Since starting my NJ Diner quest, I’ve been to just over 250+ diners in New Jersey and about 50 diners in other parts of the world. There are approximately 600 diners in NJ, but that changes from month to month. I’ve been to at least ten that have since closed!
You can see reviews here or use the link at the top of the blog.
How did it start? Why do I go to diners?
I get this question a lot.
My husband and I moved to New Jersey in October 2013. Before moving to NJ, we didn’t know much about the state. I had no ties to NJ. Like most people, I assumed it was just a densely populated state with a lot of traffic.
That’s just one misconception of the state. NJ is the most densely populated, but it also has hundreds of small towns, each having its own personality. New Jersey is known as “the garden state,” and there are miles of fields and gardens.
We started going to different diners to see different parts of the state. A diner along the shore of NJ is going to be far different than one on the outskirts of New York City. It’s been a fun way to explore the state and see all different areas.
Do I only eat at diners? No, of course not. Have there been many weeks where I haven’t made it to a new diner? Of course but it’s been a fun hobby to do. Plus I’ve seen so much of New Jersey! I’ve traveled the majority of roads in NJ.
I started reviewing diners in March of 2014. Keep in mind, this just a personal experience. An experience at any restaurant is different depending on the day, time, or who you go with. I’m not a diner professional, food critic, or anyone other than a person who likes diners. I don’t eat the same thing at every diner. I used to think that was a good way to review, but then got tired of that very quickly.
Here are a Few Highlights and Lowlights:
First some of my favorite meals:
|Favorite Diner Drink:
||Coffee, although some diners do have their liquor license
||Omelets or steak and eggs
||Nova lox (smoked salmon)
||Appetizers with a greek flair with hummus, pita bread, grape leaves. Many have a Greek flair to begin with.
||Pork chops, salmon, steak, (whatever I’m in the mood for)
|The most unusual thing I’ve ordered at a diner:
||Cake followed by bread pudding
All-Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris
Mastoris isn’t a typical diner. It was one of the first 50 diners I went too and still one I frequent. It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake. I think the food is excellent at Mastoris. However, I think the service is lackluster. Is it the best overall? Due to service, maybe not but I like the food.
But which cake to get?
Each diner was a letdown.
Diner review number 200, the Ridge Diner, had burnt crusty steak, poor service, and sitting on top of people.
The Lakehurst Diner outside of the Navy Base, Lakehurst, looked like a meal served right out of a deployment. Luckily, my company was good.
Diner went to the most times: Vincentown
I used to live closer to Vincentown. Sadly, the quality of the food and service has gone downhill, so I haven’t been much at all. I went from going three times a month to maybe once every few months. Once the wait staff essentially assumed I was too young to afford my meal. The woman said to me, do you realize how much this will cost? Yes, that is a true story, and yes the meal was less than $20.
Another time, we overheard another waitress talking about her stripping job. Personally, I don’t care, but when you hear a waitress talking about that to co-workers, it’s a unique experience.
Here are a Few Diners that Stand Out to Me:
I guess many of my favorite diners are due to their cake.
Stateline Diner: Great cake and service
Jefferson Diner: Great food and service
Northeast (NYC area):
Brownstone: Best pancakes in the state
Chit Chat Diner: Fun and unique diner
Mustache Bills: You can’t argue with mustache shaped pancakes
Tropicana: Most unique and Carribean themed!
Mastoris: Best all around
Larrys 2: Great food, fast service
The Monarch Diner replaces PB Diner and it was a great replacement. The food is fresh and they have a lot of fun options like cauliflower bread.
The Silver Diner is a small chain, and there are a few across the east coast. How many diners have Quinoa pancakes or a roasted vegetable salad?
Any diner that serves the local Lacas coffee and has homemade whipped cream.
Princetonian: they charge for refills!
Tropicana: For $24, I received all of this food. I had run 15 miles and still made a full meal out of leftovers.
Four Seasons in Toms River. Any pancakes with red velvet in them are always good to me!
Best Egg Breakfast: Amys Omelet House (Over 200 omelet choices!)
Best Dinner Option:
The Pork Chops with NJ fresh Blueberries from Larrys 2
Cheapest Diner: Angelos (around $5 for a meal)
Most Expensive: Alexis Diner or Vincentown (typically $20+ for a meal)
So cheers to 250 diners. Hopefully, I’ll make it another 100 but who knows what will happen.
Questions for you:
Have you been to a diner before?
Where is your favorite place to eat?