Huck Finn Diner (Union)

A couple of weeks ago, the owner of the website, New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and I went to the Huck Finn Diner in Union.  I thought I had been already but turns out I was thinking of the Tom Sawyer Diner or Mark Twain Diner.  As you can see, there are a lot of literary diners around Union.

Long time readers know, but Cyd and I try and hang out at least once a month.  She reviews diners as well as everything else in New Jersey so she is the pro…If you ever find yourself in New Jersey check out her website and you won’t have any trouble finding something to do.

We arrived on a dreary weekday, and the diner wasn’t terribly crowded.  While I’ve wanted to go out to various diners as well as seeing friends, I also want to eat healthy during my lead up to the Atlantic City Half Marathon.  Even though I didn’t run well, at least I ate healthy…I guess.

Atmosphere: B
There isn’t anything too unique or unusual about the Huck Finn Diner.  It’s clean, and there is both a salad bar as well as full bar.  It would be interesting if they added a Huck Finn painting or centered more of the atmosphere around the book.  The building itself was clean, open and had plenty of seating so I can’t complain about that.

Service: B
The waitress was kind and refilled our beverages, but it did take awhile. We waited a few times for drink refills.  The food itself took about 15 minutes to come out which wasn’t bad.

Coffee: A
The coffee was from Lacas and was piping hot.  My only complaint was needing a bigger mug!  Other than that, it was great.Huck Finn Diner

Food: A
The menu at the Huck Finn Diner is huge, and they have everything you want or need in a diner.  Plus they have plenty of specials as well.

I was hungry, so I decided to order the split pea soup.  It came with a bowl of croutons to add to my soup at my leisure.

Huck Finn Diner union

For my entree, I ordered the Huck Finn salad which came with arugula, blue cheese, apples and walnuts topped with balsamic dressing.  They used red delicious apples which are my favorite apple.  Like any salad, I prefer to add protein so I also added salmon.  My salad itself was great, and I have no complaints.  The salmon portion was one of the biggest of any diners I’ve been too.  The salmon and salad were both extremely fresh.  Huck Finn Diner union

Cost: $$
For my soup, salad, salmon and coffee the cost was $21.  It was on the pricier side but worth it.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 
I enjoyed the Huck Finn Diner and would definitely come back.  It’s one of my favorites in the area.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve Reviewed: Mark Twain, Kenilworth

Questions for you: 

What is your favorite salad base? 

Do you prefer salad bars or ordering a salad?

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Woodstown Diner

A few weeks ago I found myself in Woodstown, NJ.  I had driven by the Woodstown Diner a few times and heard it was good.  Since it was around lunchtime, I wanted to stop.

Atmosphere: B
The outside of the Woodstown Diner is a normal but lengthy building.  It looks like a regular restaurant versus a metallic, shiny diner.  I was shocked to see how long the Woodstown Diner is.  From the road, it looks like it might seat 50 people but once you pull into the parking lot, you realize it can probably sit close to 200!

Woodstown Diner
With a possible apartment on top?

The inside of the diner itself has several rooms including a bar and banquet hall.  It was definitely surprising.  Many people don’t realize this, but liquor laws in New Jersey are strict, and it’s rare to find a diner in South Jersey that serves alcohol.  In fact, New Jersey is one of the few states with dry towns that don’t serve alcohol at all.

Even though it wasn’t crowded, we were sat in the second room next to the dirty dish cart.  Out of all the tables, I wasn’t sure why the manager sat me there.   It was loud, and our meal was constantly interrupted by staff bussing tables and clinking of dishes.

Service: B
The manager seemed to be having a difficult day when he sat us.  He threw the menus on the table and walked away.  The waitress of the Woodstown Diner was friendly, and I have no complaints.  She refilled our beverages often, and the food was brought out fairly quick.  

Coffee: B
Even though the coffee mug was small, the coffee itself was good.  The Woodstown Diner uses the local Lacas coffee which as many readers know is my favorite! Woodstown Diner

Food: B
The menu at the Woodstown Diner is that of a typical diner.  They have everything from eggs to lunch and plenty of specials. Everything about the menu is traditional, and there wasn’t anything that grabbed my eye as being unique or extraordinary. I decided to order a gyro wrap with French fries.  A classic diner favorite but not something I’ve ordered in a while!

