It’s now been over four years since I started reviewing diners. You can see the full map here.
Since starting my NJ Diner quest, I’ve been to just over 200 diners in New Jersey and about 50 diners in other parts of the world. There are about 600 diners in NJ, but that changes from month to month. I’ve been to at least 4 that have since closed! :O
You can see reviews here or use the link at the top of the blog.
How did it start? I get this question a lot. Why do I go to diners?
My husband and I moved to New Jersey in October 2013. I can’t believe it’s nearly been five years. Before moving to NJ, we didn’t know much about the state. I had driven the turnpike many times to college in upstate NY but other than that I didn’t know anything. Like most people, I assumed it was just a densely populated state with a lot of traffic.
That is definitely isn’t the case. New Jersey has hundreds of small towns, each having their own personality. New Jersey is known as “the garden state,” and there are miles of fields and gardens. We started going to different diners to see different parts of the state. A diner along the shore of NJ is going to be far different than one on the outskirts of New York City. It’s been a fun way to explore the state and see all different areas.
Do I only eat at diners? No, of course not. Have there been many weeks where I haven’t made it to a new diner? Of course but it’s been a fun hobby to do, and I’ve seen so much of New Jersey!
I started reviewing diners in March of 2014. Keep in mind, this just a personal experience. An experience at any restaurant is different depending on the day, time, or who you go with. I’m not a diner professional, food critic, or anyone other than a blogger who likes diners.
Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights:
All-Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris
Mastoris isn’t a typical diner. It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake. This was one of the first diners I went too, and I still continue to go back. I think the food is excellent at Mastoris. However, I think the service is lackluster. I’ve been about 20 times in the last 4 years.
Least Favorite Diner: The Ridge Diner or Garden State Diner,
Each diner was a definite letdown. Garden State was just all around bad.
Unforatrenly diner review number 200, the Ridge Diner, was as well. Burnt crusty steak, poor service, and sitting on top of people.
Diner went to the most times: Vincentown
I used to live closer to Vincentown. Sadly, the quality of the food and service has gone downhill, so I haven’t been much at all. I went from going three times a month to maybe once every few months. Once the wait staff essentially assumed I was too young to afford. The woman said to me, do you realize how much this will cost? Yes, that is a true story, and yes the meal was less than $20.
Another time, we overheard another waitress talking about her stripping job. Personally, I don’t care, but when you hear a waitress talking about that to co-workers, it’s definitely a unique experience. In four years, I’ve been 30+ times, but I haven’t been back recently.
Here are a Few Diners that Stand Out to Me:
I guess many of my favorite diners are due to their cake.
Stateline Diner: Great Cake and Service
Jefferson Diner: Great food and service
Northeast (NYC area):
Brownstone: Best pancakes in the state
Chit Chat Diner: Fun and unique diner
Mustache Bills: You can’t argue with mustache shaped pancakes
Tropicana: Most unique and Carribean themed!
Mastoris: Best all around
Larrys 2: Great food, fast service
Healthiest Diner: Silver Diner
The Silver Diner is a small chain, and there are a few across the east coast. How many diners have Quinoa pancakes or a roasted vegetable salad?
Best Coffee: Any diner that serves the local Lacas coffee and has homemade whipped cream.
Worst Coffee: Princetonian: they charge for refills!
Biggest portions: Tropicana: For $24, I received all of this food. I had run 15 miles and still made a full meal out of leftovers.
Best Pancakes: Four Seasons in Toms River. Any pancakes with red velvet in them are always good to me!
Best Egg Breakfast: Amys Omelet House (Over 200 omelet choices!)
Best Dinner Option: The Pork Chops with NJ fresh Blueberries from Larrys 2
Cheapest Diner: Angelos (around $5 for a meal)
Most Expensive: Vincentown (typically $20+ for a meal)
So cheers to 200 diners. Hopefully, I’ll make it another 100 but who knows what will happen.
Questions for you:
Have you been to a diner before?
Where is your favorite place to eat?
That is so cool! What a neat place ay to get to know your new home:). Kudos for remembering all those details:)
I don’t know why but I honestly love your diner review posts. We don’t have diners in the UK so I think it’s me trying to vicariously experience them through you hehe.
Thank you Anna, I appreciate your support. It’s funny because when I started several years ago it was so random. I honestly can’t believe I’m still trucking along.
This is really cool. I feel like you should publish a book, provided that most of the diners will still be in business for years to come!
There are actually a few books out with by more knowledgable people than me!
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