Wayne Hills Diner and Restaurant

Last month, I was up in Wayne, Nj and decided to make a stop at the Wayne Hills Diner and Restaurant.  I heard it was a good diner and I was eager to try it.  I arrived for lunch around noon, and they were busy which is always a good sign.

Atmosphere: B
The outside of the Wayne Hills Diner is nothing to write home about.  It’s well kept but looks like a typical restaurant.  It’s a regular building versus a shiny, metallic one!

The inside, however, is a very stereotypical diner.  There is a huge bar with plenty of seating as well as a lot of shiny booths and tables.  It fits the stereotypical diner bill.

Coffee: B

Wayne Hills DinerThe coffee was good but nothing to write home about either.  They brewed Lacas coffee which is based in Pennsauken, NJ.  The coffee tasted as if it had been sitting for a while, which was surprising because the diner itself was crowded.  Was I only one who wanted coffee at the diner? Lacas Coffee is a South Jersey specialty, so it was disappointing they didn’t take care of it.

Service: F
The service was not great, in fact, it was terrible (Something I’ve only said in maybe 5 out of 130 diner reviews).  It took over 10 minutes for the waitress to acknowledge us, then she forgot our order and came back 20 minutes to ask us what we ordered.  That signaled to us: “I haven’t put your order in yet.”

Several tables who ordered later received their food well before. The waitress also didn’t refill our beverages until we begged her.  Honestly, it was one of the worst diner services I’ve ever had.

Food: B
Food wise, the Wayne Hills Diner has every option a diner should have. You would struggle not to find something you would like there.  There was an entire page dedicated to over 25 different salads.  They have plenty of specials as well.  Long story short, the menu is huge and can accommodate anyone.

Since I was hungry, I ordered the Greek Antipasto appetizer.  It came with grape leaves, olives, hummus, and spanakopita.  I was surprised it didn’t come with pita bread.  Are you supposed to eat the hummus with a spoon?  My favorite part was the spanakopita.Wayne Hills Diner

I also ordered the California Club which came stacked with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce and tomato.  The sandwich was huge.  The club was great, but it was odd that a club sandwich didn’t come with fries.Wayne Hills Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee, sandwich, and appetizer, the cost was $22.  To be honest, I probably wouldn’t order the appetizer again because it wasn’t great.

Overall/would I come back?
I was turned off by the service, so I probably won’t be back.  The food wasn’t anything to write home about, and nothing sticks out to me.

Close by diners:
Pompton Queen Diner (one of my top 5 favorites)
Gotham City Diner
The Six Brothers Diner

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Service: F
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $8-15

Overall: C

Questions for you:
Have you had extremely poor service lately?

Randolph Diner

Recently I stopped at the Randolph Diner in Randolph, New Jersey.  The Randolph Diner has been towards the top of my to-do list because the diner serves both Octopus and squid.  For those who don’t know, Octopus is one of my favorite foods.  A diner that serves that is unique.  I wasn’t sure whether I should trust diner octopus but I was willing to try.

I arrived at the diner for diner on a weekday.  The outside was confusing, and I parked on the completely wrong side.  After walking around the entire restaurant, I made it inside.  There was a lot of construction both inside and out.  It’s the second diner I’ve been too with construction lately (Gus’s was the first).

Atmosphere: B
As I mentioned, the diner was going through a lot of construction.  A lot of the restaurant was boarded up.  The area that wasn’t boarded up was fine and open and spacious.

Randolph Diner
Where is the front…nobody knows…

It used a brown and green color blocked color scheme.  Randolph Diner

Other than the construction, it was a big open and clean diner.

Coffee: C
The coffee was okay.  It wasn’t good or bad, but there was nothing unique or exciting about it.  To be honest, I’ve had a lot of boring diner coffee lately!

Randolph Diner

Service: B
The waitress was friendly.  I wish we had more refills or napkins, but she was nice and got us most of what we needed.

Food: A
As I mentioned, I wanted to go to the Randolph Diner because of the unique and interesting menu.

