Ivy Stone Diner, Bar and Grill

The Ivy Stone Diner in Iselin has been on my to-do list for a while.  As most people know, I like seafood a lot.  Growing up in Virginia Beach, you’re never far from seafood.  The Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge, claims to have the “the best seafood” around.

I met my friend, Christine, for lunch.  We arrived around noon, and there were only two other parties in the restaurant.

Atmosphere: B
The Ivy Stone Diner is having a major identity crisis.  Is it a diner? A nightclub? A bar? It’s a very fancy restaurant with minimal features that make it a diner.  It’s nice, but the ritzy chandelier or moonlit bathroom sink hardly classify it as a diner.

Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge
The moonlit bathroom sink

Service: C
It was clear the server was extremely new.  He was nice and refilled our beverages when we asked.  For only two other parties in the restaurant, the food came out very slowly. I felt like I’ve been to many other diners, much more crowded that the food came out quickly.  It was borderline slow for a buddy restaurant let alone a diner with three parties.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good.  It was brought out hot and fresh.  We had plenty of refills as well.Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge

Food: C
The Ivy Stone Diner has a small menu.  It more resembles a bar than a diner.  There aren’t a lot if breakfast options.  Since they are well known for their seafood, I ordered salmon and a Greek salad.  I was shocked when I tasted the salmon.

It was apparently frozen and reheated. It wasn’t terrible but the hardly quality I would label as “the best.”  The Greek salad was good, and I enjoyed the dressing.Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge

Price: $$
For my salmon, salad, coffee the cost was $21.  It was more on the pricy side for the quality of food and size.

Summary/Would I come back?
The Ivy Stone Diner is interesting and not the usual “diner.”  It’s not a bad stop, just a very ok restaurant.

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

Overall: C
Questions for you:
Do you like seafood?
Is your area known for anything?

Route 130 Diner

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Eric and I visited the Route 130 Diner in Delran.  Eric is a fast local runner who is a good friend.  We originally met through work, and he trains with some of my faster coworkers.

I’m always skeptical of diners that are within 20 minutes of my house that I haven’t been too.  At this point, I’ve been to most, if not all of the diners that have been recommended by friends.  I’ve steered clear of local diners that people have told me are not great.  I hadn’t heard much about the Route 130 Diner in Delran, so I didn’t know what to expect.

We arrived around 6 pm on a Friday, and it was packed.  It was one of the few diners that we even had to wait for a table.

Atmosphere: B
The Route 130 Diner layout reminds me of an Old Golden Corral.  It uses wooden side paneling as well as similar booths.  There is a bar and bakery case.  The bakery case caught my eye.

There are actually two entry doors to the restaurant, and it’s extremely confusing.  People come and go from both sides and then you don’t know where the line to be seated starts or ends.

Service: B
We waited for about 5 minutes for our waitress to acknowledge us but once she did, she brought over drinks and took our food.  I felt as though as I was always asking her for refills, but she was friendly.

Coffee: A
The coffee at the Route 130 Diner was great.  The waitress added lots of whipped cream (let’s be honest more whipped cream always wins).  Plus it was hot.  I have no complaints and it one of the better diner coffees I’ve had.

Route 130 diner Delran

Food: A
The menu for the Route 130 Diner isn’t posted online anywhere, so I had no idea what to expect.  They do have everything from breakfast to lunch to dinner.  I saw a table order a salad next to me and decided to go with the same one.

Route 130 diner Delran

Their house salad resembled a Greek Salad with a lot of cheese.  There was an entire layer of cheese, but I didn’t mind.  I think all entree salads should come with meat, cheese, and bread.  If not I will probably order some.

I ordered salmon, and it was extremely fresh.  I was pleasantly surprised with how large the portion was as well as the quality of the food.  Honestly, it was one of the best salad I’ve had at a restaurant in a while.

Dessert: C
I decided to order the German Chocolate Cake to take home.  The frosting of the cake was good. However, it tasted as if the cake had been sitting for quite some time.  The pieces of layer cake were hard and somewhat crusty.  It wasn’t the worst cake I’ve had but not the best either.  If I came back, I probably wouldn’t have ordered the cake.

