Route 1 Diner-Restaurant (Lawrenceville)

Early in the month, I went up to the Route 1 diner in Lawrenceville, NJ.  I actually didn’t know this diner existed until recently, which is unfortunate because it’s only 30 minutes from me and 30 minutes from the base!

I got there on a Friday night, and they were packed.  The owner had me sit at the bar until a table cleared up.

Atmosphere: B
The Route 1 Diner appears like a cross between a diner and restaurant (as the name indicates).  The exterior is a typical building (versus a big metallic, shiny one) but the interior is all diner with a full-length bar, multiple booths, and table.  We sat near the drink fill-up station for servers, and I didn’t quite appreciate servers always reaching around us to fill up drinks.  Oh well!

Coffee: A
The coffee was piping hot, and the owner refilled it often.  I have no complaints.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

Service: C
I believe the service should be categorized into two parts.  The owner seemed to play a role in our experience because if it was just the waitress, the score would have been lower.  It took over 20 minutes to just take our order.  I watched our server go to almost every other table except ours taking orders, refilling drinks, and bringing food.  Once we did order, our food was our quickly, and for that I was happy.

Food: B
The Route 1 Diner has almost everything you can imagine from breakfast, lunch, specials and most dinner options.  I opted to order the stuffed shells.

The meal came with a bread basket which included cheesy bread.  Normal bread baskets are boring but including cheesy and cinnamon bread is a win in my books.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

My meal also came with a salad which was relatively green as far as diner salads go.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

I am not a huge pasta fan but stuffed shells or lasagna or two I do like.  The food at the Route 1 Diner was good.  The dish was a bit smaller than anticipated, but it wasn’t bad.  It was definitely hot, and I nearly burnt my tongue eating it.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

Dessert: D
I decided to order a cupcake.  The waitress asked if I wanted a “minion cupcake” or “Elmo”…I said Elmo because why not.  She came back with a minion cupcake, plopped it on the table and said it was all they had.  To be honest, nothing about the cupcake was pleasing.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

The presentation looked sad, the cupcake itself wasn’t that great, and the waitress didn’t even come back beforehand saying “well all we had is this”.  I didn’t even finish the dessert which is rare for me (in fact it’s only happened at the Red Lion Diner and Sage Diner).

Cost: $
For my coffee, shells, and cupcake the cost was $18.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:

While I didn’t have the worst experience at the Route 1 Diner, I didn’t have the best either.  The owner was friendly and probably the only reason I would come back.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: B
Dessert: D
Cost: $8-20
Overall: C

Nearby Diners I’ve Been: Micheal’s Restaurant, New Ewing Diner

Questions for you:
Have you ever had the owner of the restaurant wait on you?
What’s your favorite type of dessert?

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Marvis Diner (Wildwood)

Recently I celebrated my 150th New Jersey diner.  After asking several people where I should go, it all went out of the window because both my husband and I had off of work on the same day.  We had always wanted to go to the Wildwoods, so we settled upon the Marvis Diner.  

Atmosphere: B

The Atmosphere of the Marvis Diner is typical of any beachy New Jersey shore town.  The outside is a rustic, cute, beach looking building while the inside is a large open run with several booths as well as a full-length bar.  There is an outdoor patio as well.  

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Service: A

Right off the bat, I can say the service at Marvis Diner was one of the best I’ve had.  The waitress was outgoing, funny and friendly.  She brought out plenty of drink refills, and our food came out extremely quickly.  In all of the diners I’ve been too, this was in the top 3 best services. 

Coffee: B

There is nothing unique or special about the coffee, but it is good.  The waitress refilled my coffee often.  At first, she brought a small coffee mug but ended up bringing out a large to go cup instead.  How can I argue with that? 

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Food: A

The Marvis Diner has plenty of options.  They have breakfasts as well as a good amount of lunch and dinner options too.  The menu is about 5 pages long which makes it far less overwhelming.  

I decided to go big or go home and ordered the “Jackpot” which came with 2 eggs, 2 sausages, bacon, French toast, pancakes and tater tots.  The waitress highly recommended the tots because how many diners have that? 

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Yes, all of that food and it was massive.  I had run about 5 miles in the morning and finished most of everything (I took about half of the tots home).  Everything was cooked well, and I will say the French toast was one of the best I’ve had in any diner.  

