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2 for $20: Suzy Q's is an old-fashioned charmer

Suzy Q's Soda Fountain & Grill

1831 E Broad St.,

Mansfield

817-539-8800; www.

suzyqssodafountain.com

10:30 a.m-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday


Posted 10:35am on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

Even though Suzy Q's Soda Fountain & Grill is only a year old, my buddies in Mansfield have been raving about it for almost half that time.

Attached to the diner is Ray's Pharmacy, a combination pharmacy and gift shop with roots in old town Mansfield going back more than 50 years. The restaurant is named after Ray's wife, Suzanne.

In true Mansfield fashion, the customers are chummy and so is the staff. If you're from the area, you're likely to run into someone you know.

Get some grub, browse the gift shop's tchotchkes, and max out your prescription of Prozac -- all in one trip. Convenience sells.

Like most diners, they've got burgers, fries, sandwiches and stuff related. They've also got a couple of dishes that don't quite fit -- but definitely outshine -- anything else in competing restaurants.

The Texas grilled cheese ($5.99) is a kid classic, but hardly worth a drive to Mansfield. For that, try the ham 'n cheese burger ($8.49), a hybrid burger-sandwich full of fresh and juicy fixings. Lettuce, tomato, ham, a burger patty and feta cheese sit under Suzy Q's special lime, cilantro and aioli green sauce.

Pair your meal with an ice cold and lightly sweetened cherry limeade ($2.25) or orange freeze ($3.99). Both are mixed in-house, like the rest of the beverages.

I'm always on the lookout for superior vegetable dishes, and Suzy Q's has two notable options: the vegetable "Q'dilla" ($8.49) and zucchini strips ($5.99).

Cheese-stuffed triangular slices of the vegetable Q'dilla went well with the chef's crunchy and sharply spicy pico de gallo.

The zucchini strips were fried but light and crispy, served with an assortment of dips, including wasabi ranch. They're a perfect alternative to calorie-heavy mozzarella sticks.

From the burgers to the drinks, everything at Suzy Q's is visually vibrant and decked out, just like the iconic symbols of the '50s -- neon signs, swanky cars and brightly lit jukeboxes. The portions are similarly old-fashioned: Most dishes, like the ham 'n cheese burger and quesadillas, are enough for two people.

But Suzy Q's best meal has little to do with '50s Americana. The migas ranchero ($6.59) -- a meal I prepare almost daily at home -- is the restaurant's undisputed masterpiece.

Suzy Q's mix of eggs and tortillas -- and the brilliant addition of sausage and feta cheese -- is flavorful and satisfying. A hint of red hot sauce makes for the proverbial cherry on top, and to make it even better, they're served alongside golden, seasoned cubed potatoes.

I admit defeat. Their migas are better than mine.

When friends were raving about this little eatery, they failed to mention that dish. I can't blame them; I'd keep it a secret, too.

Oops. Too late.

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