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Penrose Diner (Philadelphia)

Penrose Diner (Philadelphia)

Penrose Diner (Philadelphia, PA)

While my dad was driving through, we decided to go to the Penrose Diner in South Philly. Despite being in Pennsylvania, it’s only about 10 minutes from my house. If you fly into the Philadelphia airport, it’s right there.

Penrose Diner Philadelphia

Penrose Diner Atmosphere: A
The parking lot of the Penrose Diner is small. It can be hard to find a parking spot. Even if every spot is taken, the diner is massive, so there are probably seats inside.

Penrose Diner Philadelphia

The inside has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar, plus a large bakery case.

Penrose Diner Coffee: A
The Penrose Diner serves locally brewed Lacas coffee. It was brewed hot and fresh, and the waitress refilled it often. I have no complaints, and it was great.

Penrose Diner Philadelphia coffee

Penrose Diner Food: B
We arrived around breakfast time. The Penrose Diner menu serves everything from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are a lot of interesting dinner options like crab cakes I want to try.

Since it was breakfast time, I ordered the steak and eggs. I didn’t order the “T-Bone” but instead the regular steak and eggs. (The T-Bone was 16 ounces). My meal came with steak, two eggs (I ordered scrambled), toast, and potatoes.

Penrose Diner Philadelphia steak and eggs

The meal was good. I ordered my steak rare, but it came out a little bit more cooked than I preferred. That being said, it was a typical diner meal: plenty of food. I was happy with my choice.

Penrose Diner Philadelphia steak and eggs

Penrose Diner Service: A
Our waitress was friendly, and our food came out fast. She made funny remarks like: “you guys are splurging for breakfast.” We had both chosen steak and eggs, the most expensive breakfast option.

Penrose Diner Cost: $
For my steak and eggs, plus coffee, it was $20. It was a lot of food.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back to the Penrose Diner?
I liked the Penrose Diner and would go back. I’m interested in trying dinner.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Service: A
Cost: $10-20
Overall: A

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite breakfast?
How do you like eggs?

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Park Place Diner (Matawan)

Park Place Diner (Matawan)

After the Sheehan Classic Asbury Park 5k, I decided to stop at the Park Place diner (Matawan). It’s located right across from Aberdeen Shopping Center, and the Town Square Diner.

Park Place Diner Matawan

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere of the Park Place Diner in Matawan is typical of a modern diner. It’s not metallic or shiny, but a nice modern building.

The front door is located next to the dessert case as well as a bar. Inside, there are plenty of booths and tables.  Apparently, it’s a great local spot to hold a business meeting.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, and the waitress refilled it often.

Park Place Diner Matawan coffee

Food: A

The menu at the Park Place Diner is massive, and they have everything from breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials. They also serve everything all day long, which is nice.

Park Place Diner Matawan Farmers Omelet

I decided to order the farmers omelet, which came with pancakes. The Farmers Omelet was stuffed with Ham, Onion, Peppers, Potatoes and Cheddar Cheese. It had the most cheese I’ve seen in an omelet.

Park Place Diner Matawan Farmers Omelet

Ordering pancakes at a diner can always be risky. I’ve had good pancakes, but I’ve also had bad, flat, pancakes. The pancakes at the Park Place Diner were light and fluffy and tasted good. I was pleased!

Service: A
The waitress was one of the friendliest waitresses I’ve had recently. Even though the Park Place Diner was busy, she made sure to refill my coffee, and the food came out quickly.

Cost: $
For my omelet and coffee at the Park Place Diner, it was $12.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to the Park Place Diner?
I liked the Park Place Diner in Matawan, and if I’m in the area, I’ll be back. Some of the lunch and dinner options interested me.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $8-15
Overall: A

You can see all 256 Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of omelet?
What is the riskiest item at a diner to order?

Town Square Diner (Matawan)

Town Square Diner (Matawan)

Town Square Diner (Matawan)

Recently I went to the Town Square Diner in Matawan. One of my goals is to go to a few more diners in that general area.  Previously the Aberdeen Diner, a few years ago, it was reopened under the name Town Square Diner.

Town Square Diner Matawan

Town Square Diner Atmosphere: B
The Town Squire Diner is located in the Aberdeen Shopping Center. It’s not a standalone diner and just blends in with the rest of the shopping center.

Town Square Diner Matawan

Once you get inside, it looks like a diner. It’s dimly lit with plenty of booths, tables, and a bar.

Town Square Diner Coffee: B
The coffee at the Town Squire Diner was brewed hot and fresh. It wasn’t anything unique or unusual but it was good. I could have used more refills, but other than that, it was good.

Town Square Diner Matawan coffee

Town Square Diner Food: B
The Town Square Diner menu has everything you would expect in a diner. There are plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Plus there were several different menu specials.  In fact, the specials are what spoke to me.

Town Square Diner Matawan

I arrived around lunchtime and didn’t know what I was craving. One of their specials: The Shrimp Salad caught my eye. It came with arugula, shrimp, avocado, and artichoke hearts. The salad was good but I do wish it was bigger.

Town Square Diner Matawan

It also came with soup and I chose lentil. The lentil soup was delicious but it was hot, so hot in fact, that I burned out my tongue. That was my fault, though.

Town Square Diner Matawan

 Cost: $$
For my salad and coffee, it was $18.

Town Square Diner Service: A
Our waitress at the Town Square Diner was friendly and our food came out fast. Without rushing, I was in and out within 45 minutes.

Overall Thoughts of the Town Square Diner:
I liked the Town Square Diner. The meal was fresh and the food came out fast. I would go back.

