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

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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? 

Cinnaminson Diner

Recently, I went to the Cinnaminson Diner in Cinnaminson.  The diner just reopened, and I wanted to try it. I have been twice now and had positive experiences both times.  The first time I arrived around 6 pm on a Friday night, and it wasn’t too crowded. Since it’s located in a shopping center, there is plenty of parking.

Atmosphere: B
The Cinnaminson Diner is clean and open. It’s not a giant metallic building, but it’s clean and modern. Inside there are plenty of booths and tables.

One atmosphere point I found interesting, was this crack in the window. Was it caused by hail? A bullet hole? The world will never know…

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh. Other than wishing I had more, I have no complaints.

cinnamonson diner

Service: B
While the restaurant was busy, the service was still rather slow. The waitress came over a few times, but we were left without beverage refills a few times.

Food: A
The Cinnaminson diner has everything a typical diner has. One of their newer specials is lobster ravioli. My dad ordered it the first time I went, and after seeing it, I thought it looked excellent and ordered for myself the second time.  It was one of the biggest and most filling portions I’ve had in a while.  Embarrassingly enough, I forgot to take a photo the second time I went!

I don’t order a lot of pasta when going out to eat and haven’t had lobster ravioli in years. I don’t have any complaints it was good.

The first time I ordered the Greek Salad which was just as good.  It was a large portion was fresh ingredients.  Instead of pita bread, they gave garlic bread which was unique.

cinnamonson diner

Cost: $
For my coffee and lobster ravioli, the cost was $13. It was a good deal and I left full.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I enjoyed the Cinnaminson Diner both times. It’s a typical diner with nothing too crazy or unusual but it’s a good stop and one of the better ones along Route 130.  I feel like I need to go back based on my lack of photos. 😉

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

Closeby Diners: Jersey Diner, Route 130, Continental

Questions for you:
Do you like lobster?
What is your favorite type of pasta?
I like either ravioli or lasagna

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? 

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?