The Spot

Flashback time: One of the first diners I ever went to was in Binghamton, NY. The Spot in Binghampton showed me how great diners could truly be. Every time I drive through Binghamton I make a special effort to stop.  Despite not being in NJ, this is one of my favorite diners to date.

Atmosphere: A
The outside is a very casual vibe and is made out of cobblestone. It can easily be seen from the 81 highway. The inside has plenty of light and booths. I always try and get a booth next to one of the windows.   You walk in next to the bakery so get to sit within view of that most of the time.

One of my favorite parts of this diner is the friendliness of the staff. I have eaten at the diner alone and with family and friends. The staff is always so polite.  I don’t have a problem eating at restaurants alone and have done it a few times.

Coffee: B
Each time I go, the coffee is always refilled quickly. The whipped cream isn’t my favorite but plenty of coffee is always a positive thing.

Super old school coffee shot.  Dates back to LOLZ drinking to 2012.

Super old school coffee shot. Dates back to LOLZ drinking to 2012.

Food: A
The diner has everything you can imagine. The Spot has pancakes, seafood, dinner, sandwhiches…everything.  Keep in mind I’ve been going to this diner for the last 5 years (way before I knew the glory of NJ diners).  I was always overwhelmed with the possibilities!

This diner Greek Salad is one of my favorites. The salad comes with pita bread, anchovies, grape leaves, feta cheese, onions and I always add gyro meat I like that the gyro is cooked in oil so it’s very juicy.  I don’t post a lot about it but I really like Gyro meat, but oddly enough it’s hard to find at diners!

gyrosalad

Cost: $
The cost for the salad (with gyro) and coffee is 12 dollars. It’s a really good deal and I can’t ever complain.

Overall thoughts: A
Would I come back?
Whenever I am traveling through Binghamton, I always try and hit up the Spot. It’s one of my favorite diners and a great stop along I-81. I always recommend it.

Cliffnotes:
The Spot
Binghampton, NY
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Cost: $8-15
Overall thoughts: A

Questions for you:

Do you have a restaurant you like to go to while traveling? 

Have you ever had Gyro meat? 

The Freeway Diner

Freeway Diner

When the New Jersey Isn’t Boring website owner asks if you want to go on a finer date, you don’t say no. It’s not allowed! Our first diner date was a few months ago to the Park Nine diner.

This time we opted to go the Freeway diner in Woodbury, NJ (Her review here)

I made such a great second impression. I was having a rough day and ended up going to the wrong diner. After realizing that I was at the wrong diner, I drove the 15 minutes down the road.  The last two weeks have been hectic for me so I’ve been having quite a few of these moments.  Hopefully the third date will be better!

Atmosphere: A 

I loved the atmosphere of the Freeway Diner. It was a throwback from the 50s. The pink blinds, pink chandeliers, pink booths and of course bar table. It was adorable and everything you picture in a diner. ‘

Coffee: A 

The waitress was really nice and refilled our coffee mugs several times. She also included overflowing whipped cream. She was a woman after my own heart! The coffee was great and the massive amount of whipped cream was appreciated.  I really liked everything about the coffee and whipped cream.

Freeway Diner Coffee

Food: B 

The menu was average. It had several normal diner options, no more or no less. I ordered my staple of the Greek salad with chicken. The salad was good, it was just a very small portion. I believe I could have eaten two of them. The Greek salad came with chicken, onions, lettuce, feta and two olives. It could have used more olives and more lettuce.  In fact I went home and had another meal two hours later.

Freeway Diner Salad

Cost: $ 

I can’t complain about the portion size because the meal was 10 dollars. It was one of the cheapest diner salads I’ve had in a while. I have no complaints about the portion size and price.  I would have paid more for a bigger salad though.  I hate going to a restaurant and still hungry.