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Price: $

For my Jackpot special and coffee, the price was $18.  Is that one of the biggest breakfast meals I’ve ever had in my life? Yes.  Was it good and worth the price? Also yes. 

Summary/Overall Thoughts: 

I liked the Marvis Diner, and I would definitely come back.  It’s one of my top five diners in south jersey and definitely in the top in the state.  I highly recommend it.  

Atmosphere: B

Service: A 

Coffee: B

Food: A

Cost: $8-18

Overall: A

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Georges Place

Questions for you: 

Do you like French toast? 

What is the biggest breakfast you’ve had? 

Larrys II (Vineland)

I’ve been trying to get to more diners South. Recently, I drove down to the Vineland to try Larrys II.  I heard it was one of the best diners in Salem county, so I wanted to go.

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere of Larrys II is modern.  It’s not a big, retro, diner but more of a modern square building. The inside has several rooms, a full-length bar, as well as a salad bar.  Interestingly enough, it’s attached to a coffee bar so you can come in, hang out with friends and get a cup of coffee.  It is unique.

Coffee: A
Since the Larrys II was attached to the coffee bar, the coffee was great.  It was my favorite local brews: Lacas.  One of the best touches was a large, logo coffee mug.  I don’t know why more diners don’t use bigger cups or even logo mugs.  They are also for sale at the front.  Most of my at home coffee mugs come from diners that sell them or races.

Larrys 2 vineland

Service: A
I was there on a Friday evening, and it was definitely busy.  It was evident our waitress was moving around and helping several tables at once.  One of the best aspects was how quickly the food came out.  The appetizer and order were out almost in the blink of an eye.

Food: A
The menu at Larrys II is smaller than most diners.  There is about a page of specials and two pages of food.  What intrigued me most was the salad bar, as many diners don’t have it.Larrys 2 vineland

The salad bar was fresh and refilled often.  There were plenty of salad toppings and unique salads such as three beans, marinated mushrooms and my personal favorite, beets.

I also had heard nothing but great things about the tomato bruschetta, so I decided to order that as well.  It was delicious, and the balsamic topping was great.  I would recommend it.

Larrys 2 vineland

For my entree, I ordered the pork chops off of the specials menu.  The pork chops were marinated with a special blueberry topping and came with a vegetable medley cole slaw and mashed potatoes.

Everything was cooked well, and it was definitely one of the better pork chops I’ve had.  The food was one of the best I’ve had at a diner.Larrys 2 vineland

Cost: $20
For my pork chops and coffee, the cost was $20.  It was a great deal, especially with the salad bar.

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

I enjoyed Larrys II and it is definitely one of my favorite diners in Southern New Jersey.  If you’re ever around the Vineland or passing to the shore, I would recommend it.

Closeby Diners I’ve been: Malaga Diner, Maurice River Diner 
Questions for you:
Do you like pork chops?
What is the best restaurant salad bar you’ve been too?

 

Malaga Diner

Earlier in the month, my dad was driving through and stopped for the evening at my house.  On his way South, we decided to go to the Malaga Diner.  There were a few Southern Diner choices, but we ultimately decided upon Malaga solely because my brother, Matt, is stationed in Spain near Malaga.  It seemed like a reasonable way to pick out a diner.

I had driven by the Malaga Diner a couple of years ago when I went to the Pegasus restaurant.

Atmosphere: A
When driving by the Malaga Diner, you can’t help but notice the diner.  There is a huge diner sign on route 40, and the outside has “Malaga Diner” on a big red light up sign.  There is enormous tinted windows and cobblestone on the sides.  You can’t miss it (in a good way)!

malaga diner

The inside is a stereotypical diner with plenty of booths, a full-length bar, and several tables.

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, refilled our beverages often and came over and chatted.  However, the food was very slow to come out.  We waited about half an hour which for the amount of people in the diner, I was surprised!

Coffee: B
I’ve had a lot of boring but good diner coffee lately.  There wasn’t anything bad about the coffee, and it was refilled enough, but like I mentioned nothing unique or unusual. 

Food: B
The Malaga Diner has everything a stereotypical diner has, no more and no less.  There are about 2 pages of breakfasts, 2 pages of lunch/dinner and a page of specials.

