Oregon Diner (Philadelphia)

Before leaving for Alabama, I found myself at the Oregon Diner in Philadelphia (How many states can reference in one line?).  I originally found it because there are huge signs for the Oregon Diner near the Walt Whitman Bridge.  Sometimes finding diners based on their signage can be a gamble but overall I enjoyed my trip to the Oregon Diner.

When we arrived, it was late.  Dinner around 8 pm is super late for me.  I wasn’t starving, but I knew if I didn’t eat I would wake around 2 am starving.

Atmosphere: A

The Oregon Diner is huge.  The outside has plenty of parking and could probably hold at least 200 people.

The inside has three rooms with plenty of booths and tables as well as a full bar.  Each room has its own personality.  We sat in a corner booth.

Service: A
Our waitress was hilarious and friendly.  It was clear she was a local favorite and had been working there for years. She was definitely in the top tier of waiters we’ve had.

Coffee: A
The Oregon Diner brewed hot and fresh local Lacas coffee.  The waitress also added more whipped cream than coffee.  It was the best combination.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

Food: A

The menu at the Oregon Diner is one of the biggest of any diner I’ve been too.  There are over 200 menu items and 20 pages.  Since I wasn’t too hungry, I ordered the pickled beets salad with salmon.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

The salad itself was a normal size, but the piece of salmon was huge.  I have not had a salad with salmon that is bigger than the salad itself.  It was one of the better salads I’ve had, and I was full afterward.  I have no complaints.

Cost: $
For the coffee and salad, the cost was $17.  For the amount of food, especially the amount of the salmon, it was a great deal. 

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?

I enjoyed the Oregon Diner and had a great experience.  Plus it’s closeby so I will definitely be back.  There are a bunch of menu items I want to try.  If you are ever in the local area, I would recommend it (and invite me too).

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

Overall: A
Questions for you:
Do you like beets?

Advertisements

Gus’s Diner

A few weeks ago, I decided to try Gus’s Diner in Manalapan.  There aren’t a lot of diners in Central Jersey, and Gus’s is one of the few I haven’t been too.  I arrived for dinner on a weekday, and it wasn’t too crowded.

Atmosphere: B 
Gus’s Diner is modern and clean.  The front door is confusing, and we walked around the entire building before actually figuring out how to get in the restaurant.  After walking over several pieces of construction board, we made it into the diner.

Gus's Diner

The inside is a lot bigger than I imagined.  There weren’t a lot of parties inside so we had plenty of space.

Gus's Diner

Coffee: C
The coffee was average. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. I don’t have much to say.  They did give whipped cream in a dish instead directly on top.  For some reason I always find this comical.

Gus's Diner coffee

Food: C
There is virtually any regular option you could want at a diner with an entire page of specials.  If you want a stereotypical diner menu, Gus’s Diner is it.  I ordered the hummus appetizer special which came with pita bread.  

Then I decided to order the broiled scallops special with a sweet potato and broccoli.  It also came with a salad and dessert.  In summary, it was a lot of food.

The hummus appetizer was boring.  I don’t know if it was the way it was plated, but the appetizer was unappetizing and boring.  It looked like they took a container of boxed hummus, placed it on a plate and put a few pieces of pita bread on it.  It was a waste of money. It wasn’t bad, but I would have rather tried something else.  It looked like they didn’t care or try.

Gus's Diner

The scallops were from a frozen container and heated back up.  They didn’t taste bad, but they were also boring.  Same with the broccoli and sweet potato.  I had to request butter for the sweet potato.  Since the scallops were dry, I added butter on those too.  Butter makes everything taste better. Gus's Diner

The special came with pudding, so I chose the bread pudding (my favorite noncake dessert).  It was drenched with honey, but it was good.  I enjoyed the crispy crust too.  Out of the entire meal, the bread pudding was my favorite, but nothing stuck out to me.  Was the food terrible?  No.  Was it edible?  Yes.  Would I seek out the diner based on food?  Probably not.

Gus's Diner

It wasn’t a bad meal but just boring.  It felt like I could have made something similar at home.