Overall thoughts: B 

Would I come back?
I probably won’t come back just because there are closer diners that I like better. The diner is extremely inexpensive and I have no complaints about that. It wasn’t my favorite but it wasn’t bad either. It was a typical diner in New Jersey. I would recommend the Freeway Diner for anyone in Woodbury, NJ who is looking for a quick bite to eat.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Cost: $ 5-12
Overall: B


Questions for you:

Have you ever gone to the wrong place before?

What is the cheapest restaurant meal you’ve gotten?

At a diner in college you could get an omelet and coffee for 6 dollars.

PBs Diner and Tap Room

Last weekend, Angela and I finally got a chance to catch up.  Angela is a local (fast) runner and coach. We decided to meet up at one of her favorites and a local staple “PB’s Diner and Tap Room”.  PB’s Diner and Tap Room is located in Glassboro, NJ.

A diner and a pub?  I file that under strange but normal New Jersey things…

I’ve been to several New Jersey diners and several NJ bars but never a restaurant claiming to be a combination of both.  I guess there is a first time for everything.

Atmosphere: B

I’m still not sure what to think.  On one half of the restaurant there is the tap room and on the other half there is a “dining room” diner section.  The dining room is set up well.  When Angela and I went there was a football game playing in the bar but the dining room was quiet.

Our server was a unique individual. The overall atmosphere seemed tense between the staff and customers.  I’m not sure if the waiters felt overwhelmed or were having a rough day but it was a tense vibe and I’m not sure why.

Coffee: A
This was one of the strangest coffee combinations I have tried. First, I was unsure if a bar would be able to give me coffee and whipped cream. They were able too and the whipped cream came in a bowl on the side. I have never received a bowl of whipped cream before. The coffee was great though and I had plenty of refills.

PB Diner Coffee

Food: B
The menu has  typical diner and bar fare. It was exactly what you would you assume a diner to have or a bar to have. They had plenty of pancakes, burgers, salads and beer.

I ordered the “large” Greek salad with a side of salmon. The house dressing was really good. It had large chunks of feta cheese in it. It was a fairly large salad and the salmon was good. The salad was smaller than I would have hoped and not that filling.  It was a good salad but I do wish there was more.

Pb Diner Salad

Price: $
The salad and coffee was only 15 dollars which isn’t too expensive. It was one of the cheaper meals I’ve had.

Would I come back?
Overall thoughts: B
The food and coffee were great but something about the overall vibe of the restaurant turned me off. I’m not sure I’ll be back unless someone suggests.  If I’m left to my own I’ll probably stick to other diners.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Food: B
Price: $10-20

Questions for you:
Have you ever gone to a diner bar? (Must be a Nj thing)

Colonial Diner

One of my good friends and I found ourselves hungry and bored last week. Part of the luxury of working retail is that your off days normally fall in the middle of the week. She was coming back from a deployment so had a week off (we aren’t normally randomly bored on weekdays).

After googling diners, we found the Colonial Diner in Woodbury, NJ.  It was only a few miles from my house. After we got there we noticed the entire parking lot was full. It was at that point I knew the diner must be good.

Atmosphere: B
The outside is a cobblestone building. It is nothing too exciting. The Colonial diner itself is located right near train tracks and during our meal several trains went through.

The inside is full of booths and tables. It’s divided into two sections. We sat in a booth in the far section. I was disappointed we didn’t sit in the section with the juit boxes. The diner itself is clean and tidy. The staff was friendly but it was nothing extraordinary.

Coffee: B
The whipped cream was homemade. It was towering over the coffee and really good. I was however, disappointed because I was hoping to get a refill. I guess I’m just a coffee guzzler. If a menu states they give free refills then I always hope for more than one serving.

Black tie affair menu?

Black tie affair menu?

Food: A
The food at the Colonial diner is really good. The menu has everything you could hope for in a diner. Plus in addition to “normal” diner options, they have a lot of gluten free and healthy options. The Colonial diner is a true hidden gem.

I ordered the Greek salad with chicken. Normally Greek salads come with romaine lettuce. This lettuce was much greener than the standard Lettuce. The salad came with olives, feta, peppers, anchovies, onions and the untraditional chick peas. I thought the dressing was a bit light and watery but it was still good. It was in the top third diner salads I’ve had.

colonial diner salad

colonial diner

Cost: $
For my salad with chicken and coffee, it was 16 dollars. One of the cheaper meals I’ve had from a diner in a while.