Cost: $
For my coffee, salad, and cake the cost was $22.  That’s not too bad for the amount of food as well as the quality of the entree.

Summary/Would I come back?
I was pleasantly surprised with the Route 130 Diner in Delran.  It’s a great stop if you are heading North from Philadelphia or around the area.  It’s one of the better diners I’ve been too locally.

Closeby Diners: Jersey Diner, Golden Dawn Diner, and Dolphin Diner

Summary:
Atmosphere: C
Coffee: A
Service: B
Food: A
Dessert: C
Cost: $12-20
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Have you ever ordered something because you saw another table order it?
When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised at a restaurant? 

The Continental (Philadelphia)

Recently I went to the Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar in Philadelphia.

While it’s always 5 pm somewhere, it was a little early for a martini.  I’ve heard the restaurant and diner is delicious and in fact, it was ranked as having the biggest and best salads in Philadelphia.  So why not?

Atmosphere: A 
The Continental is a lot bigger than anticipated.  When looking inward, it looks like a 10 table restaurant.  However, when you get into the restaurant, you realize there are 3-4 rooms and two full bars.  It was surprising!  I love the inside, and it’s very classic diner.

The Continental Philadelphia

Service: B
The waitress was nice and made helpful recommendations.  She refilled our drinks when we asked.  It was strange because 3/4 of the meals came out at the same time, but my husband’s food came out 10 minutes later.  It would have been better if they had waited for all four meals.

Coffee: D
Sadly, this was some of the worst coffee I’ve had at a restaurant or diner.  The coffee was luke warm at best.  Honestly, I didn’t want a refill because it wasn’t great.

The Continental Philadelphia

Food: A
The menu at the Continental is small, but they focus on fancier food dishes.  As I mentioned, they are well known for their salads, so I decided to order the Continental salad which contained chicken.  The salad was one of the biggest portioned salads I’ve had, and all of the ingredients were fresh.

The Continental Philadelphia salad

I also ordered the octopus since I like octopus.  The octopus was cooked in olive oil and came with pita bread.  Octopus and pita bread…I couldn’t ask for a better combination.

The Continental Philadelphia

Cost: $$$

For my salad, octopus and coffee the cost was $33.  It’s pricer, but the food was fresh and worth it.

Overall summary/would I come back? 

I really enjoyed the Continental, and I’ll be back.  Next time I’ll skip the coffee but other than that, it’s a great diner/restaurant.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: D
Service: B
Food: A
Price: $20-30
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to a martini bar? 
Do you like octopus? 

Springfield Diner

Springfield Diner 

A few weeks ago after coming back from a race, I decided to go to the Springfield Diner.  I could have chosen a New Jersey diner. However, I heard the Springfield Diner was good, and so I decided to go.  Since I live within 15 minutes of PA, there are several PA diners closeby too.  I don’t want to get too predictable and switched states up.

Of course on a Saturday for brunch, everywhere is busy.  There were only a few spots left in the huge parking lot, and I worried it would be a long wait. Luckily it was only 15 minutes.

Atmosphere: A 

The Springfield diner was a busy place.  It was a loud and bustling restaurant.

Springfield Diner

The outside decor is a huge shiny and metallic building.  It’s a very stereotypical diner.  The inside consists of mostly booths and a bar.  It looked like there were a few tables in the back too.

Coffee: A 

The coffee was hot and refilled several times.  There was plenty of whipped cream.  I have no complaints.

Springfield Diner

Service: A 

The waitress was extremely attentive and friendly.  She refilled our coffee, brought refills and made sure we’re doing okay. Although every table in the restaurant was filled, our food was brought out in 10 minutes.  10 minutes!  It was impressive.   So we waited 15 minutes to get seated, 10 for our food and left within 50 minutes.  All of this when the diner was jam packed.  Efficiency is an understatement there!

Food: B 

The Springfield Diner had all of the classic diner options and more.  They had a lot of seafood options that made me want to come back for dinner.