Price: $$
For the coffee, scallops, and the appetizer it was $29.  It was pricey, but next time I won’t order the appetizer.

Overall: C
I have a meh feeling about Gus’s.  It’s not a terrible diner, but it’s not a diner I would go out of my way to go too.  If you are looking for a stereotypical New Jersey Diner, Gus’s is it.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: C
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: C
Price: $8-20
Overall: C

Questions for you:
Do you ever order off of the specials menu? 

Kenilworth Diner

At the beginning of the month, Danielle, Amelia and I met at the Kenilworth Diner in Kenilworth, New Jersey.  I had read it was one of the better diners in the area so I had high expectations for it!

Atmosphere: D

While the diner looks big from the outside, it’s an awkward layout. We were sat in the corner booth next to the door.  We sat in a room with about 10 tables and it was cramped. Upon leaving and driving away, I noticed there was a whole second section with a bar.  I would have preferred not to sit next to the door when it was 30 degrees out and there were dozens of other booths available.

Coffee: A
The coffee was Lacas brewed from the local Lacas in Pennsauken. It was hot, fresh and delicious. As I’ve mentioned before, Lacas is local and I always enjoy their coffee. The coffee was refilled, often and I have no complaints.

Kenilworth Diner

Service: C
The waitress at the Kenilworth Diner was aggressive and wasn’t overly friendly. I can’t put my finger on it, but it didn’t seem as if she wanted to be there.

Food: C
The Kenilworth diner has a huge menu. They have everything a typical diner would. After the holidays, I decided to finally have a healthy meal order a salad.

Online I read they were good portions and had a lot to them. I ordered the Greek salad with a side of salmon. The salad was small, but there were a few toppings. It was missing a few “typical” Greek salad items like onions, pita bread, and tomatoes but in total it was a decent salad. The salmon portion was huge and took up more space than actual salad.  If it’s an entree salad, it should come with some sort of bread.

Kenilworth Diner

Cost: $$
For my salad, coffee and side of pita it was $22. For the amount of food as well as quality, it wasn’t worth it.

Overall/Would I come back?
It was an okay diner, but not great. There are several in the area that I like much better that I would go too before the Kenilworth. The atmosphere, as well as the waitress, took away from experience as a whole. It was great to see Danielle and Amelia, of course, though.

Summary:
Atmosphere: D
Coffee: A
Service: C
Food: C
Cost: $$
Overall: C

Close by Diners:
Tropicana 
Park Wood 
Westfield

Questions for you:
What is the strangest restaurant layout you’ve been too?

The Gateway Diner (Albany, NY)

A few weeks ago, I was driving through Albany, New York.  While driving through, we were hungry so a quick google search led us to the Gateway Diner.

Atmosphere: B
The outside of the Gateway Diner has lots of lights.  It resembles a space ship or disco club.

The inside looks like it could be updated and it honestly seems like it’s right out of the 90s. It wasn’t bad; it just needed an update.  It’s an unusual combination from the outside to the inside.  Disco club outside and very 1990s inside.

Coffee: C 
The coffee was luke warm at best.  The whipped cream stayed intact on top of the beverage and didn’t melt.  I like hot coffee.  One of the biggest ways for me to dislike coffee is if it’s not hot.  Coffee is made to be either hot or cold.The Gateway Diner

Service: C 
The hostess took our drink orders and then forgot to bring them back.  After asking the waitress for coffee twice, she brought the coffee out.  Most of the staff was very nice, just forgetful.  We also went extended periods without seeing anyone, which was surprising because there weren’t many parties in the diner. Throughout our entire meal, there was never more than three parties in the Gateway Diner.

Food: B
The Gateway Diner has several options but surprisingly, not a lot of breakfast options.  I decided to order the sirloin off the specials menu.  It was a thin steak that came with three sides.  I chose a soup, french fries, and beets.