The gyro itself was huge. It was packed well with plenty of lettuce, gyro meat, onions, and tomato.  It was packaged well and one of the least messy gyro wraps I’ve had.  It came with steak fries which weren’t bad. Woodstown Diner

Cost: $
For my gyro and coffee, the cost was $10.  One of my cheaper diner meals.

Overall summary/Would I come back? 
I enjoyed the Woodstown Diner, and it was definitely a hidden gem in Southern New Jersey.  While the manager was somewhat rude, our service, in general, was decent and I would go back.

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

Close by Diners I’ve been too: Swedesboro Diner, Deepwater Diner, Hollywood Cafe

Questions for you:
What’s the best coffee you’ve had recently?
Where was the last place you ate? 

Harley Dawn Diner

Earlier in the month, I stopped by the Harley Dawn Diner in Folsom, New Jersey. A few years ago the Harley Dawn closed for construction. They remodeled and rebuilt the entire diner. The new version of the Harley Dawn is more modern than a diner. In fact, if it didn’t have the name finer, you would probably think of it more as a bistro.

Atmosphere: A
The Harley Dawn is modern, with huge windows spanning the entire restaurant. Is a retro metallic, shiny diner? No, but is it a clean, nice looking modern restaurant? Yes.

Harley Dawn Diner

Coffee: A
The Harley Dawn Diner serves locally brewed Lacas coffee. The coffee itself was brewed hot every single time, and the waitress brought plenty of refills. I have no complaints.Harley Dawn Diner

Service: A
When we arrived, we were the only people in the entire diner. I haven’t been the only party in a long time. The waitress was great and refilled our drinks and brought out the food quickly.

Food: C
The unique aspect of the Harley Dawn Diner is everything is locally sourced. Not many diners are like that, and the only other local that comes to mind is the VincentownHarley Dawn Diner

Because of that, they don’t have a huge menu. I wanted to take advantage of locally grown vegetables and ordered the Salmon salad which came on a bed of kale. I asked for a side of pita bread, and she said they didn’t serve pita bread.

Even though the menu was small, it amazed me that there is a diner without pita bread and gyros. I asked for bread, and later the waitress came back and said they were out of homemade bread and offered me a different type. The meal itself was excellent. However, I was disappointed they were out of so many options!

Cost: $
For my local sourced salad and coffee, the cost was $15. That is extremely inexpensive for the quality of food.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?
I enjoyed the Harley Dawn Diner, and they have a lot of intriguing options I’m interested in, including homemade gelato. I’ll be back again soon. While it’s not a typical New Jersey Diner, it is a good restaurant.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve reviewed: Silver Coin Diner, Shore Diner, Palace Diner, Vorhees Diner

Questions for you:
Do you like kale?

Tenafly Classic Diner

Recently, I found myself in Northern New Jersey. I was hungry and have heard nothing but positive things about the Tenafly diner so I decided to stop.

It finally worked out that I was able to stop by.  When I arrived around 5 pm on a weekday, it wasn’t too crowded, but by 6 pm, it was packed and there was a wait.

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere of the Tenafly Diner is a picture perfect diner.  The outside is a big, shiny metallic building and the inside has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

Coffee: A
The Tenafly Diner brews Lacas coffee which has been a common theme of diners I’ve been too.  Lacas Coffee is a located in Pennsauken, NJ.  I always enjoy the coffee, and it’s hard to make it badly.  Tenafly Diners coffee was great, and I have nothing but positive things to say.  Unforatenly, I forgot to take a photo!  I know, crazy!

Service: C
The service at Tenafly Diner was kind of strange.  Midway through our meal, the server changed.  There must have been miscommunication because it took a long time for the milkshake to come out and then all of the food came out together.  Both servers were friendly, and I don’t have anything negative to say about them, it was just awkward.

Food: A
The Tenafly Diner has all of the classic diner entrees plus more.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but their meats are from the “Montana Meat Company”, so I decided to order a burger and fries.

Being indecisive, I decided I wanted seafood as well and ordered fish tacos as an appetizer. Honestly, it was enough for an entire meal.  The tacos themselves were stuffed with avocado and cod.  They were delicious.  It was by far one of my favorite diner appetizers!

Tenafly Classic Diner

The burger came topped with cheese and onion ring.  It was one of the biggest and most messy burgers to date.  It was next to impossible to eat, and I felt like it was flying off onto other people’s plates.  The French fries were topped with gravy and melted cheddar cheese.  I joked it was probably one of the most unhealthy ways to eat fries, but they were good. By the time I got to the fries, I was so full, though.

