Ellen’s Stardust Diner

When asking around, I heard Ellen’s Stardust Diner was a must stop in New York City.  It’s located on Broadway, and the waiters and waitresses take turns singing during the entire day.

So instead of background music, you have a show the whole time.  It’s more of an experience versus high-quality diner food.

Atmosphere: B 
Ellen’s Stardust Diner is everything you would want in a diner.  The outside is a large, shiny metallic building while the inside has multiple booths and tables. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

While New York is extremely crowded, the diner sits you very close to people.  If you are claustrophobic, it’s probably not the diner for you.  It’s so close, the waitress must physically pull the table out so you can sit down without putting your butt on someone else’s table.  Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Service: B
The service at Ellen’s Stardust Diner is interesting.  All of the servers sing and perform throughout their shift.

You might have to wait a few minutes as a server is performing.  All of the servers were extremely talented, and there was never a dull moment.  Many leave and go on to sing at Broadway.

As far as service goes, it’s hard because you know the waiters are busy performing but that also leaves large gaps of time that you might want a refill or are waiting for your food.  Our waiter was actually on break when we arrived, and he didn’t take our orders for at least 15 minutes.

Coffee: B

The coffee is good.  There isn’t anything unique about it, but it’s not bad coffee either.  I do wish we had more refills, but the staff was busy performing.  There was plenty of whipped cream though. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Food: B
Ellen’s Stardust Diner has many breakfast options as well several dinner options.  They don’t serve everything all day, so if you are looking for breakfast, it’s important you go at the appropriate time.

We went to lunch, and I decided to order a turkey wrap.  The wrap itself was great and had a lot of turkey.  It was definitely filled up. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

The wrap also came with waffle fries which, to be honest were some of the best waffle fries I’ve had.  It was a solid diner meal. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Cost: $$$
For the wrap and coffee, the cost was $22, and that’s one of the cheapest options there!  It’s easy to spend upwards of $30 on a single meal.  At Ellen’s Stardust Diner, you’re also paying for a show, so it’s important to keep that in mind.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and it was a great and unique spot in NYC.  I would recommend it.  Just keep in mind it’s definitely more expensive, and you might wait over an hour to be seated.

Atmosphere: A
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $$$
Overall: B 
 

Questions for you: 
Have you ever seen a Broadway show? Have you ever been to a restaurant that includes a show? 

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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? 

Cosmic Diner (NYC)

While in New York City, I wanted to try a new diner.  As luck would have if, we ended up at two.  The first we went too was the Cosmic Diner.  One great aspect about the diner is that it’s open 24-7.  Surprisingly, many diners are not!

Image via Cosmic Diner website.


cosmic diner NYC

Atmosphere: A
For a tiny diner, it has everything a diner needs.  There are plenty of booths, tables and a small bar located in the back.

Even though it was a small diner, you had space and weren’t sitting on top of anyone.

Coffee: A 
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh and I have no complaints.   cosmic diner NYC

Service: B
Despite not being terribly busy, our waitress wasn’t present too much.  It wasn’t the best service but she was never rude to us.  We could have definitely used more beverage refills.

Food: C 
The Cosmic Diner has all of the regular diner staples.  There is plenty of breakfast, lunch and dinner options but nothing unique or that sticks out.

I decided to stick with a tried and true diner staple: the gyro.  When it came I noticed, there was a huge mound of salad and minimal French fries.  Normally it’s quite the opposite. I asked for Greek dressing and the waitress said she had no idea was Greek dressing was.

The gyro itself was good.  There wasn’t anything too special about it.  The French fries were the same story.  I appreciated the amount of salad though.  cosmic diner NYC

Cost: $$
For my gyro and coffee, the cost was $18.  The value of the food was a turnoff. That is extremely pricey.  The value is not there.

Summary/Would I come back? 
It wasn’t a terrible stop but I probably won’t be back.  As mentioned, the value of the food was a turnoff. There are plenty of unique and fun restaurants close-by or cheaper restaurants with better quality food.  Was a bad meal?  No.  Was it a life changing, amazing meal?  No.

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

Questions for you:
Do you like gyro?
New York City locals: what is your favorite diner?

The Continental Diner (Burlington)

As you can see, while not running, I’ve been to a heck of a lot more diners.  The Continental Diner recently reopened.  It used to be known as the Dolphin Diner, and I ate there several years ago.

When my mom and I arrived around 6 pm on a weekday, there was only one other party in the restaurant.  There were never more than a few people during our entire experience.

Atmosphere: B
The Continental Diner hasn’t changed much of the environment of the Dolphin Diner.  They added a new highway sign but other than that the inside is very similar.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a half full dessert case.  The desserts inside did look good.  I saw a few that I wanted to try.

The Continental Diner Burlington
Same appearance as the previous “Dolphin Diner”

Coffee: C
While the coffee was brewed hot, they were out of whipped cream.  A diner without whipped cream?  The coffee was good, but being out of whipped cream was disappointing.The Continental Diner Burlington

Service: B
For an extremely undercrowded diner, the waitress didn’t come by often.  I was surprised when it took a while to take our orders and bring drinks.  She was nice, but overall the service was slow.

Food: B
Without running, I’ve been making more of an effort to eat healthier.  The menu at the Continental Diner is typical of most New Jersey diners.  There is nothing that sticks out.

