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? 

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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?

Coach House Diner (North Bergen)

Recently I was at the Coach House Diner and Restaurant in North Bergen.  Before leaving, I googled diners closeby, and the Coach House was only three miles away.  I was driving around I arrived around 4 pm, and it took me over 20 minutes to drive 3 miles!  I should have run.
The Coach House Diner and Restaurant North Bergen
Atmosphere: A 
The Coach House plays the theme of a Coach House well.  The outside looks like an old Coach House in the metro of North Bergen.  It definitely sticks out.

The inside is dimly lit with stained glass windows.  It’s large, and there are plenty of windows.  It’s always good to the diner that went with it’s theme.

Service: C
The service at the Coach House was extremely slow.  When I arrived, there were no more than 5 parties in the entire restaurant, but I still waited 5 minutes to be seated.  The server came over a few times, but the food took a lot longer to come out than it should have.

Coffee: C
The coffee was okay. It was boring but at least it was warm, and there were no coffee beans inside.  It was nothing unique or special to write about.

The Coach House Diner and Restaurant North Bergen coffee

Food: B
The Coach House Diner has a lot more dinner and pub fare than actual diner fare.  While you can get breakfast all day, the Coach House focuses more on dinner options such as steak, seafood, and burgers.

I ordered the Coach House Grilled Salad as an appetizer.  When it came out, I was surprised to find no actual greens for the “salad.” It was a few ingredients separated on a plate.  There was chicken, grilled zucchini, mushrooms, and broccoli.  On the uncooked side, there were onions, tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives.

The Coach House Diner and Restaurant North Bergen Salad

There were far too many uncooked onions that most of them were left uneaten.  It was an odd combination of either everything needed to be cooked or a raw salad.  I enjoyed the grilled vegetables much more.  It lacked bread which could have made it ten times better.   The appetizer wasn’t bad but could have used a few upgrades.

For my entree, I ordered the guacamole burger.  It felt as if they dumped packaged guacamole onto a burger, added a few toppings and called it a day.  It wasn’t a bad burger, but it felt as though they didn’t try at all.  The French fries were good but nothing usual.  My actual entree was underwhelming.

The Coach House Diner and Restaurant North Bergen

Cost: $$
For the appetizer, coffee, and burger the cost was $24.  It wasn’t a bad price considering the appetizer was essentially another meal.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 
The Coach House wasn’t a bad stop. My meal was fine, but there are other diners around I prefer.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Tenafly Diner, Brownstone Diner (one of my favorites)

Questions for you:
Do you like onions? 
Where is the best guacamole you’ve had? 

Woodstown Diner

A few weeks ago I found myself in Woodstown, NJ.  I had driven by the Woodstown Diner a few times and heard it was good.  Since it was around lunchtime, I wanted to stop.

Atmosphere: B
The outside of the Woodstown Diner is a normal but lengthy building.  It looks like a regular restaurant versus a metallic, shiny diner.  I was shocked to see how long the Woodstown Diner is.  From the road, it looks like it might seat 50 people but once you pull into the parking lot, you realize it can probably sit close to 200!

Woodstown Diner
With a possible apartment on top?

The inside of the diner itself has several rooms including a bar and banquet hall.  It was definitely surprising.  Many people don’t realize this, but liquor laws in New Jersey are strict, and it’s rare to find a diner in South Jersey that serves alcohol.  In fact, New Jersey is one of the few states with dry towns that don’t serve alcohol at all.

Even though it wasn’t crowded, we were sat in the second room next to the dirty dish cart.  Out of all the tables, I wasn’t sure why the manager sat me there.   It was loud, and our meal was constantly interrupted by staff bussing tables and clinking of dishes.

Service: B
The manager seemed to be having a difficult day when he sat us.  He threw the menus on the table and walked away.  The waitress of the Woodstown Diner was friendly, and I have no complaints.  She refilled our beverages often, and the food was brought out fairly quick.  

Coffee: B
Even though the coffee mug was small, the coffee itself was good.  The Woodstown Diner uses the local Lacas coffee which as many readers know is my favorite! Woodstown Diner

Food: B
The menu at the Woodstown Diner is that of a typical diner.  They have everything from eggs to lunch and plenty of specials. Everything about the menu is traditional, and there wasn’t anything that grabbed my eye as being unique or extraordinary. I decided to order a gyro wrap with French fries.  A classic diner favorite but not something I’ve ordered in a while!

The gyro itself was huge. It was packed well with plenty of lettuce, gyro meat, onions, and tomato.  It was packaged well and one of the least messy gyro wraps I’ve had.  It came with steak fries which weren’t bad. Woodstown Diner

Cost: $
For my gyro and coffee, the cost was $10.  One of my cheaper diner meals.

Overall summary/Would I come back? 
I enjoyed the Woodstown Diner, and it was definitely a hidden gem in Southern New Jersey.  While the manager was somewhat rude, our service, in general, was decent and I would go back.

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

Close by Diners I’ve been too: Swedesboro Diner, Deepwater Diner, Hollywood Cafe

Questions for you:
What’s the best coffee you’ve had recently?
Where was the last place you ate? 

John’s City Diner (Birmingham, Al)

First, did you know it’s International Waffle Day?  It’s the perfect day to celebrate at a diner…

When I relocated to Alabama, I knew I had to go John’s City Diner. It has been consistently named one of Alabamas best diners. Making the time to get to the diner is tough.