I ordered the cream of corn chowder.  I’m not sure if I have ever had cream of corn chowder before then.  There was plenty of corn plus it was hot.  I wish my coffee had been that hot.The Gateway Diner

The steak was tough, but the broth made it good.  I hate to say the steak relied on the broth but I think without it, I would be dousing my meal with ketchup.  The beets were great.  I enjoyed the French fries as well.  They were crispy and not overly greasy.The Gateway Diner

Gateway Diner

Overall my meal was pretty typical of a diner.  It wasn’t a fancy 5-star restaurant but it was a good meal.

Price: $
For my entree and coffee, the cost was $15 which was a great deal for the amount of food I received.  It wasn’t the freshest, but there was a lot of food.

Summary/Would I come back? 
I liked the Gateway Diner, and it was a good meal.  The service was slow as well as lukewarm coffee but it was inexpensive, and there was plenty of food.  If I’m in the area again, I will go back.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: C
Service: C
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B
Questions for you:
Do you like beets? 
What temperature do you like your coffee?

The Black Horse Diner

Last weekend, my parents came up to visit.  During that time we decided to eat the Black Horse Diner in Mount Ephram.  I’ve been to almost all of the diners in Camden County so I’m typically weary of the ones I haven’t been too.

We arrived around noon on a weekday, and it was crowded.  Being crowded is always a good sign.  We were quickly seated, but by the time we left, there was a long wait. Rarely do you see a wait at any diner!

Atmosphere: B
The Black Horse Diner looks like it might have once been a fast food restaurant and remodeled.  It was clean and open.  The outside was cobblestone, and the inside had plenty of booths and tables.

Coffee: B
The coffee wasn’t good or bad.  The waitress did leave a pot at the table which was nice.  I don’t have anything bad to say about it, but there was nothing that stuck out either.

The Black Horse Diner mount ephraim

Service: B
The service was interesting.  While the diner was busy, our waitress was all over the place.  She was friendly, but everything was slow.  She took our orders slowly; the food was slow, and even just paying was slow.

Food: A
The food at the Black Horse Diner is a very traditional diner.  They have nothing unique or interesting but have everything a normal diner does: all day breakfast, seafood, steak and a few Greek specialties.

After eating junk and sugar all weekend, I opted for a Greek salad with salmon. To be honest, I thought the salad wouldn’t be overwhelmingly big.  I thought it would be a small diner salad.  When it arrived, it was one of the biggest salads I’ve ever received.  Even though I had run earlier in the day, I was stuffed afterwards.  The ingredients were fresh, and it had everything a standard Greek Salad should have including anchovies (my favorite).  The Greek dressing was good as well.  It’s one of the better Greek salads I’ve had.

The Black Horse Diner mount ephraim

To be honest, my favorite part was that the salad was served in a bowl that resembled an upside down lampshade.

The Black Horse Diner mount ephraim salad

Cost: $18
For my salad and coffee, the cost was $18.  For the portion size (normally enough for two people), that is a great value.

Overall thoughts/would I come back?
I enjoyed the Black Horse Diner and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food.  It’s one of my favorite local diners. It seems like The Black Horse Diner follows the “how to be a diner rulebook” to a tee.  Not that there are many rules of dinering, but they had all day breakfast, are open 24 hours, have multiple booths and full-length bar.  The only thing missing is a bright metallic building.

Close by diners:
Metro Diner
The Club Diner
The Phily Diner

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Service: B
Food: A
Cost: 10-15
Overall: B

Questions for you:
What is the biggest restaurant salad you’ve received?

JumBars (Bethleham, PA)

While visiting for the Runners World Festival, my friends at the Super Secret Meeting recommended going to the JumBars in Bethlehem, PA.  On another note, if you haven’t watched any of the videos, Hannah and Ali are hilarious.

Atmosphere:
Jumbars is tiny but cute.  It’s not exactly a diner but more of a mom and pop shop in downtown Bethlehem.  Each of the tables has a slightly different tablecloth and different design.  It’s one of my favorite restaurant atmospheres because it’s quirky and fun.  It reminds me more of a coffee shop or cafe but shares a lot of characteristics of a diner too.