I ordered the grilled octopus appetizer.  It was grilled and topped with butter.  I wasn’t sure what or how much to expect.  When I received it, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of octopus on the dish.  The octopus itself was some of the best I’ve had in a restaurant period and worth it.  It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  It was even better than a lot of seafood restaurants I’ve been too.Randolph Diner octopus

For my entree, I ordered the Gyro special.  I didn’t read the menu clearly, but I assumed the plate had all of the Greek specialties.  When I received it, it had a few pieces of gyro meat, a single grape leaf, a side salad and pita bread.  Honestly, I was disappointed it didn’t have anything else.

The gyro was more sausage like and wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t bad.  The side salad was good, and it’s hard to mess up pita bread. Randolph Diner

To be honest, the octopus appetizer saved the food.  My entree wasn’t great, but the app was phenomenal.

Cost: $$
For my coffee, appetizer, and meal the cost was $30.  The appetizer alone was $14.  I do realize Octopus is expensive, but I think the gyro special was overcharged.  Most diner specials are cheaper or have more food.

Overall thoughts/would I come back:
I enjoyed the Randolph Diner.  The octopus was by far my favorite and I would go for that alone.  Next time I will order a different entrée, but I do look forward to seeing what kind of construction they are doing.

Summary:
Atmosphere: C
Coffee: C
Service: B
Food: A-
Price: $15-25
Overall: B
Questions for you:
Do you like octopus?

Manny’s Diner

As you can tell, I’ve become great friends with the owner of the website: New Jersey Isn’t Boring.  We try and meet up 1-2 times per month at a diner neither of us has been too. That way we can catch up and review another diner.  Last month we went to the Jersey Diner in Delran.

It’s becoming more difficult to find diners because we’ve both been to so many.  The woes of dinering…

A couple of weeks ago, we met at Manny’s Diner in Clark, New Jersey.  There is another location in…When we arrived around 11:30, it was busy, and there were barely any parking spots left.  Luckily there was plenty of seating inside.

Atmosphere: B
The outside is clean, modern and well kept.  There is one of the longest ramps I’ve seen at a restaurant, and it nearly wraps around the entire building.  It wasn’t a stereotypical, shiny metallic building but it was clean and well kept.

The inside has several rooms that are centered around a room with a bar.  Out of every diner I’ve been too, Manny’s Diner had one of the biggest bars.

Coffee: A
Manny’s Diner serves Lacas coffee.  I’ve mentioned before, but Lacas is one of my favorite brews.  It’s South Jersey local and it’s hard to mess it up (except ).  The coffee at Manny’s was perfect.  It was hot and refilled frequently.

Manny's Diner Clark

Service: A
The service at Manny’s Diner was great.  The waiter refilled our drinks, brought out the food and was extremely friendly.  Even though it was busy, everything was prompt and efficient.

Food: B
The menu at Manny’s is huge. They specialize in seafood, but they have anything and everything you could want is a diner.  They have a lot of specials as well.  I decided to order their fried goat cheese salad off of the specials: “Power Baby Green Salads”.

Manny's Diner Clark

It came with soup, and I chose lentil. The lentil soup was homemade, and it was delicious.  It was hot and just what I was craving.

Manny's Diner Clark

The salad was excellent, but it was small.  The piece of salmon took up most of the salad.  It was one of the better salads I’ve had at a diner, but I could have used twice as much.

Manny's Diner Clark

Cost: $$
Manny’s Diner is on the pricier side.  Even though I ordered off the specials, the piece of salmon ended up being an extra $10.  For the salad, salmon, and coffee the cost was $20.

Summary/Would I come back?
I enjoyed Manny’s Diner and I would probably come back for dinner.  I would try one of their many dinner and seafood options.

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

Questions for you:
Do you order off of the specials?
Do you like cheese?

Park Ave Diner

A few weeks ago, my friend Devon and I met at the Park Ave Diner in South Plainfield, NJ.  I hadn’t heard of the diner until recently, but it was the perfect time to meet up.  It just so happened we met up on Halloween weekend, so they were dressed and festive for that as well.

park ave diner South Plainfield
It was pouring rain when we arrived, so I borrowed this photo from their website

Atmosphere: A
The Park Ave Diner is a hidden gem in South Plainfield.  It’s modern, well kept and clean.  The inside has plenty of seating and booths as well as a full bar.  I was surprised!