Overall thoughts: A
Would I come back?
The diner was a lot better than I expected. I do plan to come back at some point soon. They have a lot of different cakes to try. My only real complaint is that I wish I had been able to get more coffee.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee:B
Food: A (top third)
Cost: 10-20 per meal
I’ll be back and I hope they are able to refill my coffee this time.

Question for you:  Do you like anchovies? 

 

New Ewing Diner

There are many hidden diner gems located in New Jersey.  The New Ewing Diner in Ewing is one of those hidden diner gems. When Melissa and I were looking for diners in the Trenton area, the New Ewing Diner popped up.  With quick research, we determined (by the photos) it would be pretty good.  Since I’m still new into my diner quest (this is number 36 that I’ve been too) have the option to pick and choose.

Melissa and I taking a selfie in front of the diner.  #sofancy

Melissa and I taking a selfie in front of the diner. #sofancy

Atmosphere: A

The New Ewing Diner is located directly next to a large psychiatric center with a 10 foot barbed wire fence. You also drive by a state prison within a mile of the New Ewing Diner. I was worried I would make a wrong turn. The diner itself comes up quickly though.  It’s a cute, very picture perfect diner located in the heart of Trenton.

The inside was very festive as well.  In fact, it was very obvious that the diner had been through some remodeling and was “new”.  Both the interior and exterior were my favorite atmospheres to date. They were very festive inside for Halloween.

Coffee: A-

The coffee was good and the whipped was cream was good too.  I wish the cups were a little bigger but it was good coffee.  I have no complaints other then wanting bigger cups. Realistically that has been my only complaint for the last few diners I’ve been too.

I think a whipped cream coffee and picture of the menu is a perfect diner review staple

I think a whipped cream coffee and picture of the menu is a perfect diner review staple

Food: B

The menu is huge.  They have 64 different omelet combinations.  Next time I come, I’m going to try one of their many omelets.

I ordered the Mkyanos salad.  It was their house speciality. It was a Greek specialty salad with chicken, (three) olives, onions, tomatoes, grape leaves and feta. I also ordered a side of pita bread. In my opinion, the salad was a little lack luster. It was a good salad, I just wish there was more salad (see the three olives). I will say I haven’t had better pita bread then this diner. It was pretty good but the atmosphere led me to believe the food would be a lot better. Another case of judging a book by it’s cover.

Ewing Diner Salad

Price: $$$
The salad and coffee at the New Ewing Diner cost 18. While it was a good salad and the coffee was good, I think it was a rather expensive meal for what you actually got. I’m going to give the New Ewing Diner the HUGE benefit of the doubt and say you are paying more for atmosphere than food.

Would I return/overall thoughts?
I think the diner is a bit pricey but the atmosphere is one of the best I have been too in NJ. The staff at New Ewing Diner was some of the most friendly of any diner staff. I will be back soon and I will try one of their 64 omeletes. So I guess long story short: great atmosphere, smaller and more expensive portions. I will be back soon.

Questions for you:
Have any restaurants you’ve been too been festive for Halloween?
What is the most decorated restaurant you have ever been too?

 

Crystal Lake Diner

I feel somewhat weird posting this. I have had the Crystal Lake Diner review typed up for a while but haven’t posted it. Sadly now you are unable to go to this gem in Haddon Township because it burned down in early June.  It’s really a shame because this was a good diner.  It happened in the middle of the night so thankfully no one was hurt or injured.

Article about the Crystal Lake Diner burning down

crystal lake diner

 

Source

Tim and I went to the Crystal lake Diner earlier in the year. We had been picking up furniture in the area and wanted to (of course) try a new diner. After a quick google search we found the Crystal Lake Diner.  It was within a mile of where we were so we just headed up there.