Coffee: F
I hate to give any restaurant or diner, a bad coffee review but the coffee was cold.  I actually didn’t finish the cup because it was cold and did nothing for me.

Jumbars coffee

Service: C
The service at the Jumbar wasn’t great either.  It wasn’t the worst, but the food took quite a long time to come out.  I think about 30 minutes the first time.  When I asked for something, the waitress forgot about it, so we had to ask someone else.  The waitress rarely came over…otherwise I would have asked for a different coffee.

Food: C
The menu is small. Jumbars is actually only open until 2 pm, so they don’t serve dinner.

I ordered the hummus appetizer as well as the beet salad with salmon.  I’ve been craving beets a lot more lately and the beet salad sounded good. Jumbars app

They forgot the salmon, and when I asked about it the waitress mentioned: “just don’t touch it and we can take it back”.  The salmon took another 15-20 minutes to come back.

Jumbars Salad

The food portion itself was small.  I liked the food a lot, but I wish I had more of it.  I was glad I ordered the hummus appetizer because it had a lot of flatbread and made it into a full meal.  The beet salad was more of the size of an appetizer than an entrée salad.  In summary, the food was good, however, the portions were tiny.

Cost: $$
For my salad, coffee, and hummus appetizer, the cost was $22.  The cost was high, and while the food was good, I wish I had more of it.

Overall/Would I come back?
I want to give the Jumbars a second chance because it does appear to be a local favorite.  I know now that the food portion isn’t big, so I’ll definitely keep that in mind.  I’m hoping I might have had a bad experience and I do hope to eventually go back and see.

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

Question for you: What is your favorite local restaurant?

 

Manny’s Diner

As you can tell, I’ve become great friends with the owner of the website: New Jersey Isn’t Boring.  We try and meet up 1-2 times per month at a diner neither of us has been too. That way we can catch up and review another diner.  Last month we went to the Jersey Diner in Delran.

It’s becoming more difficult to find diners because we’ve both been to so many.  The woes of dinering…

A couple of weeks ago, we met at Manny’s Diner in Clark, New Jersey.  There is another location in…When we arrived around 11:30, it was busy, and there were barely any parking spots left.  Luckily there was plenty of seating inside.

Atmosphere: B
The outside is clean, modern and well kept.  There is one of the longest ramps I’ve seen at a restaurant, and it nearly wraps around the entire building.  It wasn’t a stereotypical, shiny metallic building but it was clean and well kept.

The inside has several rooms that are centered around a room with a bar.  Out of every diner I’ve been too, Manny’s Diner had one of the biggest bars.

Coffee: A
Manny’s Diner serves Lacas coffee.  I’ve mentioned before, but Lacas is one of my favorite brews.  It’s South Jersey local and it’s hard to mess it up (except ).  The coffee at Manny’s was perfect.  It was hot and refilled frequently.

Manny's Diner Clark

Service: A
The service at Manny’s Diner was great.  The waiter refilled our drinks, brought out the food and was extremely friendly.  Even though it was busy, everything was prompt and efficient.

Food: B
The menu at Manny’s is huge. They specialize in seafood, but they have anything and everything you could want is a diner.  They have a lot of specials as well.  I decided to order their fried goat cheese salad off of the specials: “Power Baby Green Salads”.

Manny's Diner Clark

It came with soup, and I chose lentil. The lentil soup was homemade, and it was delicious.  It was hot and just what I was craving.

Manny's Diner Clark

The salad was excellent, but it was small.  The piece of salmon took up most of the salad.  It was one of the better salads I’ve had at a diner, but I could have used twice as much.

Manny's Diner Clark

Cost: $$
Manny’s Diner is on the pricier side.  Even though I ordered off the specials, the piece of salmon ended up being an extra $10.  For the salad, salmon, and coffee the cost was $20.

Summary/Would I come back?
I enjoyed Manny’s Diner and I would probably come back for dinner.  I would try one of their many dinner and seafood options.

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

Questions for you:
Do you order off of the specials?
Do you like cheese?