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Diners don’t make me happy, why do you ask?

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Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Service: A
Cost: $10-20
Overall: A

You can see all 255 diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you ever order from the specials menu?
Do you like shrimp?

Exmore Diner (Exmore, VA)

Exmore Diner (Exmore, VA)

Exmore Diner (Exmore, VA)

Recently I was visiting my parents, and we decided to finally go to the Exmore Diner in Northampton County, VA. They have a home up there, and we’ve always said we would go, but the timing never seems to work out.

Exmore Diner Virginia

Exmore Diner Atmosphere: A
The Exmore Diner is small and is a big, metallic, shiny, diner. It’s a stereotypical diner. Everything you picture in an old school classic diner is true.

Exmore Diner Virginia

The inside of the Exmore Diner has a few booths and a full-length bar. When we arrived, the only seating was the bar. I haven’t sat at the bar in a while, so we decided to. Good thing we did because no tables opened up while we were there.

Exmore Diner Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, and the waitresses refilled it often. While they didn’t have whipped cream, it was good coffee.

Exmore Diner Virginia coffee

Exmore Diner Food: A
The Exmore Diner menu has has 20 different breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. You won’t find healthy options but you will find the standard diner fare from eggs, to pancakes, to sandwiches and fried lunch options.  It’s a small-town diner with a small menu. If you’re looking for a diner with a big menu or healthy options, there are very few.

Exmore Diner Virginia omelet

I decided to order the Western Omelet. It came stuffed with cheese, ham, and onions. It came with toast, and I chose rye. The meal was delicious.

Service: A
The Exmore Diner was busy the entire time we were there. There weren’t open tables at all. The waitresses all kept it moving, and our food came out fast.

Price: $
For my omelet and coffee, it was $9.

Overall Thoughts/Summary of the Exmore Diner:
I liked the Exmore Diner, and it’s a great small-town diner. I’ll be back.  If you are ever on the Eastern Shore of VA and looking for a place to stop, the Exmore Diner is a good one.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $5-10
Overall: A

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite omelet?
What’s the smallest restaurant you’ve been to?

A Recap of 250 NJ Diners

A Recap of 250 NJ Diners

Since starting my NJ Diner quest, I’ve been to just over 250+ diners in New Jersey and about 50 diners in other parts of the world.  There are approximately 600 diners in NJ, but that changes from month to month.  I’ve been to at least ten that have since closed!

You can see reviews here or use the link at the top of the blog.

How did it start? Why do I go to diners?

I get this question a lot. 

My husband and I moved to New Jersey in October 2013.  Before moving to NJ, we didn’t know much about the state.  I had no ties to NJ. Like most people, I assumed it was just a densely populated state with a lot of traffic.

That’s just one misconception of the state. NJ is the most densely populated, but it also has hundreds of small towns, each having its own personality.  New Jersey is known as “the garden state,” and there are miles of fields and gardens.

stairway to heaven nj

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. Plus I’ve seen so much of New Jersey!  I’ve traveled the majority of roads in NJ.

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 person who likes diners.  I don’t eat the same thing at every diner. I used to think that was a good way to review, but then got tired of that very quickly.

Here are a Few Highlights and Lowlights:

First some of my favorite meals:

Favorite Diner Drink: Coffee, although some diners do have their liquor license
Favorite Breakfast: Omelets or steak and eggs
Favorite Omelet: Nova lox (smoked salmon)
Favorite Appetizer: Appetizers with a greek flair with hummus, pita bread, grape leaves. Many have a Greek flair to begin with.
Favorite Lunch: Gyro
Favorite Salad: Greek salad
Favorite Dinner: Pork chops, salmon, steak, (whatever I’m in the mood for)
The most unusual thing I’ve ordered at a diner: Octopus
Favorite Dessert: Cake followed by bread pudding

All-Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris

Mastoris isn’t a typical diner. It was one of the first 50 diners I went too and still one I frequent. It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake.   I think the food is excellent at Mastoris. However, I think the service is lackluster.  Is it the best overall? Due to service, maybe not but I like the food.

Mastoris Cake

But which cake to get?

Least Favorite Diner: The Ridge DinerLakehurst Diner, or Garden State Diner

Each diner was a letdown.

Diner review number 200, the Ridge Diner, had burnt crusty steak, poor service, and sitting on top of people.

The Lakehurst Diner outside of the Navy Base, Lakehurst, looked like a meal served right out of a deployment. Luckily, my company was good. Lakehurst Diner lakehurst nj

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 my meal.  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 a unique experience.

Here are a Few Diners that Stand Out to Me:

I guess many of my favorite diners are due to their cake.

Northwest:

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

Shore:

Mustache Bills: You can’t argue with mustache shaped pancakes

Mustache pancake

 

Central:

Tropicana: Most unique and Carribean themed!

Mastoris: Best all around

South:

Larrys 2: Great food, fast service

Larrys 2 vineland

Monarch Diner:

The Monarch Diner replaces PB Diner and it was a great replacement. The food is fresh and they have a lot of fun options like cauliflower bread.

monarch diner glassboro

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!Four Seasons Diner Toms River

Best Egg Breakfast: Amys Omelet House (Over 200 omelet choices!)

My nova lox and rye toast

Pauls Family Diner had great steak and eggs

Pauls family diner mountain lakes nj

Best Dinner Option:

The Pork Chops with NJ fresh Blueberries from Larrys 2

Larrys 2 vineland

Cheapest Diner: Angelos (around $5 for a meal)
Most Expensive: Alexis Diner or Vincentown (typically $20+ for a meal)
So cheers to 250 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? 

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