The Diner Superlatives

While I haven’t been to every NJ diner, half or even a quarter of them…I have been to enough that I feel I can make an appropriate list of Diner Superlatives. A lot of the diners I have been to are in South Jersey (because it’s closer to me) but a few are in North as well. I am slowly coming to realize that it is going to be a lot harder once I have gone to most of the South Jersey diners that appeal to me. (I still have at least 2 years before that happens…)

Without further ado:
Best Coffee
Mastoris gives homemade whipped cream and a huge tub of it too. It’s deliscious. I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee or whipped cream.

home made whip cream in the coffee.
home made whip cream in the coffee.

Largest Menu:
Phoenix Diner (as seen here)

Phoenix Diner

Best Bread Basket:
Mastoris again
The cinnamon and pastrys win. You cannot compete with that and they are well known in NJ for it.

mastoris bread basket

Best Overall Food”
Vincentown Diner

Here is my staple there.  Salmon salad with pita bread.
Here is my staple there. Salmon salad with pita bread.

I’ve been there 22 times (thank you foursquare). I’ve never had a bad meal and between Tim and I have tried close to the entire menu. While it is a bit more pricy, it is always worth it. Plus all of their food is local! (double foodie points!)

Best Dessert:
Mastoris has the best red velvet cake of anywhere I’ve had. Runner up would be the Cherry Hill Diner. (Yes Laura and Heather) that is what you guys had.

Matoris red velvet cake

Worst Coffee:
The Princetonion takes the cake. For about 2 dollars I received one cup of coffee and one refill. It equated to about 8 ounces of coffee. That is more expensive than Starbucks.

All of this coffee for 1.69..such a
All of this coffee for 1.69..such a deal…no.  (actual size)

Worst Food:
The Garden State Diner in Wrightstown wins for the worst food. I haven’t done a review on it yet. Long story short, I left quite hungry after going. Their large salad was 10 parts of white lettuce and one part everything else. It’s one of the closest diners to our house…and one that I will never go back too.

Ponzio’s comes in a close second with canned pears, frozen salmon and costing about 20 dollars for a salad.

Look at you chilling there little canned pear.
Look at you chilling there little canned pear.

Worst Dessert:
Red Lion Diner because I couldn’t finish the dry, crusty, hard cake. I haven’t finished a dessert twice in my life. (This was one of those times)


yummy, crusty cake!
yummy, crusty cake!

Best Service:
Ponzio’s had a great server. He was nice, funny and brought the LOLZ.

Worst Service:
Mastori’s service is normally awful. I’ve been five times and each time the hostest is rude. Then often times (including my birthday there) the waitor forgets they are helping your table. I’ve heard managers shouting over tables and also snarking on customers.  I like Mastoris’ food a lot, however, it’s hard to get over the poor service.

Stay tuned when I’ve gone to another 20 diners and hopefully I can update with changes in Superlatives.  A lot of the diners are repeat winners or offenders.  Hopefully as I visit more I’ll have more interesting and unique stories! 

Question for you: 

What is the best restaurant you’ve ever been too?

What restaurant that you’ve been too had the worst service (bonus points for a funny story). 

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  1. Question on the coffee – was the Princetonian the worst coffee, or the worst DEAL on coffee? And do they actually limit refills? (we have a pub near us that has a 1-refill on soda limit)

    1. Yes, they only give one free refill…I’m not terribly picky with coffee flavors so that sealed the deal on not wanting it!

      1. Wow … couldn’t imagine – all four of us (wife and kids) have a couple of refills when we are out for breakfast, that would annoy me!

  2. ha! seeing these reviews makes me want to start a little quest of my own… there’s so many good bakeries in this madison area. somehow i doubt my waistline would enjoy this endeavor….

    thta red velvet cake. i am dying. it is my favorite and that looks amazing!

  3. Love those reviews. Makes me want to visit Nj! My husband (and three kids) actually do this with Mexican restaurants here in San Diego. We are New Mexico transplants and are on a quest for great Mexican food. The type that we grew up on. If we knew more about the business we would start our own! Keep checking those diners out and reporting back. It makes for good reads!

  4. There are so many good ones in North Jersey! If you ever want to come for a run, my wife and I will treat to a real NJ diner experience!

  5. Mm now I think i know where I want to go when I come back to my home state haha (although I can’t promise I won’t get snarky back if they’re rude enough). Best restaurant I’ve eaten at thus far was probably McCradys in Charleston. Absolutely amazing food and service. Joe and I still dream about that meal haha

  6. I don’t know if I could say the best restaurant I’ve ever been to. That would be really hard… but my favorite Charleston area diner is the Early Bird Diner followed by Bluerose Cafe in a close second. I think it’s crazy for a diner to charge for or limit coffee refills… at least drip coffee. A specialty drink is understandable but not regular coffee.

    I have never thought to ask for whipped cream but I may do that one day.

  7. Mastoris does have the best cinnamon and cheese bread. Do they still give it to you for free with breakfast? They used to. I grew up by Garden State Diner and have to agree that it’s not good. Tooties diner in New Egypt is a few miles down the road. It’s super small, but the food is really good. At night they have an ice cream window and I highly recommend their upside down banana split. Haven’t been in years, but good food memories!

  8. I love that the Phoenix Diner menu is so big! I like a lot of options when I go out, and can never decide, so really, I’m not sure a giant menu is a good thing for me.

    It’s hard for me to find a bad cup of coffee. But our cafe recently switched over to a new company. They now charge like $1.50 for about 6 ounces of coffee. You’d better believe I said hell no to that!

    1. That’s a definite bad cup of coffee. Actually that’s pretty much the only reason I will say a cup of coffee is bad.

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