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Dockside Diner (Long Beach Island)

Dockside Diner (Long Beach Island)

A few weeks ago, I met my coworker and friend, Lora D, on Long Beach Island. She’s a native of the area and suggested we go to the Dockside Diner.

Dockside Diner Long Beach Island

Atmosphere: A
As the name indicates, it’s located right on the Dock. You can watch the boats. The outside is rustic and made from wood.

The inside is a small, shore diner. When we arrived for lunch, it was packed, and we sat outside.

Dockside Diner Long Beach Island

Coffee: B
The coffee was good, and the waitress refilled it often. Nothing stood out, but I have no complaints.

Dockside Diner Long Beach Island coffee

Food: A
The Dockside Diner has all sorts of breakfast and lunch options. They are open on weekends for dinner too. Since it’s along the shore, there are a lot of seafood options.

I knew I wanted something seafood-related and decided on the Sailors Omelet which was stuffed with crab meat and topped with hollandaise sauce. It was delicious. I chose rye bread, which was drenched in butter, I could have used a little less, but it was good.

Dockside Diner Long Beach Island omelet

The side hashbrowns were cooked with just a bit of crisp (my favorite).

I enjoyed my meal and would order it again.

Service: A
The waitress was friendly, and our food came out quickly.

Cost: $
For my meal and coffee, it was $17.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I enjoyed the Dockside Diner. The meal was fresh, and there are so many different unique seafood options. The menu reminds me of a cute seafood cafe.

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

You can see all 253 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you like crab?
Where is your favorite beach?

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A Recap of 250 NJ Diners

A Recap of 250 NJ Diners

Since starting my NJ Diner quest, I’ve been to just over 250+ diners in New Jersey and about 50 diners in other parts of the world.  There are approximately 600 diners in NJ, but that changes from month to month.  I’ve been to at least ten that have since closed!

You can see reviews here or use the link at the top of the blog.

How did it start? Why do I go to diners?

I get this question a lot. 

My husband and I moved to New Jersey in October 2013.  Before moving to NJ, we didn’t know much about the state.  I had no ties to NJ. Like most people, I assumed it was just a densely populated state with a lot of traffic.

That’s just one misconception of the state. NJ is the most densely populated, but it also has hundreds of small towns, each having its own personality.  New Jersey is known as “the garden state,” and there are miles of fields and gardens.

stairway to heaven nj

We started going to different diners to see different parts of the state.  A diner along the shore of NJ is going to be far different than one on the outskirts of New York City.  It’s been a fun way to explore the state and see all different areas.

Do I only eat at diners?  No, of course not.  Have there been many weeks where I haven’t made it to a new diner?  Of course but it’s been a fun hobby to do. Plus I’ve seen so much of New Jersey!  I’ve traveled the majority of roads in NJ.

I started reviewing diners in March of 2014.  Keep in mind, this just a personal experience.  An experience at any restaurant is different depending on the day, time, or who you go with.  I’m not a diner professional, food critic, or anyone other than a person who likes diners.  I don’t eat the same thing at every diner. I used to think that was a good way to review, but then got tired of that very quickly.

Here are a Few Highlights and Lowlights:

First some of my favorite meals:

Favorite Diner Drink: Coffee, although some diners do have their liquor license
Favorite Breakfast: Omelets or steak and eggs
Favorite Omelet: Nova lox (smoked salmon)
Favorite Appetizer: Appetizers with a greek flair with hummus, pita bread, grape leaves. Many have a Greek flair to begin with.
Favorite Lunch: Gyro
Favorite Salad: Greek salad
Favorite Dinner: Pork chops, salmon, steak, (whatever I’m in the mood for)
The most unusual thing I’ve ordered at a diner: Octopus
Favorite Dessert: Cake followed by bread pudding

All-Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris

Mastoris isn’t a typical diner. It was one of the first 50 diners I went too and still one I frequent. It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake.   I think the food is excellent at Mastoris. However, I think the service is lackluster.  Is it the best overall? Due to service, maybe not but I like the food.

Mastoris Cake

But which cake to get?

Least Favorite Diner: The Ridge DinerLakehurst Diner, or Garden State Diner

Each diner was a letdown.

Diner review number 200, the Ridge Diner, had burnt crusty steak, poor service, and sitting on top of people.

