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Franklin Park Diner (Kendall Park)

Franklin Park Diner (Kendall Park)

Recently I went to the Franklin Park Diner in Kendall Park, NJ.  I’ve wanted to go for a few months now, but it never works out.  When I found myself in central Jersey a few weeks ago, it seemed like the perfect time.

Franklin park diner kendall park nj

Atmosphere: B
The Franklin Park Diner is small but cute.  It has an exterior sign marked: diner.  The inside is open, and you can see the entire kitchen from the booths and tables.  There aren’t many diners like that anymore, so I appreciate it!

Franklin park diner kendall park nj

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh each time, and I have no complaints.

Franklin park diner kendall park nj

Food: A
The Franklin Park Diner has most anything you could picture in a diner.  There are plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.  There were several dinner specials, but nothing spoke to me.   I decided to order a simple beef gyro.  It came with french fries, and a small side greek salad.  I liked the beef gyro, and I have no complaints.

Franklin park diner kendall park nj

Service: A

The waitress was very attentive, funny, and friendly.  My food also came out in a blink of an eye.  I couldn’t have asked for better dinner service.

Price:
For my gyro and coffee, the cost was $10 which is hard to beat.

Overall thoughts/Would I Come Back?
I liked the Franklin Park Diner and would definitely come back.  I enjoyed how open the entire diner is and the ability to watch your food being made.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: A
Price: $8-12
Overall: A

You can see all 182 Diner Reviews here.

Questions for you: Have you ever been to a restaurant you can watch the food being made?

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Talk of the Towne Diner

Talk of the Towne Diner

After the Adrenaline 5k, I headed down to Virginia.  I knew I needed to get food for the drive and took it as the perfect chance to further my dinering.

I found a diner in Salem County, the “Talk of the Towne Diner.”  When I stopped around lunchtime on a Saturday, it wasn’t too crowded, and I was quickly seated.  Since I had just raced, I was hungry.

talk of the towne diner new jersey

Atmosphere: B
The Talk of the Towne looks like many South Jersey Diners with a cobblestone exterior and multiple rooms. Inside there are plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

There was also a full salad bar as well as a “hot foods breakfast bar” which looked like it might be for a catering event or party.

talk of the towne diner new jersey

Coffee: A
The Talk of the Towne Diner served the local Lacas coffee which is one of my favorite coffees.  The waitress brought plenty of refills, and I had no complaints.  It was one of the better coffees I have had in a while.

talk of the towne diner salem county

Food: A
The Talke of the Town has everything a diner usually has.  There are plenty of breakfast options, as well as a full salad bar, lunch, and dinner options.  There aren’t too many unique options at the Talk of the Town Diner, but there also isn’t anything it’s missing either.

talk of the towne diner salem county

I opted for one of their skillets which came with eggs, potatoes, sausage, and vegetables.  When the skillet came out, it was sizzling and hot, it actually reminded me of something I would get a Mexican restaurant.

talk of the towne diner salem county

I also decided to get a cinnamon bun which was great.

The Talk of the Towne was definitely one of the most surprising diners, food wise.  It was much better than I anticipated and I was very pleased.

Service: A
The waitress was extremely friendly, and the food came out within 15 minutes.  To be honest, I could not have asked for a more pleasant experience.

Cost:
For more meal, cinnamon bun, and coffee, the cost was $20.

Overall thoughts/would I come back:
I liked the Talk of the Towne Diner and would go back again.  It’s a great stop if you are near the Delaware Memorial Bridge and need a quick bite to eat or break from the roads.

 
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $8-12
Overall: A

See all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite post-race food?
Do you like cinnamon buns? Where is your favorite?

Westampton Family Diner

Westampton Family Diner

I was back in Burlington County and was able to cross another diner off my checklist.  Longer time readers might know, but I used to live in Burlington.  Then we decided to move east towards Philadelphia.  The Westampton Family Diner was one of the last diners to cross off my Burlington Diner “list”…for now.

Atmosphere:  A
I wasn’t the diner to be so big.  It was a big restaurant building with plenty of booths, a full-length bar, and a dessert case.  For some reason, I had pictured it to be much smaller.westampton family diner mount holly nj

Coffee: B
The waitress brewed hot coffee, and it was good.  There was nothing unusual or unique about it, but it tasted good.

Westampton Family diner nj

Food: A
The Westampton Diner has a lot of choices, and the menu is massive.  To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to have that many choices, and I had no idea what I wanted.  I’ve been back a couple of times since and my favorite was the steak and eggs.  My brother had ordered it the first time we went, and it looked good, so I decided to give it a shot the second time, and I’m happy I did.

Westampton Family diner nj

The portion size is huge.  The steak itself is roughly a pound, and with the over-easy eggs, it’s definitely a lot.  It also came with hashbrown and toast. I had run about 10 miles in the morning and was still full.

Service: A
Both times I’ve been, the service at the Westampton Diner was fast.  The waitress refilled our drinks quickly, and the food came out quickly.  On top of that, the waitress was extremely friendly always had a story to tell us when she returned to our table.