I decided to order the red velvet pancakes.  It came with strawberries and bananas topped with cream cheese, whipped cream and chocolate chips.  The pancakes themselves were just plain.  Don’t get me wrong; they were good pancakes, but they definitely weren’t red velvet.  It was just plain pancakes with chocolate chips on top.  Most people know red velvet is my favorite dessert, so I was disappointed.  The pancakes were good, just not what I was expecting.  To be honest, I thought they had accidently messed up my order but that that their take on red velvet.

Springfield Diner

Cost:$$

For the coffee and pancakes, the cost was $13.  Not bad and I left filled me on a sugar high.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 

I enjoyed the Springfield Diner and would definitely go back.  The food was good, just not what I was expecting. I would love to go back and try dinner.  It was one of the most efficient diners I’ve ever been too.  I can’t imagine what they are like at a slower hour!

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

Overall: B

Despite the food being good, it was not exactly red velvet so I feel as though I have to give it a B.  I’ll definitely be back and I would be interested to try their dinner and dessert options.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite dessert?  Do you like red velvet?

Do you like pancakes? 

Fountainbleau Diner

Fountainbleau Diner
Last week, the owner of New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and I met up at the Fountainbleau Diner in Piscataway Township, NJ. It was one that neither of us had been too, so it made sense.  She is also going to every diner in New Jersey, but been to quite a few more.  We got to the FountainBleau Diner on a weekday for lunch and it was moderately busy but not overwhelming.

We got to the FountainBleau Diner on a weekday for lunch and it was moderately busy but not overwhelming.

Atmosphere: A
The diner itself has a cobblestone exterior and the interior is old school with plenty of mirrors.  There were a lot of mirors and it made the space appear bigger.  It felt like the “What Not to Wear 360 Mirror” but it was cool.

It was clean and nice.

Fountainbleau diner

Service: A
The waitress was friendly and funny.  Any waitress that cracks a few jokes is a winner in my books.  You can’t beat that and she brought plenty of refills.  Our food came out quickly and I have no complaints.

Coffee: B
There was nothing unusual or unique about it but it wasn’t bad either.  I haven’t had any amazing coffee lately but I haven’t had bad coffee either. I enjoyed the coffee and there was a good amount of whipped cream.

Fountainbleau diner

Food: A
The Fountainbleau diner has several options but it’s not overwhelming.  The diner actually has a smaller menu with “only” 4 pages.  I’ve been to some diners with 10-15 filled pages.

What is overwhelming is the amount of lunch specials they have for $8.51.  It took me a few minutes to decide what I wanted.  I decided to go for the Chicken Souvlaki.  I had ordered it a few weeks Sage Diner and I liked it.  It might be one of my new favorite lunch staples.

The special came with soup and I decided to order a salad instead of fries.  Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups and it was thick and full of lentils.  It had huge chunks of celery and I liked it.

Fountainbleau diner

The chicken Souvlaki was much different than the previous diner.  It was stuffed with tzatziki sauce, lettuce, grilled chicken and onions. It wasn’t too greasy and I enjoyed it.  While I forgot to

While I forgot to photo of the salad, it was a typical side salad.  There was nothing unusual.  Next time I think I’ll just order a greek salad too.  Even ordering a full Greek salad, two meals would be cheaper than a single meal at several other diners.

Fountainbleau diner

Cost: $
This was one of my cheapest meals to date.  For my entire meal including the coffee and side salad upgrade, it was $10.

Overall/Would I come back?
I really enjoyed the Fountainbleau diner. The food as very inexpensive as well as large portions. I would go back.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Service: A
Food: A
Price: $7-10
Overall: B

Questions for you:
What’s the cheapest meal you’ve had?
What is your favorite soup? 

Gotham City Diner

On the way back from hiking, we decided to stop at a North Jersey diner.  I heard the Gotham City Diner was good, and I wanted to see for myself.  Plus after long hikes, normally most things taste good.