Tenafly Classic Diner

Dessert: B
At the start of the meal, I ordered a brownie milkshake.  Interestingly enough, the milkshake didn’t come with one of my favorite toppings: a cherry.  That being said, it was a good milkshake.  I like super sweet hard ice cream milkshakes, and that is exactly what it was.

Tenafly Classic Diner

Cost: $$
For the burger, appetizer, coffee and milkshake it was $30.  The quality of food was there, and it was definitely worth it.  In fact, it was a lot of food for that price.

Overall thoughts/Would I come Back?
I really liked the Tenafly Diner, and I would go back whenever I was in the area.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Service: C
Food: A
Dessert: B
Cost: $15-20
Overall: A

Questions for you:
Do you like fish tacos?
What is your favorite type of milkshake?

Three Years of Diner Reviews

It’s now been three years since I started reviewing Diners.  Since starting my quest, I’ve been to about 130 diners in New Jersey and about 50 diners in other parts of the world. You can see reviews here or using the link at the top of the blog.

March of 2014 is when I first started reviewing diners.  At year three, I decided to highlight some of my favorite (and not so much diners).  Keep in mind, these are my personal favorites.  Do you have a favorite or different opinion about a New Jersey diner?  Comment below.

All Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris

Mastoris isn’t a typical diner.  It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake.  This was one of the first diners I went too and I still continue to go back.

Least Favorite Diner: Garden State Diner, Ponzios or Stafford

Each diner was a definite letdown.  Ponzios served me a salad with still frozen fish and canned pears.   It’s a shame because Ponzios is almost always listed as a “top NJ diner”, but I haven’t had a positive experience any of the three times I’ve gone!

Diner gone to the most times: Vincentown

I used to live closer to Vincentown.  Sadly, the quality of the food and service has gone down hill, so I haven’t been much at all.  I went from going three times a month to none.  I’ve been 30+ times

Best cake: Mastoris (I wanted them to make my wedding cake, but they wouldn’t deliver).

Mastoris Cake
But which cake to get?  Hint: We got both carrot cake and red velvet cake

Personal Favorite Diners: 

Year 3, didn’t bring any significant changes to my “all time” favorite list.
Mastoris Great cake
Jefferson Diner Also great cake
State Line Diner Also great cake
Chit Chat Diner Great atmosphere
Mustache Bills Quinetesantal diner of NJ

Tropicana How many “tropical” diners do you know of?

Healthiest Diner: Silver Diner (it’s a chain, and there are a few across the east coast).  How many diners have Quinoa pancakes or a roasted vegetable salad? 

Best Coffee: Any diner that serves the local Lacas coffee and has homemade whipped cream.  Candlewyck Diner coffee

Worst Coffee: Princetonian: they charge for refills!

Biggest portions: Tropicana: For $24, I received all of this food.  I had run 15 miles and still made a full meal out of leftovers.

tropicana diner

Best value: Elmer Diner (cinnamon roll) and Angelos (my entire meal was $5) Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

At the Elmer Diner: A Coffee, cinnamon bun, eggs, toast, and hashbrowns was $8.00.  You can’t beat that!

Most expensive: Vincentown: They charge 75 cents extra per coffee with whipped cream.  I’ve ordered a salad with salmon which costs $20+.  Every meal is going to be at least $18.

Best Pancakes: Red Velvet Pancakes at Four Seasons Diner: Unlike the Springfield Diner, they were actually red velvet.  The cream cheese frosting was perfect. Four Seasons Diner Toms River

Best Eggs: The Surburban Diner offered a unique breakfast bowl with hashbrowns, melted cheese, onions and a fried egg on top.  You don’t see that many diners!suburban diner

Best Diner Gyro: The Woodstown Diner.  Gyros are a staple of any diner.  I haven’t posted the review yet, but the Woodstown diner had a neatly packaged gyro with plenty of meat.  It was easy to eat as well!

Woodstown Diner

Best Decor: 

Chit Chat Diner: I love the black and white retro theme. 

Tropicana Diner: It felt like a blast from the Carribean. 

Tropicana diner

Angelos: It’s the metallic trolley car diner that you picture.

Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

Best Out of State Diners:

Trolley Car, Philadelphia (fresh ingredients as well as beer on tap)

John’s City Diner, Birmingham (Best chicken and waffles)

So where does my diner journey go next?