I ordered the Hungry Woman Special with French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and sausage links.  For those not familiar with diners, I would say about 75% of New Jersey Diners have a “Hungry Women Special”.  It’s a staple breakfast dish.

Thank goodness I took a photo because to struggled to remember everything that fit on the plate. malaga diner

The French toast was one of the best French toasts I’ve had.  They used big, thick, bread which is a definite must.  The rest of the meal was filling with nothing unusual, and I had no complaints, but the highlight was the French toast.  I liked everything but next time I might just end up ordering 10 pieces of their french toast.

Cost: $$
For the coffee and hungry woman, the cost was $12.  They did charge $1.50 for whipped cream in the coffee…some diners do, and some don’t.  For the amount of food, it was worth it.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Malaga Diner was a good stop, and I’m glad we finally made it down there.  I would definitely go again.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Service: B
Food: B
Cost: $6-15
Overall: B
Closeby Diners I’ve been: Pegasus, Elmer, Point 40

Questions for you:
Do you like French toast? 
What is your favorite way to eat eggs?
I like scrambled or over easy

Clinton Station Diner

Recently I went to the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton.  The Clinton Station Diner was actually on the Food Network a few years ago.  They also have a hamburger challenge that you and several friends can eat 50-100 pounds of hamburger and win a few thousand dollars.

Clinton Station Diner burgers

Because it was on TV and I’ve heard the Clinton Station Diner is good, it’s been on my bucket list for awhile.  It’s only about an hour from my house but the timing never works out.  When I finally went a few weeks ago, I was glad I did.

Atmosphere: A
You can see the Clinton Station Diner from the highway.  It is a remodeled train station which is definitely unique.

The diner itself has two sections: the main dining area as well as an old train car.  We sat in the main dining area which was well kept and clean.  The trolley car area can be seen from the highway.  I hope we get to sit there next time!

Service: A
The server at the Clinton Station Diner was friendly and refilled our beverages often. The food also came out quickly.  In all, the service was great and I have no complaints.

Coffee: B
My coffee was brewed hot each time and the whipped cream was fine.  There was nothing unique about it but it was good.

Clinton Station Diner

Food: A
Since the Clinton Station Diner has been on the Food Network for their burgers, I wanted to order one.  Although they have plenty of different options from breakfast to dinner, I opted for a burger.  I finally decided on the German burger which came with sauerkraut cheese as well as a homemade sauce.  I also ordered a side of their famous beets.

The burger was definitely one of the better burgers I’ve had.  To be fair, I went through a period of my life (maybe 15 years?), that I wasn’t a fan of the consistency and texture of burgers.  In the last few months, I’ve had a change of tune.Clinton Station Diner

The Clinton Station Diner also prides themselves on their homemade beets and I must admit, they were ideal.  It was clear they were fresh and well seasoned.  They are my favorite restaurant beets to date.

Clinton Station Diner
Not my best photo but still great.

Dessert: C
We got a milkshake to split and I was surprised that the milkshake didn’t come with whipped cream or cherry.  It tasted fine but it definitely wasn’t anything unique or special.  Even the presentation wasn’t great!  It wasn’t to the same standards of the rest of the meal.   It wasn’t a bad milkshake, just extremely boring.Clinton Station Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee, milkshake, beets, and the burger the cost was $23.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with how cheap it was!

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Clinton Station Diner a lot and I’ll be back.  Next time, I’ll probably get a different dessert.  (Mom, I think you would really like this one 😉

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

Diners Closeby I’ve been:
Flemington-Raritan
Spinning Wheel
Readington Diner

 Questions for you:
Do you like beets?
Are there any restaurants on your to do list?

Budd Lake Diner

Recently, I went to the Budd Lake Diner in Mount Olive, New Jersey.  I went on a Monday for lunch, and it was fairly busy.  Luckily, there was plenty of parking.

For some reason, I had it in my mind the Budd Lake Diner was going to be a metallic diner.  It wasn’t, but it was still nice.

Atmosphere: B
The atmosphere of the Budd Lake Diner is different than what I anticipated, but it wasn’t bad.  For some reason, I expected it to be in a big, shiny, metallic building.

