The Pantry: "Loyalty is family"


Clinton Township’s The Pantry Restaurant is a small, family-owned restaurant tucked into a strip mall on Hall Road. The restaurant is a local chain with additional locations in Sterling Heights and Washington Township. Their website states that the pantry was founded by Joe Moceri in 1978. While it may not be the most unique place to dine, the food, service, and price makes it worth a visit, for sure.
Portraits of families and religious figures hang on the walls around the restaurant, and even as you look toward the kitchen. The old-fashioned decor transports you to your grandmother’s home in the early 2000s: the pale orange walls, the religious photos, and the simple, painted murals, combined with cheap Halloween streamers and scarecrows, left up days after the holiday, take you back to the days after elementary school when your grandma would pick you up from school and take you back to her house, letting you eat snacks and watch PBS Kids shows while waiting for your parents to pick you up on their way home from work.
“It was definitely more of a family restaurant,” Kristen Torrice said. “The decor had lots of religious imagery, but not too much that it was distracting. Family portraits hung on the walls, and the color pallet was soothing.”
With a menu featuring breakfast and brunch standards like waffles, pancakes, omelets, and crepes, The Pantry seems to be your average, blasé family restaurant. I ordered the Anytime Special: pancakes, eggs and potatoes. My pancakes were possibly some of the best I’ve ever had. Their flavor held its own against the butter and syrup, neither overwhelming nor overwhelmed by the butter and syrup. The warm, fluffy pancakes were comparable to a comforter fresh out of the dryer. My scrambled eggs were perfectly cooked, but nearly cold by the time they reached by table, as were my potatoes. Had they been warmer, I imagine they would have been enjoyed much more. Despite the cold food, our waiter was quick and attentive. He took our orders and brought our food in a timely fashion, and checked in on us a few times during our dining experience to see if we needed anything.
“I ordered corn beef hash with a sunny side up egg and some toast,” Torrice said. “I have loved hash ever since my dad first made it for me a while back, but I have never had it anywhere besides home. It was pretty good! If I’m being honest, it wasn’t as great as my dad’s, but it wasn’t bad. I do have to say, I liked the egg least of all. Restaurant eggs just don’t taste right to me.”
The sweeter menu options were similarly hit or miss.
“I ordered a chocolate chip waffle with ice cream and a cinnamon roll,” Vogellehner said. “The waffle was really good! I get waffles for breakfast whenever I can, and it was very enjoyable. The cinnamon roll had way too much frosting on it and it was very, very sweet, so it was less enjoyable.”
Despite the subpar food and outdated decor, the experience was overall pleasant, and with nearly all menu items under 10 dollars, the bargain of a good meal draws customers back.
“I’d definitely go here again,” Torrice said. “It was a cute restaurant with pretty good food and wonderful service. What more could I ask for?”
We visited on a late Friday morning, which may have contributed to the speedy service and lack of wait time, as most people are at work or school during the week. However, as the restaurant’s website states: “Don't let the long lines on weekends discourage you, loyalty is family.”

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