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Finish Line Family Restaurant. Maggie Hroncich | Collegian

Finish Line Family Restaurant has been a staple in the diet of many Hillsdale res­i­dents since 1976. 

At its estab­lishment, Finish Line was pri­marily an ice cream parlor but it also served soups, salads, and sand­wiches. After a few years, it was pur­chased from the original owners by the House of Flavors, a Michigan-based ice cream fran­chise. Later, the store was pur­chased by a Hillsdale local who trans­formed it from an ice cream shop into a diner. Finally, in 1995, Lisa Slade took own­ership of Finish Line and has remained in the position since. Her journey with Finish Line began in 1977 when she began working as a waitress.

In classic diner fashion, Finish Line boasts an extensive menu, which still includes a variety of ice creams. The breakfast menu is perhaps the most popular, con­taining items such as skillets, omelets, breakfast bur­ritos, and pan­cakes, all of which are sold all day. Slade also favors the paninis and hot sand­wiches such as the Monte Cristo and the fish reuben. 

Fall flavors are returning to Finish Line in Sep­tember. Pumpkin dom­i­nates the breakfast menu, from pan­cakes to waffles to pie. The apple crisp will also make its return.

Since its beginning, the various owners of Finish Line have worked to uphold its integrity in the community.

“I’m proud of Finish Line’s rep­u­tation in the com­munity,” Owner Lisa Slade said. “We’re just a small family diner, but we’ve always tried to serve a good meal for a rea­sonable price.”

Slade said she has always tried to foster rela­tion­ships with her cus­tomers by relating to them and taking care of them. She said stu­dents are par­tic­u­larly enthu­si­astic customers.

“Finish Line is my favorite Sunday morning brunch spot,” Sophomore Caitie Burns said. “It’s a great atmos­phere to get a meal with friends.”

The people of Hillsdale have con­tin­ually shown their support for Finish Line. Slade said the Hillsdale Daily News, in its yearly Best of Hillsdale rankings, has ranked Finish Line at the top in the Breakfast cat­egory in its yearly Best of Hillsdale rankings for many years running. In 2020, Finish Line was named Best Breakfast, Best Diner, Best Bis­cuits, and Best Brunch by the Daily News.

Finish Line has seen the community’s support for their business this summer more than ever. 

“We’ve always been busy, but this summer has been really busy,” Slade said.

She said it may be the community’s response to lighter COVID-19 restric­tions that has led to such an increase in business.

Its cozy and classic atmos­phere, tried and true recipes, and wel­coming faces makes Finish Line a perfect spot to expe­rience Hillsdale’s finest food and community.