Just five years ago, the Oasis Diner made Indiana Landmarks’s list of the “10 Most Endangered” historical sites. Now it’s one of the hottest places on the west side to get a plate of Disco fries and a chocolate malt. But it took a kindhearted gift by a former owner—and the flatbed of a semi—to get the Oasis where it is today: four miles west of its longtime location on U.S. 40, with an expansion and a renovation that have restored the 1954 Mountain View Diner to its original luster. Stop here on a Saturday for lunch, and you’ll see by the throngs of smiling customers that new owners Doug Huff and Don Rector, who received the title to the diner after onetime owner Wally Beg donated it to Indiana Landmarks in 2013, have a hit on their hands. Slide onto a stool in the pink-and-green–tiled interior of the old dining room, and you’ll be transported to a simpler time when such diners lined the nation’s highways.
Rector and Huff nearly doubled the seating when they added a second dining room to the roadside restaurant, which reopened last November. A spacious basement bakery allows for plenty of freshly made desserts, like cinnamon rolls and caramel crunch cake, which fill domed pedestals on the counter. New dishes include a San Francisco Benedict with roasted tomatoes as well as the Oasis Burger, a messy number topped with pulled pork, bacon, and coleslaw. Unfortunately, one blue-plate favorite, beef Manhattan, disappoints with somewhat leaden potatoes and shredded beef rather than the classic slices. Trendy bacon mac ’n’ cheese is also a bit bland and greasy, with little richness from the cheese or the bacon. A safer bet is the generous club sandwich, with plenty of meat and cheese accompanied by garlic mayo. And the thick-cut breaded tenderloin is still one of the area’s best, whether stretching beyond its modest bun or smothered in sausage gravy and served with eggs in the rib-sticking “Indianapolis” breakfast special—a Hoosier diner standard that more than lives up to this landmark’s six-decade reputation. 405 W. Main St., Plainfield, 317-837-7777