Gotham City Diner

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere of the Gotham City Diner is unique.  I always appreciate a diner that has a theme and concentrates on it.  The Gotham City Diner does just that. Everything focuses on the Gotham City (I.E. New York City).  They have several subway signs, street signs and memorabilia and paintings.  It’s one of the best-themed diners I’ve been too!

Gotham City Diner

Coffee: B
The coffee was good, but there was nothing unique or unusual about it.  The waitress did add plenty of whipped cream. Gotham City Diner

Service: C
The waitress was friendly. However, she seemed to forget about our table.  She only came back a couple of times and I could have used more drink refills as well as napkin (ribs are messy😉.  She came back four times: to take our order, bring out our food and bring dessert and the check.  I could have used a few more drink refills.

Food: A
The Gotham City Diner has plenty of options as well as several unique diner options.  They have a custom salad menu where you can make your own salad as well as a gelato bar.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a diner with either.

Gotham City Diner

After the hike, I was craving red meat.  I don’t think I’ve ever ordered ribs at a diner before so I decided to go for it. The ribs were tender, and they fell off the bone.  They tasted great. The shoestrings fries were good as well and rib juice soaked right into them.

Dessert: A
After my hike, I had to order dessert.  Plus how many restaurants, especially diners, have a gelato bar? Gotham City Diner

 

I ordered the red velvet cake as well as the Cherry Garcia ice cream.  The red velvet cake tasted good. It wasn’t the best but plus was plenty of frosting.  If you know me, you know I love my cake frosting.

Gotham City Diner

The Cherry Garcia gelato was homemade, and I enjoyed it a lot.  It was my favorite diner ice cream to date, and I would highly recommend it.  If you go to the Gotham City Diner, you have to save room for their gelato.

Gotham City Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee, ribs, and dessert the cost was $30. That isn’t bad, considering most ribs at other restaurants are $20+.

Overall: B
I enjoyed the Gotham City Diner, but I do wish the service was a little better. Other than that, I enjoyed the food and the cake!

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

Questions for you:
Have you tried gelato before?
Do you like ribs?
I have to be craving them but I like ribs.

Time to Eat Diner

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and I met at the Time to Eat Diner.  The Time to Eat Diner has been on my to-do list for a while.  I’ve heard it’s good plus who can argue with that name?  Out of all of the names, “Time to Eat” is in the top.

When in doubt, I will close my eyes. But don't worry, Chelsea looks great
When in doubt, I will close my eyes. But don’t worry, Caitlin looks great

Atmosphere: A
The Time to Eat Diner is located in Bridgewater, NJ after a semi-confusing roundabout.  It’s modern, clean and has been plenty of parking.

The inside is spacious with plenty of seating. You walk in next to a large bakery case. It’s clean as well which surprisingly has been an issue lately.  We were lucky to sit in a booth towards the front.

Coffee: A 
The coffee was great and had plenty of whipped cream.  The only thing missing was more coffee.

Time to Eat Diner

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, and the food was brought out quickly.  It might have been the fastest I’ve ever received food.

Food: B
It was exceptionally hot that day, and I was craving something cold.  I had only run half an hour but I sweat so much, and I didn’t want any hot food.  I ordered a Mediterranean salad.

Originally I wanted salmon, but they informed me they couldn’t do that, and so I stuck with the chicken.  When the salad came out, I was confused about whether it was chicken or salmon.  Both Caitlin and I stared at the chicken trying to figure it out: was it chicken?  Was it fish?

It was the fishiest looking chicken I’ve ever seen.  That being said the salad was filling, and there was plenty of chicken. When I ate it, it tasted normal, and I have no complaints.  I wish there were more mixed greens, but the salad was good.

Time to Eat Diner

Cost: $$
For my salad and coffee, the cost was $15. It was more expensive for the amount of food, but it was a good meal.

Summary/Would I come back?

I liked the Time to Eat Diner.  The meal was good, and there were plenty options.  It wasn’t the best diner, but it wasn’t the worst either.  It as odd they couldn’t add salmon, but that’s how it goes.

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

Overall: A

Question for you: What’s the restaurant with the coolest name you’ve been too?