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Empress Diner (Lyndhurst)

Empress Diner (Lyndhurst)

While driving up to Maine, I wanted to stop at a new diner.  Early in the summer, I went to more, and it’s since slowed down.  I’ve wanted to get to the Empress Diner for a few years, and it seemed to work out the best this trip.

Empress Diner Lyndhurst nj

The Empress Diner itself is located in downtown Fairlawn, NJ.

Atmosphere:
The outside is a well-kept building.  It isn’t a metallic, or shiny building but it’s well kept which matters.  There are only a handful of parking spots, and we had to circle around and park on the street since there was no parking available.

Empress Diner Lyndhurst nj

The inside is a lot bigger and can fit more people.  There is a full-length bar, plenty of booths, and plenty of tables.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good, but nothing too exciting. I could have used more refills, but since I was getting on the road, it was probably a better idea not to have too much.

Empress Diner lyndhurst

Food: B
I had no idea what I wanted to order.  The Empress Diner has everything you would want in a diner.  There are plenty of breakfast, lunch, and specialty items.  There are several salads as well.

I decided to order the French toast on challah bread with a side of “Taylor ham.”  If you don’t know the state of New Jersey, how you say Taylor Ham (or Pork Roll) is a big deal.  The North says Taylor Ham, and the South says, Pork Roll.  As someone who didn’t grow up in New Jersey, I don’t have a “side,” but it seems like everyone in NJ does…ha!

Empress Diner lyndhurst

The French toast was good, and the challah bread was thick.  The Taylor Ham was delicious, and I have no complaints.

Service: B
The service was decent, but I definitely felt as though I could use more refills on my beverage.  Luckily the food came out quick.  The server and hostess were friendly as well.

Cost: $10
For my French toast, ham, and coffee it was $10.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I was happy with the Empress Diner and I have no complaints.  I would definitely go back, and they have an extensive menu, so you always have plenty of options.

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

You Can See all 210 Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is something unique about where you live?
Do you like French toast?

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Ridge Diner (Park Ridge)

Ridge Diner (Park Ridge)

Diner Number 200…

I’ve been waiting to reach this point for a couple of months now.  Once I reached about 175, I became increasingly excited to go with my 200th.  Why like anything it’s just a number.  For 100, I ended up at the Silver Coin Diner in Hammonton.

We were traveling back from Connecticut and the Ridge Diner in Park Ridge, NJ was right on the way.  A few people had mentioned it was a good diner so I decided to stop.  Maybe it was just an off day, but nothing about my experience there was pleasant.

Atmosphere: F
I arrived during the lunch hour, and almost every table, booth, and seat was taken.  Being busy is fine, and I have no issues waiting.  There was one table in the far back, and I was immediately sat there.  The problem was, the tables were far too close to each other, and upon sitting down, a waiter said I would need to “scoot in” for the meal because he couldn’t pass.  I don’t sit exceptionally far from tables, in fact, I sit rather close to things.  In order to be close enough, my body was sitting against the table.  During the entire meal, I felt as though as I was sharing a conversation, a meal, and time, with 3 other parties.

Coffee: B

The coffee was decent.  It wasn’t good or bad, but the waitress didn’t bring until the meal when I asked.

The Ridge Diner park ridge nj

Food: F
The menu for the Ridge Diner is impressive.  They have everything from breakfast to lunch, and dinner.  They have plenty of healthy options including salads and sandwiches.  I decided to order the steak and eggs.  I had a good experience at the previous diner, so had high hopes.

The Ridge Diner park ridge nj

The steak was one of the most rubbery pieces I’ve had.  The meal was small, and it when it came out, it didn’t even look appetizing.  When I went to eat the steak, it tasted as if it had burned residue from other meals and was cooked dirty grill.  It didn’t taste good.  I tried to find the positive, but it just wasn’t a good meal.  The food took so long to come out,  I didn’t have a lot of extra time to wait for a new meal.

The Ridge Diner park ridge nj

Service: D
The waitress was friendly which saved the entire service.  She was so busy, and the food took far too long to come out.

Cost: $
For my steak and eggs as well as coffee, it was $18 which was not worth it at all.  It was the worst restaurant steak I’ve had, and the portion didn’t merit the price either.

Overall thoughts/Would I Come back:
No.  It stinks to have a bad experience, but that is all about the journey.

Atmosphere: F
Coffee: B
Food: F
Service: D
Cost: $10-20
Overall: F

You can see all 200 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:

Tell me about one of your worst dining experiences!

How do you like your steak cooked?

The Boulevard Diner (North Bergen)

The Boulevard Diner (North Bergen)

After the Irish Festival 5k last month, I found myself hungry in North Bergen.  Going to diners on the weekend can be hit or miss regarding how busy they are, especially in North Bergen.  When I arrived around 11:00, every table but one was taken.  Perfect! By the time I left, around noon it was much less crowded.

Atmosphere: A
The Boulevard Diner is everything you expect in a diner. The outside is modern, while the inside has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.  There is also an alcohol bar which is more common in North Jersey than south.