I decided to order the Greek salad was salmon.  It came with soup and I chose the lentil.  The soup was good.  There wasn’t anything unique but I have no complaints.The Continental diner burlington

When the salad arrived, I was surprised with how big it was.  I wasn’t expecting that and definitely in the top percentage of diner salads I’ve had.The Continental diner burlington

Dessert: A
Even though they didn’t have a lot of desserts left, I noticed the chocolate oreo cake and wanted to go with that.  The cake itself was great, it consisted of a large layer of frosting which was almost mousse-like and then a chocolate cake underneath.  It was one of the better diner cakes I’ve had and I have no complaints.  I would order it again…and again.

The Continental Diner Burlington

Cost: $
For my coffee, salad, cake and ice cream the cost was $22.  It was a great price, and I left feeling full.

Overall thoughts/Summary:
I actually like the new Continental Diner better than the Dolphin Diner.  I think they could use more personalization for the name.  I was disappointed they were out of whipped cream.  I’ll be back.

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

Overall: B 
Closeby Diners: Route 130, Jersey Diner, Cinnaminson Diner

Questions for you:
Have you ordered anything and a restaurant was out? 
I find that happens more with farm to table restaurants…

Have you been to a restaurant before and after it was open under new management?

Piston Diner (Westville)

After the Broad Street 10 mile race, my in-laws and I went to the Piston Diner in Westville, NJ.  It’s one of the last diners I hadn’t been in Camden County and right on the way home.  There isn’t a lot of information online about the Piston Diner, so I was worried I might end up at someone’s house versus an actual diner.

Atmosphere: B
The atmosphere at the Piston Diner is that of many typical New Jersey Diners.  While it isn’t a big shiny, metallic building, it is a big open building with plenty of seating.  They had a lot of streamers decorating the inside, but I’m not entirely sure what the holiday was.

Service: D
We arrived at noon on a Sunday, and it wasn’t crowded at all. To be honest, that’s a red flag because Sundays for breakfast and lunch are usually the most crowded diner times.  Even though it wasn’t crowded, the service took a long time.  It was one of the slowest waits I’ve had in a while and disappointing.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, and when we were able to get ahold of the waitress, she brought refills.  The coffee itself was good. piston diner westville

Food: D
The diner has just about every typical diner food option.  I wasn’t especially hungry after spectating Broad Street, but I can’t pass up eating at a diner.  I decided to order the Greek Salad with salmon.  I also ordered a side of pickled beets.

When my food arrived, I regretted the decision.  The salad used a lot of watery, white lettuce and didn’t have most of the traditional Greek Salad toppings including anchovies, grape leaves or pita bread.  The dressing was watery, and I needed two.  While it wasn’t a bad salad, it wasn’t anything I would order again.  I wasn’t starving, so it filled me up.  It did have a lone french fry which was not listed as a salad addition.  😉

piston diner salad

Cost: $$
For my salad with salmon and coffee, the cost was $16.  For the quality of food, it should have been cheaper.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I didn’t dislike the Piston Diner, and the food was ok for what I needed for the day, but next time I’ll order something else.  The service was rather slow, so I can’t imagine how it would be when they are busy.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Service: C
Coffee: A
Food: C
Cost: $8-16
Overall: C

Nearby Diners: Metro Diner and Black Horse Diner

Questions for you:
Do you prefer chopped salads or big, leafy salads?
Do you like beets?

WhiteHorse Diner

Recently I met up with personal friend Christine at the Whitehorse Diner in Hamilton, NJ.  Not to be confused with the Black Horse Diner in Camden County. Until a week ago, I hadn’t heard of the Whitehorse Diner, but with over 500 diners in the garden state, you’re bound to find one (or 100) you haven’t heard of.

We arrived on a Friday for lunch, and it wasn’t crowded at all.  In fact, for most of our meal, we were the only ones.

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere of the Whitehorse diner is what you picture for a diner.  The outside is big, metallic, and shiny while the inside has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot each time, and I had no issues with it.  It was definitely one of the better coffees I’ve had lately.

White Horse Diner Trenton

Service: A
Since we were the only ones in the Whitehorse diner, the attention was all on us.  I’ve seen this go both ways in restaurants.  The waiter or waitress is either overbearing or doesn’t show up much at all.  For us, it was perfect, and the waitress gave us plenty of attention, refilled our beverages but didn’t hover.

Food: A
The menu at the Whitehorse diner is everything you could want in a diner plus several additional healthy choices.  They have breakfast, lunch and dinner specials.  I opted for something more healthy.  Both Christine and I ordered the same thing!  Twinners are winners right?

We ordered a Greek salad with arugula and salmon.  When it came out, I couldn’t ask for a better salad.  It was a huge portion of salmon, and everything was fresh.

White Horse Diner Trenton

Cost: $
For my salad with salmon and coffee, the cost was $16.  I can’t complain at all because the food was fresh.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Whitehorse Diner and have no complaints.  They have a great menu with a lot of options.  I wish they advertised more because they are hidden.

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $9-15
Overall: A

Closeby Diners: Daphne’s Diner, Town Diner

Questions for you:
What is your favorite salad?
What is the last hidden restaurant you’ve found?