Service: A
We had several different waiters help us at the Park Ave Diner and check on is.  It is actually one of the best teams of service I’ve received at a diner and even a restaurant.  They brought plenty of refills and made sure everything tasted great.  When Devon and I went the first time on Halloween weekend, each staff member was dressed up.  Our primary waiter was dressed as a banana.

Coffee: A
The coffee was extremely hot.  Since it was pouring rain outside, all I wanted was piping hot coffee.  There was plenty of whipped cream as well.  It tasted great and I have no complaints.

Park Ave Diner South Plainfield

Food: A
The Park Ave Diner has everything you can imagine: Seafood, steak and everything else.  The first time I went, Devon got the “50 Shades of Green” salad.  Honestly, I regretted not getting that.  I ended up driving through the area last week and decided to get the “50 shades of green salad”.  How unique and fun!

Park Ave Diner South Plainfield

I added cheese and salmon but the salad came with several mixed different mixed greens as well as walnuts.  It was one of the best salads I’ve had in a while.

Cost: $$
For my coffee and salad, the cost was $22.  Not bad, considering the quality of food was extremely high.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come Back?
I liked the Park Ave Diner enough that I’ve already been back a second time for the “50 Shades of Green Salad”.  It’s definitely one of the better diners I’ve been too.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Price: $15-20
Overall: A

Questions for you:
What is the most uniquely named food item you’ve ordered?
Did you dress up for Halloween this year? 

Ivy Stone Diner, Bar and Grill

The Ivy Stone Diner in Iselin has been on my to-do list for a while.  As most people know, I like seafood a lot.  Growing up in Virginia Beach, you’re never far from seafood.  The Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge, claims to have the “the best seafood” around.

I met my friend, Christine, for lunch.  We arrived around noon, and there were only two other parties in the restaurant.

Atmosphere: B
The Ivy Stone Diner is having a major identity crisis.  Is it a diner? A nightclub? A bar? It’s a very fancy restaurant with minimal features that make it a diner.  It’s nice, but the ritzy chandelier or moonlit bathroom sink hardly classify it as a diner.

Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge
The moonlit bathroom sink

Service: C
It was clear the server was extremely new.  He was nice and refilled our beverages when we asked.  For only two other parties in the restaurant, the food came out very slowly. I felt like I’ve been to many other diners, much more crowded that the food came out quickly.  It was borderline slow for a buddy restaurant let alone a diner with three parties.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good.  It was brought out hot and fresh.  We had plenty of refills as well.Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge

Food: C
The Ivy Stone Diner has a small menu.  It more resembles a bar than a diner.  There aren’t a lot if breakfast options.  Since they are well known for their seafood, I ordered salmon and a Greek salad.  I was shocked when I tasted the salmon.

It was apparently frozen and reheated. It wasn’t terrible but the hardly quality I would label as “the best.”  The Greek salad was good, and I enjoyed the dressing.Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge

Price: $$
For my salmon, salad, coffee the cost was $21.  It was more on the pricy side for the quality of food and size.

Summary/Would I come back?
The Ivy Stone Diner is interesting and not the usual “diner.”  It’s not a bad stop, just a very ok restaurant.

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

Overall: C
Questions for you:
Do you like seafood?
Is your area known for anything?

Route 130 Diner

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Eric and I visited the Route 130 Diner in Delran.  Eric is a fast local runner who is a good friend.  We originally met through work, and he trains with some of my faster coworkers.

I’m always skeptical of diners that are within 20 minutes of my house that I haven’t been too.  At this point, I’ve been to most, if not all of the diners that have been recommended by friends.  I’ve steered clear of local diners that people have told me are not great.  I hadn’t heard much about the Route 130 Diner in Delran, so I didn’t know what to expect.

We arrived around 6 pm on a Friday, and it was packed.  It was one of the few diners that we even had to wait for a table.

Atmosphere: B
The Route 130 Diner layout reminds me of an Old Golden Corral.  It uses wooden side paneling as well as similar booths.  There is a bar and bakery case.  The bakery case caught my eye.

