.
It's as if a tornado struck a small Kansas town in 1951, swallowed the local diner and a Goodwill, swirled them together and plopped them down in St. Johns. Oh, those burgers are pretty OK, too. Just like Grandma used to crave.