Cost: $
For the steak and eggs, and coffee, the cost was $15.  The portion size was massive.

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?
I liked the Westampton Diner, and I’ll be back again.  It’s a fast, inexpensive diner.  It’s one of my favorite in that area!

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $7-13
Overall: B

Nearby Diners I’ve been: Vincentown, Route 38, and Pandora

You can see all 168 diners here.

Questions for you:
Have you moved recently?
How do you like your eggs cooked?

Park Wayne Diner (Wayne)

Park Wayne Diner (Wayne)

A few weeks ago, I was up north and decided to go to the Park Wayne Diner.  This isn’t to be confused with the Wayne Hills Diner which I went to last year.  Funny enough, this is the only diner in that area (including a personal favorite: Pompton Queen), that we didn’t fly too.  It was weird to drive through because it felt like such a long flight.

Atmosphere: A
You couldn’t ask for a more stereotypical New Jersey Diner.  It has a big, metallic, shiny exterior and the interior is filled with multiple red tables and booths.  Out of the diners I’ve been too, this definitely has one of the most stereotypical diner atmospheres.Park Wayne Diner

Service: B
For a weekend morning, it wasn’t as busy as I had anticipated.  That was okay by me!  The waitress didn’t bring us a lot of refills, and it felt as though they might be understaffed for the day.  She was friendly and gave us several recommendations which I can always appreciate.  It wasn’t bad service, but they needed more servers.

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot every time, but it was nothing to write home about.  The cups were also a bit smaller than I wanted.  It wasn’t bad but it didn’t stand out either. Park Wayne Diner

Food: B
The menu at the Park Wayne Diner is huge.  They have a dozen pages. Since they are open 24-7, they serve anything anytime.  Those are my favorite types of diners, but it’s not as common as it used to be.  Believe it or not, 24-7 diners are becoming harder to find.

I decided to order the arugula, spinach, and cheese omelet with a side of grits.  It was one of the biggest omelets I’ve ever had, plus it was stuffed filled to the brim. Park Wayne Diner

The grits, however, were boring and bland.  Since it’s rare to find grits in the Northeast, I was hoping they would be more interesting, but they tasted like they came from a box.  Yes, I realize that I’m not in the South but there are plenty of restaurants that serve excellent foreign cuisine, and I don’t live there either.

Cost: $
For the omelet, grits, and coffee the cost was $12 which wasn’t expensive for the portion size.

Overall thoughts:
You won’t find a more stereotypical NJ Diner then the Park Wayne Diner.  Overall, I enjoyed my experience there and will definitely be back next time we go hiking up that route.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve reviewed:

Pompton Queen  (one of my top 5 favorite NJ diners!) and Wayne Hills
Also relevant: Flying to Pompton Plains

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite type of omelet?
Where can I find southern style grits in NJ or Philadelphia?

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

When asking around, I heard Ellen’s Stardust Diner was a must stop in New York City.  It’s located on Broadway, and the waiters and waitresses take turns singing during the entire day.

So instead of background music, you have a show the whole time.  It’s more of an experience versus high-quality diner food.

Atmosphere: B 
Ellen’s Stardust Diner is everything you would want in a diner.  The outside is a large, shiny metallic building while the inside has multiple booths and tables. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

While New York is extremely crowded, the diner sits you very close to people.  If you are claustrophobic, it’s probably not the diner for you.  It’s so close, the waitress must physically pull the table out so you can sit down without putting your butt on someone else’s table.  Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Service: B
The service at Ellen’s Stardust Diner is interesting.  All of the servers sing and perform throughout their shift.

You might have to wait a few minutes as a server is performing.  All of the servers were extremely talented, and there was never a dull moment.  Many leave and go on to sing at Broadway.

As far as service goes, it’s hard because you know the waiters are busy performing but that also leaves large gaps of time that you might want a refill or are waiting for your food.  Our waiter was actually on break when we arrived, and he didn’t take our orders for at least 15 minutes.

Coffee: B

The coffee is good.  There isn’t anything unique about it, but it’s not bad coffee either.  I do wish we had more refills, but the staff was busy performing.  There was plenty of whipped cream though. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Food: B
Ellen’s Stardust Diner has many breakfast options as well several dinner options.  They don’t serve everything all day, so if you are looking for breakfast, it’s important you go at the appropriate time.

We went to lunch, and I decided to order a turkey wrap.  The wrap itself was great and had a lot of turkey.  It was definitely filled up. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

The wrap also came with waffle fries which, to be honest were some of the best waffle fries I’ve had.  It was a solid diner meal. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Cost: $$$
For the wrap and coffee, the cost was $22, and that’s one of the cheapest options there!  It’s easy to spend upwards of $30 on a single meal.  At Ellen’s Stardust Diner, you’re also paying for a show, so it’s important to keep that in mind.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and it was a great and unique spot in NYC.  I would recommend it.  Just keep in mind it’s definitely more expensive, and you might wait over an hour to be seated.