The boulevard diner north bergen nj

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, and the waitress brought a few refills.  There was nothing to write home about, but it was good coffee.  Not that I should have drunk as much as I did since I was on a road trip.

The boulevard diner north bergen nj

Food: A
There is everything you can imagine at the Boulevard Diner.  There are plenty of breakfast options, as well as healthy lunch options, and of course dinners such as seafood and steak.  As usual, after a road race, I tend to be somewhat hungry.  I decided to order the steak and eggs.  Sometimes diner steak is awful, and sometimes it’s good.

Luckily this was not only good but the best diner steak I’ve personally had.  The portion for a breakfast steak was also huge!  It was cooked medium rare as requested with two over easy eggs.  It was definitely one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a while.

The boulevard diner north bergen nj

Service: A
For how busy the Boulevard Diner was, our waitress was very attentive and friendly.  Our food came out extremely fast as well.

Price: $
For my steak and eggs and coffee, the cost was $18.

Overall Thoughts/ Would I Come Back?
I enjoyed the Boulevard Diner a lot, and it was definitely one of the better diners I’ve been too.

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

You can see all 199 diners here. 

The 200th NJ review and a look back at diners both come next week! 

Questions for you:
Do you have any questions, topics you would like to see in the Diner Awards post?  (like favorite breakfast, worse food, etc).  Let me know!
What is your favorite way to eat eggs?

 

Dayton Diner

Dayton Diner

Recently I was in Dayton, NJ.  Not to be confused with Dayton, Ohio! Anyway, I’ve driven by the Dayton Diner a few times but the timing has never worked out to stop.  It’s not too far away, and finally, last month it worked out.

Dayton Diner NJ

Atmosphere: A
When I arrived around 5:30, it wasn’t crowded at all.  In fact, there were only 3 other parties in the restaurant.  I was hungry, so I wasn’t complaining.  The outside is about as “diner” as you can get.  It’s a big, shiny, metallic building.  The inside is the same, and as has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar. The interior is one big open room so it can get noisy, especially with some of the old school songs.

Coffee: B
The coffee wasn’t good or bad.  There was nothing to write home about either.

Dayton Diner NJ

Food: C
The menu isn’t available online which is not a big deal, but you never know what to expect.  Will it be a massive menu with 10 pages of specials or a small 2-page menu?

The Dayton Diner is the first of those, and there isn’t much the menu is missing.  It has everything from breakfast to lunch and dinner.  There is a page of daily specials too.  I was hoping to find a special that spoke to me, but there wasn’t anything I was craving.

I ordered the Taste of Greece appetizer which came with grape leaves, pita bread, cucumbers, and cucumbers. It was a simple but good appetizer.  It did lack anything unique or unusual.

Dayton Diner NJ

I ordered their burger with bleu cheese.  The patty itself was massive, but it wasn’t anything unusual or unique either.  I would be surprised if it wasn’t a frozen and reheated patty.  The french fries were a similar story, and while the food was okay, it wasn’t the best ever. I was disappointed because I really wanted to like the Dayton Diner!

Dayton Diner NJ

It’s unfortunate because based on the atmosphere, I wanted to love the place!

Service: B
Our waitress was friendly and refilled our beverages.  The food itself came out decently fast.  She was friendly, and the manager was friendly as well.

Cost: $
For my appetizer, burger, and coffee, the cost was $20.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Dayton Diner was a decent stop.  It wasn’t my favorite, nor least favorite diner.  It’s an easy stop along the turnpike at exit 8A.

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

Overall: B

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite appetizer?  Where is it from?
What is one restaurant near you, you’ve wanted to go?

 

Millville Queen Diner

Millville Queen Diner

Recently I was in Millville. I’ve always wanted to go the Millville Queen Diner.  It seemed like the perfect evening to go.

Millville Queen diner

Atmosphere: B
When I arrived around 5 pm, it was quiet. I didn’t mind because I was hungry and hoped that meant the food would come out quickly.

The diner has two rooms, one more “dinery” and one was more of a dinner room.  I was sat in the diner room.

Coffee: C
The coffee was okay, but the mug was small. With such a little mug, I hoped it would be refilled faster. The coffee wasn’t great and the mug was too small.

Millville Queen diner

Food: C
The Millville Queen Diner has the biggest menu of any diner I’ve been too recently.  There are about 10 pages and another 2 pages of specials.  I decided to order the prime rib special which came with a salad, two vegetables, prime rib topped with mushrooms and onions, as well as a dessert!

The salad was that of many diner salads. Nothing unique or fancy.  I also got a large basket of bread too.

Millville Queen diner

The prime rib was definitely the best part. I have no complaints, and it was cooked well. It came with a side of the juice it was cooked in.

Millville Queen diner

For my sides, I ordered beets and sweet potato. I was disappointed with the beets as they were swimming in oil and still had inedible leaves in the bowl. It was interesting. The sweet potato was good, and I liked the addition of the cinnamon sugar butter.

