Route 1 Diner-Restaurant (Lawrenceville)

Early in the month, I went up to the Route 1 diner in Lawrenceville, NJ.  I actually didn’t know this diner existed until recently, which is unfortunate because it’s only 30 minutes from me and 30 minutes from the base!

I got there on a Friday night, and they were packed.  The owner had me sit at the bar until a table cleared up.

Atmosphere: B
The Route 1 Diner appears like a cross between a diner and restaurant (as the name indicates).  The exterior is a typical building (versus a big metallic, shiny one) but the interior is all diner with a full-length bar, multiple booths, and table.  We sat near the drink fill-up station for servers, and I didn’t quite appreciate servers always reaching around us to fill up drinks.  Oh well!

Coffee: A
The coffee was piping hot, and the owner refilled it often.  I have no complaints.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

Service: C
I believe the service should be categorized into two parts.  The owner seemed to play a role in our experience because if it was just the waitress, the score would have been lower.  It took over 20 minutes to just take our order.  I watched our server go to almost every other table except ours taking orders, refilling drinks, and bringing food.  Once we did order, our food was our quickly, and for that I was happy.

Food: B
The Route 1 Diner has almost everything you can imagine from breakfast, lunch, specials and most dinner options.  I opted to order the stuffed shells.

The meal came with a bread basket which included cheesy bread.  Normal bread baskets are boring but including cheesy and cinnamon bread is a win in my books.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

My meal also came with a salad which was relatively green as far as diner salads go.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

I am not a huge pasta fan but stuffed shells or lasagna or two I do like.  The food at the Route 1 Diner was good.  The dish was a bit smaller than anticipated, but it wasn’t bad.  It was definitely hot, and I nearly burnt my tongue eating it.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

Dessert: D
I decided to order a cupcake.  The waitress asked if I wanted a “minion cupcake” or “Elmo”…I said Elmo because why not.  She came back with a minion cupcake, plopped it on the table and said it was all they had.  To be honest, nothing about the cupcake was pleasing.

Route 1 Diner restaurant Lawrenceville

The presentation looked sad, the cupcake itself wasn’t that great, and the waitress didn’t even come back beforehand saying “well all we had is this”.  I didn’t even finish the dessert which is rare for me (in fact it’s only happened at the Red Lion Diner and Sage Diner).

Cost: $
For my coffee, shells, and cupcake the cost was $18.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:

While I didn’t have the worst experience at the Route 1 Diner, I didn’t have the best either.  The owner was friendly and probably the only reason I would come back.

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

Nearby Diners I’ve Been: Micheal’s Restaurant, New Ewing Diner

Questions for you:
Have you ever had the owner of the restaurant wait on you?
What’s your favorite type of dessert?

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Galloway Diner

On August 21st, Cyd of New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and myself went to the Galloway Diner.  How do I know that precise date?  We also went and watched the Eclipse.  I took a photo that I’m proud of, which you can see here.  Around lunch time at the Galloway Diner, it wasn’t crowded at all.  Out of all of the diners I’ve been too, this is one of the biggest.

Atmosphere: A
It’s a stereotypical NJ diner.  The outside is chrome, and the inside has multiple booths, tables, and a full sized bar.  It’s beautiful and open, so you don’t feel like you’re sitting on top of anyone. As I mentioned, it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve ever been too or even seen!

Coffee: A
The coffee was hot and brewed fresh.  The waitress also refilled out beverages often.  It came from my favorite coffee roaster: Lacas.  I have no complaints.

Galloway Diner and Cafe

Service: B
It was the hosts first day, and she did a great job.  She was friendly, and I never would have guessed it was her first day on the job.  The waitress was friendly and gave us several recommendations.  However, the food was much slower to come out than anticipated.

Food: A
The Galloway diner has several pages including a specials page.  I had eaten a few hours earlier and wasn’t running much at the time, so I opted for something lighter. I decided to order the Greek salad with salmon which was a great size, and the presentation was excellent.  I will say it’s one of the largest pieces of salad salmon I’ve received.  Definitely one of the better diner salads I’ve had.  It had everything I liked and nothing I didn’t.  The waitress even asked if I wanted anchovies which rarely happens.

I will say it’s one of the largest pieces of salad salmon I’ve received.  Definitely one of the better diner salads I’ve had.  It had everything I liked and nothing I didn’t.  The waitress even asked if I wanted anchovies which rarely happens. I’m a huge anchovy fan!

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Dessert: A
I decided to take a black and white cookie to go, and it was great.  The cookie was soft with plenty of frosting.  It was one of the best cookies I’ve had!  Of course, I forgot to take a photo of the actual cookie.
Galloway Diner and Cafe

Cost: $$
For my coffee, salad with salmon and cookie, the cost was $22.  It was a bit more pricey than I anticipated but it wasn’t bad.

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?
I enjoyed the Galloway Diner, and I would go back.  The waitress was friendly, and there was plenty of space.  While it’s a bit more pricey for a diner, I don’t have any complaints.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Shore Diner , Northfield Diner

Questions for you:
What’s the biggest restaurant you’ve been too?
Do you like anchovies?

