If you should find yourself in downtown Winchester, you may notice a small place on the corner of Main and Broadway by the name of Stinky & Coco’s Diner. You may wonder why anyone named Stinky would venture into the restaurant business. You may wonder why anyone named Coco would want to partner up with a guy named Stinky. Then curiosity may get the best of you and you’ll stroll inside for lunch. There you’ll discover that Stinky and Coco really do exist, they just don’t work at the restaurant, or anywhere else for that matter. Stinky and Coco are the owner’s beloved cats.
Owner Don Parsons, a Chicago native, opened the quirky little diner in late 2009 in a location that has a decades-long history of being a restaurant. You wouldn’t expect an urbanite to be able to walk onto small town Winchester’s Main Street and call it home, but that is exactly what Don did. His diner is a unique combination of nostalgia and charm, a combination that has sadly receded into our memories as chain restaurants have become our norm.
The diner is cozy and intimate with a few booths along the walls and stool counter seating. The kitchen area is artfully handled by an all male crew who manage to utilize every nook and cranny of space. Large chalkboards line one wall with a handwritten menu, including the day’s specials. The menu offers up some interesting choices like feta egg wraps and goat cheese burgers. (I chose the special of the day: brown sugar meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans and it did not disappoint). One of the most popular items on the menu is the shrimp and grits which includes shrimp, sausage, bacon, mushrooms and green onions in a cajun seasoned cream sauce served over cheddar grits. I sampled the cajun cream sauce and it was slap-your-granny good. Sorry, granny.
The counter seating option provides you with a full cooking show as the men prep, cook, and serve meals at lightning speed just inches away. And the close proximity provides much opportunity for “stranger” conversation which may be one of the best attributes of a diner, although the atmosphere was so friendly I wager it impossible to remain unfamiliar for long.
So if you do find yourself in downtown Winchester and want to fill up on the diner experience of the olden days, then by all means visit Stinky & Coco’s where the people are friendly, the food is home-cookin’ good, and the charm is always free.
Stinky & Coco’s Brown Sugar Meatloaf
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5×9 inch loaf pan.
- Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the sugar.
- Saute onions in a pat of butter (or any other fat) until clear.
- In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place on top of the ketchup.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear.
- Mix equal parts packed brown sugar and ketchup in saucepan. Add ground ginger to taste and heat thoroughly. Serve by teaspoonful over meatloaf slices.
Stinky & Coco’s Diner
1 N. Main Street
Winchester, KY 40391
And sometimes dinner