The outside is actually a square, cobblestone building while the inside is what you expect in a diner.  There are plenty of booths, several tables, and a full-length bar.  It took a while to locate the dessert case which is hidden in the back.  I would have ordered dessert, but I couldn’t see it well.  I wanted a giant diner cookie to go, but they didn’t seem to have them.

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed fresh, and the waitress refilled it often.  While there was nothing unique or extraordinary, it wasn’t bad either.

Budd Lake Diner Mount Olive

Service: B
The waitress at the Budd Lake Diner seemed a bit standoffish.  She was never rude but wasn’t welcoming either.  She refilled our beverages and brought our food out quickly.   It was one of the faster restaurants we’ve been too!

Food: C
The Budd Lake Diner serves everything 24-7.  You can get a steak at 4 am if you want it.  I always appreciate 24-7 diners because you can usually get any food you want at any time.  Breakfast at 10 pm? Or dinner at 6 am…

I ordered scrambled eggs, with “Taylor ham,” and hash browns as well as buttered rye toast.  I was disappointed with the portion size of the food.  Normally scrambled diner eggs are light and fluffy, but these just tasted packaged.  The Taylor Ham was good, and it’s hard to mess up toast.  Was it the greatest diner meal, I’ve had? No, but it was edible.  It was one of the smallest portions of food I’ve received!

budd lake diner mount olive

Cost: $$
For my meal and coffee, the cost was about $11.  It was expensive for the quality and quantity of the food.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back? 
The Budd Lake Diner wasn’t a bad stop, and it was a typical diner in New Jersey.  There wasn’t anything unique or unusual to draw me back, and I found it more pricey for the quality and quantity of food.

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

Nearby Diners I’ve been: River Star, Randolph, and Jefferson (on of my top 5)

Questions for you: 
What is your favorite way to eat eggs? 
New Jersey friends: Is it, Taylor Ham or Pork Roll? 😉 

Northfield Diner

Recently I found myself in the Somers Point area.  Since it was around dinner time, I decided to stop at a local diner.  I had already been to the Windjammer which I’m a fan of but drove a little further north to the Northfield Diner.  

When I arrived, there was only one car in the parking lot.  To be honest, I didn’t even know if the diner was open.  Luckily when I walked in, there were about 4 parties dining.  Since it’s a locals area, my guess is they all walked! 

Atmosphere: C

Northfield Diner Somers Point NJ

The Northfield diner atmosphere is everything you hope in for.  It’s a big, open, diner with plenty of booths, tables, and a full sized bar.  They have a few desserts towards the front.  

There were, however, a few small quirks including not having placements and the blender being in the front.  I guess someone was getting a milkshake or smoothie when we arrived because it was in full use.  When they first started using it, I honestly thought something had broken in the diner.

Coffee: B

The coffee at the Northfield Diner is decent.  There is nothing unique or unusual about it, but it’s not bad either.  The waitress added a bowl of whipped cream versus adding it directly on top.  I don’t have any complaints.  Northfield Diner Somers Point NJ

Service: B

The service at the Northfield Diner wasn’t bad, but it was slow for a number of people in the restaurant.  It took over 25 minutes for our food to arrive which was surprising due to how empty it was.  

Food: B

The menu is massive, and they have most anything a diner would typically have.  In fact, it has one of the biggest menus I’ve seen in awhile.  There were over 6 pages of options including breakfast, plenty of salads, specials, and seafood.  

I ordered a Jalapeño Burger.  When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and realistically didn’t have high expectations.  

The bun was perfectly toasted and tasted great.  What really impressed me was the jalapenos weren’t from a jar and were fresh.  The patty itself was juicy.  

Northfield Diner Somers Point NJ

The burger came with fries which were cooked well.  I haven’t had steak fries in awhile.  

Cost: $$

For my burger and coffee, the cost was $11.  I have no complaints.  

Overall summary/thoughts: 

I enjoyed the Northfield Diner.  The atmosphere is a bit outdated but other than that I have no complaints. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first arrived, but the food was good, and I would come back.  I was pleasantly surprised by the entire experience.  There was nothing crazy or unique, but it was a quality stop. 

Summary:

Atmosphere: C

Service: B

Coffee: B

Food: B

Cost: $8-12

Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve been too: Phoenix, Windjammer 

Question for you: 

What’s your favorite type of burger?