Monty's Grill - Royal Oak, MI

Welcome to Monty’s Grill in Royal Oak, Michigan! BOY do we have a show for you today. Folks, you’re about to see something special here. Today, you’ll have a chance to witness, all in one place, the very best that Monty’s has to offer.

Hailing from Metro-Detroit and beyond, these are the… MONTY’S GRILL ALL STARS!



NAME: Woman Who Sits Alone

POSITION: Corner of the bar by the free newspapers

GO-TO MEAL: Half an egg and a black coffee

BIO: Hailing from what is most likely a literal cathouse, this queen of quiet speaks to nobody. Is she a librarian? Is she mute like that lady from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire? Mum’s the word! Often staring out the window or scowling at your conversation, she lives by her creed: Don’t ask. Don’t tell!




OR IS IT: Joe? Jimpy?

GO-TO MEAL: Meatloaf, Fries (w/ extra salt) and a Vernor’s


BIO:  Need an opinion? Jammer’s got plenty! Johnboy here’s a conversational chimera; try to kill one and three more grow in its place. With the help of his super-hearing, he’ll jump in on any topic. War? The more the better. The Economy? Socialism is destroying it faster than he can say “Who is Karl Marx?” Entertainment? Everything after Styx is irrelevant except that puppet guy… Dunham! You should watch his HBO! Such is Jombor’s mighty prowess. With one lash of his tongue, Jobe can transform any discussion into a disquisition.


The Arena

Picture c/o Yelp


NAME: Flirty Waitress Who is Way Younger Than You Thought

POSITION: Bending over for something

AGE: I dunno… 24? 25? (She’s sixteen)

BIO: She’s young. You’re male. And it’s time. To. ORDER! Flaunting a newfound feminine body, no untoward gaze could shrivel this colt. Weathering the mostly good-hearted – sometimes awkward – insinuations of the male clientele with only the protectant naiveté of youth, this PYT is actually an honor student with a deep interest in literature. Who saw that coming?



NAME: Guy in Wheelchair with Unknown Ailment

POSITION: Below the counter

GO-TO MEAL: So much corned beef hash

HOW DOES HE GET HERE: Seriously, there aren’t any wheelchair vans in the lot and it’s cold outside

HE MUST BE: A wizard

BIO: Is it some form of degenerative disease? Was it a horrific car accident? He certainly doesn’t care! He’s the happiest man on two wheels. Bursting with conversations about the weather, the weather or the weather, this sagamore of seated smiles can hold court with any crowd. In a space that’s hardly wheelchair-friendly, this friendly wheelchairer brings a ray of sunshine to any brunchtime.



NAME: High Teenagers

POSITION: Paranoid


GO-TO MEAL: Ummmmm... Uhhhhhhhh… Ummmmm…

BIO: They’ll have the pancakes! Known to local parents as “The Instigator” and “The Tagalong” this doped-up duo has a Learner’s Permit between them and are taking their newfound freedom for a joyride. The only thing poorer than this pair’s diet are their decision-making skills. Hey Bros, can we snake a toke? Of course not! Their older brother’s stash is cached!


The gatekeeper.

Picture C/O Localstew, Michigan



NAME: Parent Who No Longer Cares

POSITION: Hunched and broken

GO-TO MEAL: An overflowing plate of regret

HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING: Your kid is swallowing a knife

BIO: Better call Ch-Ch-Ch-Child Services because this parent has ch-ch-ch-checked out! This nabob of neglect is so adept at aversion that it wouldn’t make a difference if their child was eating with their hands or eating your hand. Hear that screaming? They don’t! Look deep into the ill-rested prison of their eyes and you’ll find the unvarnished framework of true pain!



NAME: That Guy You’ve Already Met Like Three Times

NAME: Shit…

POSITION: This place is too small to avoid eye contact forever

GO-TO MEAL: Oh God he’s coming over

BIO: Heeyyyyyyyyy man! How’s it going? The rest of my night? Which night was that? Yeah it was great. Yeahhhh there were so many people there that night. How’s work going? Good? Yeah? Same here. Going well. Yeah, status quo with what I do. Ok cool, man. Catch you later.

NAME: God dammit




NAME: Old Man Who Never Leaves

POSITION: Unchanging

GO-TO MEAL: Time itself

GEOLOGICAL ERA: Paleoproterozoic

BIO: The length of his meal can only be charted in the half-lives of Carbon. With speed akin to the shift of heavenly constellations, he erodes his way through a plate of deadly-cold hash browns. Is he even awake? Or is he slumbering the sleep of a trillion dreams? Tectonically he moves through his seat-bound sub-life, our existence the humming of flies to a stone. None may be so bold as to disrupt his endless vigil. Sit on, old soul. Sit on.


The Grill.

Picture c/o Flickr user b_weinstein



#10 (possibly soon-to-be #10 and #11)

NAME:  Couple that Got Into a Fight on the Way Over

POSITION: Same table/Miles apart

GO-TO MEAL: I’m not hungry


BIO: Whether she did it again when she said she wouldn’t or the toilet seat just won’t stay down, this prickly pair’s seating arrangement puts the “table” in “unstable.” On the crackling cusp of a breakup, this meal could either be the slow train to Splitsville or the mid-day express to Make-Up Sex-opolis. No matter which way it goes you can bet this beefy bro is fretting himself to a higher hairline.


The Owners.

Picture c/o Yelp


(The Real) #1s

NAME: Alex and Angie (as pictured above)

POSITION: Dominating the Diner

GO-TO MEAL: Breakfast Special #2 (my go-to at least): 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 pancakes, hash browns -- $5.95

BIO: This griddleman is no middleman. An overseer from overseas, Alex, the cook, hails from a former-Soviet country (which I cannot remember). From the crack of dawn to mid-afternoon he’s slinging brunch and lunch from a hole-in-the-wall he’s proud to call his own. Not to mention that his wife, and co-owner, Angie, also waitresses from time to time. And may I say she is a delightful lady who’s always up for a conversation. This couple has created something delicious and heartfelt and great and they deserve all the success in the world.  Don’t just visit Monty’s Grille, convert to it.



3.8 Stars

Simple. Home made. Satisfying. Plus you get to see it made, which always makes food taste better.



Did you see the price of their breakfast special? That’s in 2013 dollars. You will be very happy with the bill.


Don’t judge a book etc. etc.

It’s attached to a motel that looks like it probably offers hourly rates. Inside Monty’s, however, it’s cozy (not cramped) with an atmosphere of friendship, not exclusivity.


More than service

If you put the least effort in, your server will become your friend.



Monty’s Grill may not have the Very Best Food of all the diners in the Royal Oak/Ferndale area. But I still went there probably twice as often as any other. It’s a special place run by fantastic people. Eat at Monty’s Grill.