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.