Atmosphere: A
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $$$
Overall: B 
 

Questions for you: 
Have you ever seen a Broadway show? Have you ever been to a restaurant that includes a show? 

Crystal Lake Diner (Revisited)

Crystal Lake Diner (Revisited)

Many moons ago, the Crystal Lake Diner was one of the first diners I reviewed (Not to be confused with another favorite in Toms River: The New Crystal Diner).

When we originally went, were living in central Jersey at the time and taking a day trip to the Haddonfield area.  Oddly enough the following year, we ended up moving about a quarter of a mile from the Crystal Lake Diner.  We have since moved again but we aren’t the only ones who have gone through changes in the last few years.

We never went to the Crystal Lake Diner while living so close because shortly after we originally went, there was a massive fire which left it closed for about 2 years.

When they reopened several months ago, I knew eventually I had to go back.

Atmosphere: A
To be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot from the previous visit a few years ago.  Now, the interior is brand new.  It’s modern, clean and had plenty of space.  We were immediately greeted with a dessert case including red velvet cake.

Crystal Lake Diner Haddon Township

Image via NJ Pen

Coffee: A
The Crystal Lake Diner brewed Lacas coffee which is a personal favorite of mine.  It’s a local blend and it’s hard to mess it up.  The waitress brought plenty of refills with plenty of whipped cream.  I couldn’t ask for better coffee.

Service: A
The waitress was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  Even though it was a busy Saturday night, she was always attentive to our table.  She made sure we had plenty of refills the entire time.  She was also extremely friendly.

Food: B
I do remember the menu at the Crystal Lake Diner is similar to their previous menu.  It’s typical of a diner and they have several specials but nothing too unique.  If you’re looking for a stereotypical diner menu, the Crystal Lake Diner is ideal.

Our dinner came with a homemade bread basket which came with cinnamon rolls, cheesy bread and corn muffins.  Each were great but my favorite was the cheesy bread.

Crystal Lake Diner Haddon Township

I decided to order the lobster ravioli.  It came out in a nice marinara sauce.  The ravilis themselves had plenty of lobster stuffed in without being overpowering.  I would have preferred something else to come along side the ravilis or just more of them.  I was actually surprised the portion size was not bigger.

Crystal Lake Diner Haddon Township

Dessert: B 

The lobster ravioli came with a pudding dessert so I chose the bread pudding.  The waitress asked if I wanted whipped cream and how could I refuse?

The bread pudding with good and it was obvious they made it in house (and it didn’t just come from a tube).  It was one of the better bread puddings I had, especially for coming with the meal.

Crystal Lake Diner Haddon Township bread

Price: $
For my lobster ravioli and coffee the price was $15 which wasn’t bad for the amount of food I got.  Especially considering it came with dessert!

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I enjoyed the Crystal Lake Diner both times I’ve been.  I will definitely be back and it’s nice to see it reopen after the fire.  The service was by far one of the best I’ve had in awhile.

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

Closeby Diners: Metro Diner, Black horse Diner, Legacy Diner
 

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to a restaurant after it reopened? 
What is your favorite type of pudding? 

Cosmic Diner (NYC)

While in New York City, I wanted to try a new diner.  As luck would have if, we ended up at two.  The first we went too was the Cosmic Diner.  One great aspect about the diner is that it’s open 24-7.  Surprisingly, many diners are not!

Image via Cosmic Diner website.


cosmic diner NYC

Atmosphere: A
For a tiny diner, it has everything a diner needs.  There are plenty of booths, tables and a small bar located in the back.

Even though it was a small diner, you had space and weren’t sitting on top of anyone.

Coffee: A 
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh and I have no complaints.   cosmic diner NYC

Service: B
Despite not being terribly busy, our waitress wasn’t present too much.  It wasn’t the best service but she was never rude to us.  We could have definitely used more beverage refills.

Food: C 
The Cosmic Diner has all of the regular diner staples.  There is plenty of breakfast, lunch and dinner options but nothing unique or that sticks out.

I decided to stick with a tried and true diner staple: the gyro.  When it came I noticed, there was a huge mound of salad and minimal French fries.  Normally it’s quite the opposite. I asked for Greek dressing and the waitress said she had no idea was Greek dressing was.

The gyro itself was good.  There wasn’t anything too special about it.  The French fries were the same story.  I appreciated the amount of salad though.  cosmic diner NYC

Cost: $$
For my gyro and coffee, the cost was $18.  The value of the food was a turnoff. That is extremely pricey.  The value is not there.

Summary/Would I come back? 
It wasn’t a terrible stop but I probably won’t be back.  As mentioned, the value of the food was a turnoff. There are plenty of unique and fun restaurants close-by or cheaper restaurants with better quality food.  Was a bad meal?  No.  Was it a life changing, amazing meal?  No.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: C
Service: C
Price: $12-20
Overall: B 

Questions for you:
Do you like gyro?
New York City locals: what is your favorite diner?

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