The diner was located on a large hill. We worried the emergency break might fail but if people park safely in San Francisco we figured we were fine.

Atmosphere: B
The outdoor atmosphere was a normal, large building. It was nothing that welcomes you or pulls you into the building except it says “diner”. If I hadn’t googled it, we probably would have driven right by.

The inside of the Crystal Lake diner was a typical diner. It had booths, tables and a bar running the length of the restaurant. I can’t say it was the most cleanly diner I have been too but it wasn’t awful.  It was a normal diner. It was what most states expect out of a diner. It wasn’t a pimped out diner but it wasn’t grimy either.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good. While they did not have whipped cream, they did use large mugs and didn’t charge for retails. It tasted like that burnt diner flavor that most people associate with diners.  I didn’t take a photo because my phone was going to die soon and I needed to “save it” for tweeting.  Just kidding but I did want to at least get a photo of the meal.

Food: A
I was honestly extremely surprised by my food at the Crystal Lake diner. By the general atmosphere, I had gone with a “this food will be okay but probably not great” mentality. My salad was really good and I have no complaints. I ordered the Greek Salad with chicken and pita bread. It was a standard Greek salad but the dressing was pretty thick. I think that’s what I enjoyed the most.  I would classify the Crystal Lake Diner as a hidden gem, “hole in the wall” type of place in Haddon Township. Based on the atmosphere, you might drive right on by. Crystal Lake Diner Salad

Cost: $
For one coffee and two meals, the cost was 28 dollars. That’s not bad and the food was delicious and filling so I have no complaints.

Overall Impression:
I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the Crystal Lake Diner. I have no complaints and rather enjoyed my food. I would have loved to come back but sadly due to the fire it’s obviously closed. I hope one day they reopen!  Living in NJ for a year and talking with locals recently, this was a favorite diner in the area.  I wish it wouldn’t have burned down but I am thankful no one was hurt or injured.

RIP: Crystal Lake Diner, NJ lost a great place.

Legacy Diner

On Sunday I met Liz at the Legacy diner in Audubon.  I had driven by the diner a couple of weeks ago and thought it looked really nice.  As with most diners I judge them by the outside.  The first time I drove by the Legacy Diner I knew I would be back soon.

Liz and I

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere outdoors is adorable.  It’s very clean and fresh.  It’s the reason I spotted and added it to my to do list to begin with.  The inside of the Legacy Diner was clean.  It was divided into two sections.  It wasn’t anything too crazy but it was cute.  It’s in the medium sized diners I have been too.  It’s a nice diner, very clean and simple.

Coffee: A
I have to give the waitress extreme credit on this one.  She filled my cup 4 times during the two hours we were there.  She also added whipped cream each.  Honestly it was the best diner coffee I have had.  I have said that a few times but looking at this picture alone you can tell how delicious it was.

Legacy Diner Coffee

Food: A
After staring at the menu for a solid 10 minutes, we both decided to go with their special house Peach salad.  I almost went with the Greek salad like I do most of the time but the house peach was their specialty so I went with it.  It contained chicken, spinach, cranberries, walnuts, peaches and goat cheese.  The amount of goat cheese was overwhelming but goat cheese is my favorite so I have no complaints.

Legacy Diner Salad (2)

 

Legacy Diner Salad (3)

Work it salad

Legacy Diner Salad

Strike a salad pose

Long story short, this was one of my favorite diner salads.  I have absolutely no complaints.  Obviously I have no complaints since I decided to have a photoshoot with a salad.  I’m so blogger! 

Cost: $
The salad and coffee cost 14 dollars.  For the quality, quantity and service it’s one of the best values I’ve come across.

Would I come back/overall impression:
Honestly I have no complaints or problems with the Legacy Diner in Audubon.  I will be back several times and I wish I had discovered this hidden NJ sooner.  Both Elizabeth and I agree, It’s in the top five favorite diners in NJ.  I got a glimpse of their French toast and that’s what I will be trying next.

Questions for you:

Do you judge a restaurant by the outside?

Do you like to try “restaurant specialties”?