The Lakehurst Diner outside of the Navy Base, Lakehurst, looked like a meal served right out of a deployment. Luckily, my company was good. Lakehurst Diner lakehurst nj

Diner went to the most times: Vincentown

I used to live closer to Vincentown.  Sadly, the quality of the food and service has gone downhill, so I haven’t been much at all.  I went from going three times a month to maybe once every few months.  Once the wait staff essentially assumed I was too young to afford my meal.  The woman said to me, do you realize how much this will cost? Yes, that is a true story, and yes the meal was less than $20.

Another time, we overheard another waitress talking about her stripping job.  Personally, I don’t care, but when you hear a waitress talking about that to co-workers, it’s a unique experience.

Here are a Few Diners that Stand Out to Me:

I guess many of my favorite diners are due to their cake.

Northwest:

Stateline Diner: Great cake and service

Jefferson Diner: Great food and service

Northeast (NYC area):

Brownstone: Best pancakes in the state

Chit Chat Diner: Fun and unique diner

Shore:

Mustache Bills: You can’t argue with mustache shaped pancakes

Mustache pancake

 

Central:

Tropicana: Most unique and Carribean themed!

Mastoris: Best all around

South:

Larrys 2: Great food, fast service

Larrys 2 vineland

Monarch Diner:

The Monarch Diner replaces PB Diner and it was a great replacement. The food is fresh and they have a lot of fun options like cauliflower bread.

monarch diner glassboro

Healthiest Diner: Silver Diner

The Silver Diner is a small 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.

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. 

Best Pancakes: 

Four Seasons in Toms River.  Any pancakes with red velvet in them are always good to me!Four Seasons Diner Toms River

Best Egg Breakfast: Amys Omelet House (Over 200 omelet choices!)

My nova lox and rye toast

Pauls Family Diner had great steak and eggs

Pauls family diner mountain lakes nj

Best Dinner Option:

The Pork Chops with NJ fresh Blueberries from Larrys 2

Larrys 2 vineland

Cheapest Diner: Angelos (around $5 for a meal)
Most Expensive: Alexis Diner or Vincentown (typically $20+ for a meal)
So cheers to 250 diners. Hopefully, I’ll make it another 100 but who knows what will happen.

Questions for you:

Have you been to a diner before? 

Where is your favorite place to eat? 

Rainbow Diner (Brick)

Rainbow Diner (Brick)

Recently I went to the Rainbow Diner in Brick, NJ, with my good friend Lauren. Lauren and I have been planning to go to the Rainbow Diner in Brick for a couple of years, but the timing never works out. We’ve been to other diners, but the timing never works for the Rainbow Diner.

Atmosphere: A
The Rainbow Diner sticks out on the main road. The big rainbow on top of the restaurant makes it hard to miss.

Rainbow Diner Brick NJ

The inside of the Rainbow Diner has plenty of booths, table, and a bar. You walk in and immediately see a dessert case.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good, but it wasn’t anything unique or exciting. I could have used more refill.

Rainbow Diner Brick NJ coffee

Food: B
The Rainbow Diner has everything you need in a diner. There are plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Plus there are more specials at the Rainbow Diner than most restaurants. They are well known for their chicken salad, egg platters, burgers, sandwiches, cole slaw, and tuna salad.

I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for and decided to order their pork chop special. The pork chop special had a sweet sauce with sautéed vegetables and came with a salad, potato, and a dessert.

Originally I asked to upgrade to a Greek Salad but they mentioned I would be charged for a regular portion and I didn’t need two meals. The house salad was good. It had beets with it, which was a fun addition.

Rainbow Diner Brick NJ side salad

The pork chops themselves were excellent. I liked the sweet sauce as well as the sautéed vegetables. I was surprised by how many vegetables there were. The pork chops were dry, but the sauce made it better.

Rainbow Diner Brick NJ pork chops

In all, they were good.  Lauren ordered a sandwich served with home fries which also looked good.

Service: C
The service was interesting. The hostess at the Rainbow Diner seemed like he had better things to do. It was a very awkward interaction.

The waitress took our order, but two different servers came back to ask specifics about the order. I didn’t know if the waitress was new or what the issue was.

Dessert: B
My meal came with a dessert, and I chose bread pudding. I appreciated how much bread crust there was. It was nothing overly special, but it was good.

Rainbow Diner Brick NJ bread pudding

Cost: $
For my pork chops and coffee, it was $20.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Rainbow Diner in Brick was a good stop, and it was by no means terrible, but it wasn’t my favorite in the Brick area.

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

You can see all 252 Diner Review Here.

Questions for you:

Do you like pork chops?

What is your favorite dessert?