Millville Queen diner

Both the Prime Rib and sweet potato were good, but I wouldn’t order the salad or beets again.

Dessert: A
Since my meal came with a dessert I ordered my favorite diner dessert: bread pudding. The bread pudding was one of my more favorite bread puddings I’ve had.  I liked all of the actual bread versus pudding. Plus the waitress topped it with plenty of whipped cream. I have no complaints about it.

Service: B

The waitress was nice, but I needed more drink refills. Our food came out relatively quick.

Price: $

For my meal and coffee, it was $14

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Millville Queen Diner was a decent stop. If you are looking for a local diner that meets all of the NJ stereotypes, the Millville Queen Diner is a great local stop.

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

You Can See All Diner Reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite side?
How do you prefer your steak?

Hightstown Diner

A few weeks ago, Christine and I met for lunch at the Hightstown Diner in Hightstown.  Even though it’s not that far, it’s one of the last I haven’t been too in Mercer County.  Christine has remained one of my closest friends throughout the last four years of living in NJ.  I cannot believe the time has flown!

We arrived for lunch, and the Hightstown Diner wasn’t crowded.  It’s a small diner located in downtown Hightstown.  It was actually featured on Diners, Drive In’s and Dives several years ago!

Atmosphere: A
The Hightstown Diner is what you expect in a diner.  Old school tables, booths, and full-length bar.  The outside is all cobblestone.  I liked the menus because they showed the diner when it first opened and a scenic photo.

Coffee: B
The coffee was hot. However, we had to ask a few times for refills.  While good, I could have used a few more,

Hightstown diner Food network coffee

Food: A
The menu at the Hightstown Diner is medium sized.  They don’t have a lot of unique items, but they have everything a New Jersey diner should have: eggs and pancakes, sandwiches and a few seafood entrees if you want.

Hightstown diner Food network

I was craving a Gyro.  I like gyros, but they are definitely one of the messiest sandwiches you can order.  The Gyro platter came with a lot of food: soup, salad as well as French fries.  I knew that would probably be a lot so I opted to sub the fries with the “vegetable of the day” which was carrots.

Hightstown diner Food network

The Gyro itself was great.  I haven’t had one in a while, and it was stuffed to the brim with meat, tzatziki sauce, lettuce, tomato.  The salad was rather big for a side.  The romaine lettuce could have been chopped more and easier to eat but other than that good.

Hightstown diner Food network

With the winter, I’ve been ordering a lot of soups.  Nothing spoke to me, so I decided to try something new: The Greek chicken.  I had no idea what to expect, and it was a cream based soup with chicken and race.  I couldn’t locate much chicken, but in all, it wasn’t bad.

Hightstown diner Food network

Service: C
The waitress was extremely friendly, but we could have used far more refills.  For not being overly crowded, it took a while for the food to come out.  Typically, that would haven’t been an issue. However, we hadn’t planned on staying for over an hour, and it caused us to somewhat rush eating.

Cost: $

For my entire platter and coffee, the cost was $12.

Summary/Would I Come Back?
I liked the Hightstown Diner, and I’ll definitely be back again.  While it was slower than hoped, the food and quality were excellent.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: C
Price: $
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Gus Diner, 

You Can See All Diners Here.

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to a restaurant on the food network?
What is your favorite cooked vegetable?

Country Town Diner (Berlin)

Going to a new diner can always be hit or miss.  Usually, I like to give diners a few weeks before going in.  The Country Town Diner in Berlin opened a couple of months ago.  It’s another somewhat nearby diner to me.

Atmosphere: B
The outside looks like a regular building.  It doesn’t look like an exciting, metallic or shiny building but it looks nice with plenty of parking.

The inside has plenty of booths and tables with a full-length bar.  The diner had an odd smell to it which I couldn’t pinpoint.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed extremely hot, and the waitress brought a bowl of whipped cream.  It was hot, brewed well, and who can argue with that much-whipped cream.  In all, I enjoyed it.

Food: A
The Country Town Diner has everything a standard diner has.  Breakfast all day, lunch anytime, plenty of seafood and steak options.  There is very little diner food you can’t find.

I decided to order the Hungry Man breakfast.  It came with eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, bacon, pancakes and pork roll. I had to look at the photo to remember everything!

The pancakes were light and fluffy and some of the best pancakes I’ve had.  It’s only my second time having pork roll, but I enjoyed it.  In all, I enjoyed my meal a lot.

Service: A
Our waitress was friendly and kept our beverages refilled at all times.  Plus our food came out quickly, she was one of the best waitresses I’ve had.

Cost: $
For my coffee and breakfast, the cost was $12.

Summary/Would I come back?
The Country Town Diner is a great addition to the area, and I would come back.  I do hope whatever the smell is taken care of.

Nearby Diners I’ve Been: New Berlin Diner, Palace Diner, Vorhees Diner

See all Diners here.

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

Questions for you:
Have you ever tried pork roll?
Have you been to a new restaurant lately?

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