There are actually two entry doors to the restaurant, and it’s extremely confusing.  People come and go from both sides and then you don’t know where the line to be seated starts or ends.

Service: B
We waited for about 5 minutes for our waitress to acknowledge us but once she did, she brought over drinks and took our food.  I felt as though as I was always asking her for refills, but she was friendly.

Coffee: A
The coffee at the Route 130 Diner was great.  The waitress added lots of whipped cream (let’s be honest more whipped cream always wins).  Plus it was hot.  I have no complaints and it one of the better diner coffees I’ve had.

Route 130 diner Delran

Food: A
The menu for the Route 130 Diner isn’t posted online anywhere, so I had no idea what to expect.  They do have everything from breakfast to lunch to dinner.  I saw a table order a salad next to me and decided to go with the same one.

Route 130 diner Delran

Their house salad resembled a Greek Salad with a lot of cheese.  There was an entire layer of cheese, but I didn’t mind.  I think all entree salads should come with meat, cheese, and bread.  If not I will probably order some.

I ordered salmon, and it was extremely fresh.  I was pleasantly surprised with how large the portion was as well as the quality of the food.  Honestly, it was one of the best salad I’ve had at a restaurant in a while.

Dessert: C
I decided to order the German Chocolate Cake to take home.  The frosting of the cake was good. However, it tasted as if the cake had been sitting for quite some time.  The pieces of layer cake were hard and somewhat crusty.  It wasn’t the worst cake I’ve had but not the best either.  If I came back, I probably wouldn’t have ordered the cake.

Cost: $
For my coffee, salad, and cake the cost was $22.  That’s not too bad for the amount of food as well as the quality of the entree.

Summary/Would I come back?
I was pleasantly surprised with the Route 130 Diner in Delran.  It’s a great stop if you are heading North from Philadelphia or around the area.  It’s one of the better diners I’ve been too locally.

Closeby Diners: Jersey Diner, Golden Dawn Diner, and Dolphin Diner

Summary:
Atmosphere: C
Coffee: A
Service: B
Food: A
Dessert: C
Cost: $12-20
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Have you ever ordered something because you saw another table order it?
When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised at a restaurant? 

River Star Diner

Recently I went to the River Star Diner in Hackettstown, NJ.  Before going it was an area of New Jersey I hadn’t been too. I’d heard from a friend, it’s a pretty small town. When driving through, I didn’t realize how hilly and beautiful the area was.  There are several different parks, and plenty of runners and cyclists out.

Trying new diners and hiking has allowed me to see so many different areas of the state.

Atmosphere: A
The River Star Diner is located along a small creek.  If you are lucky enough to get a window seat, you can see birds and small animals frolicking in the water. The inside is typical of a normal small town diner but it’s great you can look outside.

river star diner
Image from LehighValley Live

When we arrived, the parking lot was full, however, there was plenty of seating available.  I definitely think they could use a bigger parking lot. Even when every parking spot in a diner is filled, there always seems to be room.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good, but it was nothing unusual or unique.  I don’t have any complaints or anything unique or interesting about it. River Star Diner

Service: A

Despite the diner being relatively crowded, our waitress was great.  Our food was brought out quickly, and we had plenty of refills and food.

Food: B
River Star Diner The River Star Diner has a huge menu and nothing is left out.  There are about 10 pages of menu.

I ordered the scrambled eggs, bacon, french toast, and a side bagel.  It’s a pretty standard; home cooked diner meal. River Star Diner

The eggs were cooked well.  The bacon was crispy, and I liked the french toast.  I can’t remember the last time I ordered French toast before but River Star used thick bread.  Thin bread might be healthier but thick bread tastes better.

I’ve mentioned before that I think North Jersey bagels are better than South Jersey.  I try to get one whenever I’m up there.  The bagel was delicious and I left feeling both full and satisfied.

Cost: $
For my meal and coffee, the cost was $12.  It was definitely one of my cheaper diner meals.

Summary/Would I Come Back?
I enjoyed the River Star Diner, and the view was unique and fun. If you can, request to sit by the window!  I don’t have any complaints and it’s one of the better diners I’ve been too.

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

Questions for you:
Which restaurant you’ve been too has the best view?
Where are your favorite bagels from?