Vicki’s Diner (Westfield)

Vicki’s Diner (Westfield)

A few weeks ago, I met Christine at Vicki’s Diner. Christine and I have been to many diners together, including one of my first 30. She was one of the first friends I made when I moved to NJ. We have both moved multiple times since.

Anyway, we arrived to Vicki’s Diner in Westfield around lunchtime. It was busy, but there was still plenty of booths and tables available.  Vicki’s Diner is one of two Westfield Diners. The other diner is Westfield Diner.

Vicki's Diner Westfield

Atmosphere: A
There are very few diners in the small towns of NJ. It’s fun to see a diner on a Main Street. Vicki’s Diner is the only diner on the main street of Westfield. It’s metallic and shiny and stands out in the storefronts.

The inside is what you imagine in a diner. There are plenty of booths, tables.m, and they fit a lot in a small diner.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, and was tasty. They brewed it well and one of the better coffees I’ve had.

Vicki's Diner Westfield coffee

Food: B
The menu at Vicki’s Diner has everything a diner typically has. There is plenty of breakfast, lunch, and even dinner too.

I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for. Then I saw there was a “jumbo salad” designed for two people. When I see a salad that is designed for two people, I always think it’s a good salad for me. More often than not, I’ve been disappointed with a salad size.

Vicki's Diner Westfield salad

I ordered salmon on it, and I was happy I did. The salad itself was good but could have used more toppings. The only thing that made it a “Greek salad” was the feta cheese and onions. It lacked toppings like pita bread as well as olives. In all, it was good, and the size was perfect for me. Most people would have to take some home.

Vicki's Diner Westfield salad

My issue with the salad was how it was packed. It was stuffed into a tiny bowl that looked pretty but once you attempted to eat it, it made a mess. I wish restaurants would use more practical dishes to plate food. If it barely fits into a bowl, how am I supposed to eat it?

Service: A
The waitress was kind, and the food came out quickly. I couldn’t have asked for a better service.

Cost: $
For my salad and coffee, it was $20.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked Vicki’s Diner, and if I’m in the area, I’ll be back. Westfield is one of my favorite small towns to walk around.  It’s fun to see a diner on the main street.

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

You can see all 251 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite salad topping?
What is your favorite walkable town?

Caldwell Diner

Caldwell Diner

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I flew to Essex County and went to the Caldwell Diner. It was fun to make 250 unique.
Caldwell Diner NJ

Atmosphere: A
The Caldwell Diner is located in downtown Caldwell. It’s located on the corner with plenty of parking (which can be challenging with diners in the downtown).

The inside has plenty of booth, tables, a full-length bar, and even a salad bar. It’s a cute, modern, diner.

Coffee: A
The waiter brewed a brand new pot of coffee, which was nice. He also added plenty of whipped cream which I appreciated. It was good coffee, and I couldn’t have asked for better coffee.
Caldwell Diner NJ coffee

Food: A
The Caldwell Diner has everything a diner has typically. There is all day breakfast, plenty of lunch, and dinner options, as well as specials. It even had a unique salad bar, which is something you don’t see in a lot of diners.
Caldwell Diner NJ salad bar

I decided to order the pork chops. Pork chops are one of my favorite dinner meals. It was a “complete meal” and came with the salad bar, soup, the meal, and even dessert.

The salad bar was good but could have used more dressing. The only options were ranch, oil and vinegar, Italian, and something else creamy. It had plenty of options, including two different kinds of greens, tomatoes, onions, beets, and mixed bean salad.  In all, it was one of the better salad bars I’ve seen.

For my soup, I chose the barley. It was hot and creamy, and I have no complaints.Caldwell Diner NJ soup

My pork chops were cooked well and were meaty. They weren’t overcooked but just the right amount. I chose broccoli and a baked potato. The entire meal was great, and I can’t complain.
Caldwell Diner NJ pork chops

Dessert: B
Since my meal came with dessert, I chose rice pudding to go. They packed it in a coffee mug, and I ate it in our airport while my husband filed the flight plan. I’ve never tried rice pudding before, so I have nothing to compare it too. It wasn’t overly sweet but good.
Caldwell Diner NJ rice pudding

Service: B

Our service started slow, but the waiter got better as time went on. The food came out quickly, which was nice because we were on a time crunch.

Price: $
For my entire meal and coffee, the coffee was $17.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:

I liked my meal, and the diner was good. I would go back.

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

You can see all 250 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you like pork chops?
What’s your favorite dinner meal?

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