For a diner, it has odd hours including not being open on Sundays and only open for dinner on Saturdays.  So yes, John’s City Diner is not open for breakfast on weekends.  Due to my schedule, I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to make it there at all.

Johns City Diner is located right in downtown Birmingham.  Since it’s in the downtown, it’s located in a row of buildings and not the usual stand-alone diner you see.

Johns City Diner Birmingham

Atmosphere: B
The outside has a big sign that says, Johns. There isn’t a lot from the outside that screams diner. In fact, it’s easy to miss the restaurant unless you’re looking for it.  I ran by it twice during the Drum Run and had no idea.

The inside is painted to match a diner atmosphere. There are several booths and tables. There is an awkward bar in the corner, but it doesn’t appear to be used much.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed fresh, and the whipped cream was homemade. It was one of the better diner coffee I’ve had recently.Johns City Diner Birmingham

Service: C
The waitress seemed preoccupied or as if she was having a bad day. Even though we got there at opening (5 pm), it took a while for our table to receive food and drinks.

Food: B
The menu at Johns City Diner is limited. There is a single page of food, and they are well known for their mac and cheese as well as chicken and waffles. I had been very excited to try their chicken and waffles, but when we went, they were out of chicken. To be honest, I was disappointed but what can you do.

For an appetizer, we ordered the fancy bacon which was bacon with grits. It was a small portion, but the bacon and grits were delicious.  It was rich and while small, quite filling.  It was some of the best grits I’ve had!

Johns City Diner Birmingham

Because they were out of chicken and waffles, I ordered the pork chops. I was pleasantly surprised because it was a huge portion of pork chops. I was expecting a smaller size. The pork chops were delicious and cooked perfectly. It also came with a large portion of sweet potatoes and garlic spinach. I enjoyed both. Johns City Diner Birmingham

I was disappointed Johns City Diner was out of their signature menu item, but the food was still good.  I was able to go again right before we left and ordered the chicken and waffles.  It was by far the best chicken and waffles I’ve had to date.  The chicken portion was actually bigger than the waffle! Johns City Diner Birmingham

Dessert: A
We ordered the white chocolate bread pudding which was perfect. I have no complaints.  I prefer bread pudding that is actually a peice of bread so this fit the bill. Johns City Diner Birmingham

Cost: $$
For my coffee, the appetizer, entree, and dessert the cost was $40. It was pricey for a diner, but I’m not sure I would classify Johns City Diner as a diner.

Overall thoughts/ Summary:
I liked Johns City Diner, but I was extremely disappointed they were out of the chicken and waffles.  If I’m in the area, I would like to come back, but with their limited weekend hours, I don’t know if that’s possible.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Service: C
Food: B
Dessert: A
Cost: $20+
Overall: B

Similar Diners: Vincentown, Mastoris

Questions for you:
Were is the best place you’ve had chicken and waffles? 
Has a restaurant ever been out of something you were excited to order?

Marietta Diner

While visiting Atlanta, I wanted to check out a new diner.  It’s for the blog right?When asking for recommendations, the Marietta Diner kept popping up, so I decided to check it out.  After running the

When asking for recommendations, the Marietta Diner kept popping up, so I decided to check it out.  After running the Polar Bear 5k, I arrived around 11 am.  Every parking space was filled, and I thought it might be a long wait because there were several parties waiting outside. Luckily, they had a small booth for two, and we were immediately sat.

Atmosphere: A
The Marietta Diner has the stereotypical shiny and metallic exterior.  It’s all chrome.  The inside is massive, and it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve ever been too.  It is clean, and despite being busy, no one was sitting on top of each other.

Service: A
The waitress was kind.  She refilled our drinks, and our food was brought out quickly.  Even though it was so busy, we were in and out of the Marietta Diner within an hour.  The speed was impressive!

Coffee: B
Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia The coffee was good, but there was nothing unique about it.  I could have used a larger cup.  Luckily there was plenty of whipped cream.

Food: B
The Marietta Diner has every option you can imagine in a diner.  It would fit right in in New Jersey.  Someone mentioned their Greek food was good so I decided to order a Greek omelet.  I was surprised the Greek Omelet didn’t come with Gyro, so I added that too.

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

The omelet came with hash browns and a biscuit.  The biscuit was delicious.  There was nothing unique about the hashbrowns.  The Omelet itself was good except I found they didn’t add a lot of Gyro meat.  I thought they had forgotten it at first! The food was good but I do wish there was more gyro meat in the omelet.

Dessert: A
The dessert case looked like one of the best dessert cases of any diner. I’m not usually a person who orders dessert at lunch, but I could not pass up their red velvet roll.  There was a lot of frosting and the cake was moist.  The red velvet roll was great, and despite leaving stuffed, I was glad I ordered it.

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

Marietta Diner Atlanta Georgia

Cost: $$
For my coffee, omelet (with Gyro) and red velvet roll it was $29. They charged $5 for the limited amount of Gyro meat I received which was not worth it.

Overall/Would I come back?
I liked the Marietta Diner, but their menu is overpriced.  When I go back to Atlanta, I might go somewhere else. To pay nearly $20 for an omelet is worth it to me personally.  I would stop in for cake.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: B
Food: B
Dessert: A
Cost:$15-20
Overall: B

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of Omelet?
What’s your favorite post-race treat?