The Spinning Wheel Diner

The Spinning Wheel has been in my diner “to do list” based on the name.  Similar to “Time to Eat a Diner“, occasionally I add diners solely based on the name.  Since I was in the area, I decided to go.

The Spinning Wheel Diner is located in Lebanon, New Jersey.

Atmosphere: A
The first question you may ask is where is the spinning wheel?

 Is there a spinning wheel?

I imagined a giant Ferris wheel style “spinning wheel” out front but there is a small koi fish pond in the front with a spinning water wheel.  Looking back a diner with a ferris wheel would be called either “The Amusement Park Diner” or “Ferris Wheel Diner”…

The diner itself is a very stereotypical diner.  It is a metallic building.  Inside there are plenty of booths as well as a full bar.

The view outside is hard to beat as well.  The diner is located at the base of a small mountain so there is a nice view of that.

Coffee: A

The waitress added more whipped cream to the coffee than actual coffee.  Since we had just come back from hiking, I needed all of the sugar I could get.  The coffee itself was good, but the extra sugar was definitely a bonus. Spinning Wheel Diner

Service: A
The waitress was extremely friendly.  She got everything we needed and didn’t have any issues.  She was one of the nicest waitresses we’ve had!

Food: B
The food at the Spinning Wheel Diner is that of a typical diner.  The menu isn’t overwhelmingly big, and there are the usual items: omelets, dinner specials, and Greek specialties.  There isn’t anything unique or interesting on the menu but it does have 10 pages worth of menu.

I ordered the Greek Gyro which came with soup and French fries.

Spinning Wheel Diner

The soup was a unique “seafood bisque”.  I couldn’t find much seafood (but lots of corn and potatoes).  It wasn’t bad but needed more seafood.

Spinning Wheel Diner

The Greek Gyro was a good option.  It wasn’t as messy as the Greek Gyro as I had at the Peters Diner in Glouster. There was a bigger pita bread wrap which made it easier to eat.  Overall it was one of the better Greek Gyros I’ve had recently.Spinning Wheel Diner

The French fries were cooked well, but it’s hard to mess fries up.  The Spinning Wheel had good food, but there was nothing unique about it.

Dessert: A

I ordered a root beer float with the meal.  The ice cream was great, and it was refreshing after the hike.  I have no complaints.Spinning Wheel Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee, root beer float, and Greek gyro the cost was $15.  It was definitely a good amount of food for the price.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?

I liked the Spinning Wheel Diner, and it is one I would go back too at some point.  It’s a great stop along the way.  It’s a typical New Jersey Diner.

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

Question for you:
Have you ever had a root beer float?

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Gus’s Diner

A few weeks ago, I decided to try Gus’s Diner in Manalapan.  There aren’t a lot of diners in Central Jersey, and Gus’s is one of the few I haven’t been too.  I arrived for dinner on a weekday, and it wasn’t too crowded.

Atmosphere: B 
Gus’s Diner is modern and clean.  The front door is confusing, and we walked around the entire building before actually figuring out how to get in the restaurant.  After walking over several pieces of construction board, we made it into the diner.

Gus's Diner

The inside is a lot bigger than I imagined.  There weren’t a lot of parties inside so we had plenty of space.

Gus's Diner

Coffee: C
The coffee was average. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. I don’t have much to say.  They did give whipped cream in a dish instead directly on top.  For some reason I always find this comical.

Gus's Diner coffee

Food: C
There is virtually any regular option you could want at a diner with an entire page of specials.  If you want a stereotypical diner menu, Gus’s Diner is it.  I ordered the hummus appetizer special which came with pita bread.  

Then I decided to order the broiled scallops special with a sweet potato and broccoli.  It also came with a salad and dessert.  In summary, it was a lot of food.

The hummus appetizer was boring.  I don’t know if it was the way it was plated, but the appetizer was unappetizing and boring.  It looked like they took a container of boxed hummus, placed it on a plate and put a few pieces of pita bread on it.  It was a waste of money. It wasn’t bad, but I would have rather tried something else.  It looked like they didn’t care or try.

Gus's Diner

The scallops were from a frozen container and heated back up.  They didn’t taste bad, but they were also boring.  Same with the broccoli and sweet potato.  I had to request butter for the sweet potato.  Since the scallops were dry, I added butter on those too.  Butter makes everything taste better. Gus's Diner

The special came with pudding, so I chose the bread pudding (my favorite noncake dessert).  It was drenched with honey, but it was good.  I enjoyed the crispy crust too.  Out of the entire meal, the bread pudding was my favorite, but nothing stuck out to me.  Was the food terrible?  No.  Was it edible?  Yes.  Would I seek out the diner based on food?  Probably not.

Gus's Diner

It wasn’t a bad meal but just boring.  It felt like I could have made something similar at home.

Price: $$
For the coffee, scallops, and the appetizer it was $29.  It was pricey, but next time I won’t order the appetizer.

Overall: C
I have a meh feeling about Gus’s.  It’s not a terrible diner, but it’s not a diner I would go out of my way to go too.  If you are looking for a stereotypical New Jersey Diner, Gus’s is it.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: C
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: C
Price: $8-20
Overall: C

Questions for you:
Do you ever order off of the specials menu? 

Kenilworth Diner

At the beginning of the month, Danielle, Amelia and I met at the Kenilworth Diner in Kenilworth, New Jersey.  I had read it was one of the better diners in the area so I had high expectations for it!

Atmosphere: D

While the diner looks big from the outside, it’s an awkward layout. We were sat in the corner booth next to the door.  We sat in a room with about 10 tables and it was cramped. Upon leaving and driving away, I noticed there was a whole second section with a bar.  I would have preferred not to sit next to the door when it was 30 degrees out and there were dozens of other booths available.

Coffee: A
The coffee was Lacas brewed from the local Lacas in Pennsauken. It was hot, fresh and delicious. As I’ve mentioned before, Lacas is local and I always enjoy their coffee. The coffee was refilled, often and I have no complaints.

Kenilworth Diner

Service: C
The waitress at the Kenilworth Diner was aggressive and wasn’t overly friendly. I can’t put my finger on it, but it didn’t seem as if she wanted to be there.

Food: C
The Kenilworth diner has a huge menu. They have everything a typical diner would. After the holidays, I decided to finally have a healthy meal order a salad.

Online I read they were good portions and had a lot to them. I ordered the Greek salad with a side of salmon. The salad was small, but there were a few toppings. It was missing a few “typical” Greek salad items like onions, pita bread, and tomatoes but in total it was a decent salad. The salmon portion was huge and took up more space than actual salad.  If it’s an entree salad, it should come with some sort of bread.

Kenilworth Diner

Cost: $$
For my salad, coffee and side of pita it was $22. For the amount of food as well as quality, it wasn’t worth it.

Overall/Would I come back?
It was an okay diner, but not great. There are several in the area that I like much better that I would go too before the Kenilworth. The atmosphere, as well as the waitress, took away from experience as a whole. It was great to see Danielle and Amelia, of course, though.

Summary:
Atmosphere: D
Coffee: A
Service: C
Food: C
Cost: $$
Overall: C

Close by Diners:
Tropicana 
Park Wood 
Westfield

Questions for you:
What is the strangest restaurant layout you’ve been too?

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?