 

Questions for you:
Have you been to any NJ diners? 
Do you have any diner recommendations from anywhere? 

Four Seasons Diner (Toms River)

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Four Seasons Diner in Toms River. This isn’t to be confused with the All Seasons Diner.

The owner of the website, New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and I met for lunch. Incase you’re interested we’ve been to several diners together including:
Park Nine
Daphne’s 
Sherbans
Fountainbleau
Jersey Diner
Freeway Diner (Now closed)
Broad Sreet Diner (Her 100th review)!

Holy moly, we’ve definitely been to a lot of diners together. One of her goals and jobs is to review all of the diners in the state, so it’s always great to get her perspective as well as learn about fun New Jersey activities going on!  You can see her review here.

Atmosphere: B
The Four Seasons Diner actually used to be an old Wawa. If you look carefully, you can tell but if you just walked by you would never guess. Inside the Four Seasons Diner looks like a typical restaurant, not a diner. It’s not bad, but it’s not an old metallic building. It’s a clean restaurant, but it doesn’t scream diner.

four seasons diner

Service: C
The diner wasn’t crowded, but we waited for a while to be sat. If it were busy, it wouldn’t have a big deal, but we just waited. We went long periods without seeing out waitress. She was nice. However, she left our table for long periods of time.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good. There was nothing unique or special about it, but there was nothing bad either. Four Seasons Diner Toms River

Food: B
The Four Seasons Diner had every time of diner food you can imagine. Toms River is right along the shore, and they have plenty of seafood options!  I’ve heard their red pancakes were good, so that is what I chose to order. The pancakes were extremely thick and came with a cream cheese frosting. Of any red velvet pancakes I’ve had, these were definitely the best.

Four Seasons Diner Toms River

My date ordered the pizza special which was interesting. It was more of a flatbread than pizza which was disappointing considering they have a brick oven.

Cost: $$
For my pancakes and coffee the cost was $12. Not bad!

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
Even though the service wasn’t the best, I enjoyed the Four Seasons Diner and there were a lot of specials I was interested in trying.  I would love to come back next time I’m in town!

Overall:
Atmosphere: C
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $8-12
Overall: B

Nearby diners I’ve tried: New Crystal Diner  (I need to get to more shore diners)

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite type of pancake?
Have you ever had Wawa?

 

Angelo’s Diner (Pitman, NJ)

Before Angela moved, we were able to go for one last run and diner together.  Despite Angelos being close and being ranked as one of the best diners in New Jersey, neither of us had been.  It’s a tiny, local diner and only seats about 20 people at one time.

When we arrived around 10:30 am, it was filled with locals.  We sat at the counter but then moved to a booth when one opened up.  

Atmosphere:  A
Angelos is the stereotypical diner.  You feel as though you are walking into a time machine. It’s an old metallic building on the corner of the street.  The inside only has booths and a full-length bar.  You seat yourself, and it’s clear it is a local favorite.

Service: A
Despite being busy, the waitress was friendly and refilled our beverages.  She was one of the nicest waitresses I’ve had, and she made it a point to get to know us a little bit.   For being crowded, the food came out extremely quickly.

Coffee: A
The coffee was often refilled and was always hot.  Like many stereotypical diners, It was strong.  Plus, there was plenty of whipped cream, so it was perfect.Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

Food: A
The menu at Angelos is extremely small.  There is nothing fancy and it a typical greasy spoon diner.  You won’t find gourmet salads or fancy filet mignon.  There a few different types of omelets, pancakes, eggs and toast.  I decided to order two over easy eggs with fried tomatoes and rye toast.

Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

Growing up in England, I loved fried tomatoes.  I haven’t seen them at too many diners so it was a rare treat and they were cooked well.  The toast came lathered in butter which tasted great, and the over easy eggs were perfect.  In all, it was a great meal.

Cost: $
For my meal and coffee, it was $5.50.  It was literally the cheapest restaurant meal I’ve ever gotten and will probably ever get.  It was excellent.

Summary/Overall Thoughts:
Angelos is a great stop if you’re ever in Pitman.  It’s a fast, inexpensive and great meal.  I wouldn’t go for a fancy date or anything, but it’s a great diner.  I’ll be back again.

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $3-7
Overall: A

 Closeby diners: PBs Diner and Taproom, Seven Star Diner

Questions for you:
What is the cheapest restaurant meal you’ve had?
Have you tried fried tomatoes?