Malaga Diner

Earlier in the month, my dad was driving through and stopped for the evening at my house.  On his way South, we decided to go to the Malaga Diner.  There were a few Southern Diner choices, but we ultimately decided upon Malaga solely because my brother, Matt, is stationed in Spain near Malaga.  It seemed like a reasonable way to pick out a diner.

I had driven by the Malaga Diner a couple of years ago when I went to the Pegasus restaurant.

Atmosphere: A
When driving by the Malaga Diner, you can’t help but notice the diner.  There is a huge diner sign on route 40, and the outside has “Malaga Diner” on a big red light up sign.  There is enormous tinted windows and cobblestone on the sides.  You can’t miss it (in a good way)!

malaga diner

The inside is a stereotypical diner with plenty of booths, a full-length bar, and several tables.

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, refilled our beverages often and came over and chatted.  However, the food was very slow to come out.  We waited about half an hour which for the amount of people in the diner, I was surprised!

Coffee: B
I’ve had a lot of boring but good diner coffee lately.  There wasn’t anything bad about the coffee, and it was refilled enough, but like I mentioned nothing unique or unusual. 

Food: B
The Malaga Diner has everything a stereotypical diner has, no more and no less.  There are about 2 pages of breakfasts, 2 pages of lunch/dinner and a page of specials.

I ordered the Hungry Woman Special with French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and sausage links.  For those not familiar with diners, I would say about 75% of New Jersey Diners have a “Hungry Women Special”.  It’s a staple breakfast dish.

Thank goodness I took a photo because to struggled to remember everything that fit on the plate. malaga diner

The French toast was one of the best French toasts I’ve had.  They used big, thick, bread which is a definite must.  The rest of the meal was filling with nothing unusual, and I had no complaints, but the highlight was the French toast.  I liked everything but next time I might just end up ordering 10 pieces of their french toast.

Cost: $$
For the coffee and hungry woman, the cost was $12.  They did charge $1.50 for whipped cream in the coffee…some diners do, and some don’t.  For the amount of food, it was worth it.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Malaga Diner was a good stop, and I’m glad we finally made it down there.  I would definitely go again.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Service: B
Food: B
Cost: $6-15
Overall: B
Closeby Diners I’ve been: Pegasus, Elmer, Point 40

Questions for you:
Do you like French toast? 
What is your favorite way to eat eggs?
I like scrambled or over easy

Americana Diner (West Orange)

There are a lot of Americana Diners in the State of New Jersey.  There are also a lot of towns with the name “Orange”, but that  is neither here nor there.  

Last week my good friend, and New Jersey Isn’t Boring website owner and I, and I met up to go the Thomas Edison Historical Park and a diner.  She shares the same love of diners as I do, and we’ve been to about a dozen together.  

Atmosphere: A

The Americana Diner is located on a cute main street but sticks right out with its retro silver and chrome exterior.  The inside is just as stereotypical diner.  It seats about 25 and has a full-length diner bar, multiple booths, and tables.  

Image via New Jersey Isn’t Website

Coffee:  B

The coffee wasn’t anything unique or unusual, but it was good.  I had plenty of refills.  

Americana Diner West Orange Coffee

Like the diner itself, it was stereotypical (but good) diner coffee.  Americana Diner West Orange Coffee

Service: B 

The waitress was friendly and gave us plenty of time to order.  Since the diner was relatively empty, I expected the food to come out quicker than it did.  

Food: C

There are plenty of options at the Americana Diner, but it’s also not a 20-page menu like many others.  I wasn’t terribly hungry, so I ordered one of my diner classics (which I actually can remember the last time I did?), a Greek salad with salmon.

Americana Diner West Orange

The salad itself was a bit watery and could have used a few more greens but had olives, anchovies, and a lot of onions.  They added a lot of dressing so it was one of the better diner salads I’ve had but it wasn’t amazing. 

Price: $$

For my coffee, and salad with salmon, the cost was $17.  

Overall Thoughts/Summary:

I liked the Americana Diner, and it wasn’t a bad stop.  It wasn’t my favorite diner but it wasn’t a bad stop. I can always appreciate a metallic, chrome, diner. 

Atmosphere: A

Service: B

Coffee: B

Food: C

Price: $8-15

Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Tops, Nutley (one of my favorites) and Six Brothers

Questions for you:

What’s one of your favorite restaurant meals?

Park Wayne Diner (Wayne)

A few weeks ago, I was up north and decided to go to the Park Wayne Diner.  This isn’t to be confused with the Wayne Hills Diner which I went to last year.  Funny enough, this is the only diner in that area (including a personal favorite: Pompton Queen), that we didn’t fly too.  It was weird to drive through because it felt like such a long flight.

Atmosphere: A
You couldn’t ask for a more stereotypical New Jersey Diner.  It has a big, metallic, shiny exterior and the interior is filled with multiple red tables and booths.  Out of the diners I’ve been too, this definitely has one of the most stereotypical diner atmospheres.Park Wayne Diner

Service: B
For a weekend morning, it wasn’t as busy as I had anticipated.  That was okay by me!  The waitress didn’t bring us a lot of refills, and it felt as though they might be understaffed for the day.  She was friendly and gave us several recommendations which I can always appreciate.  It wasn’t bad service, but they needed more servers.

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot every time, but it was nothing to write home about.  The cups were also a bit smaller than I wanted.  It wasn’t bad but it didn’t stand out either. Park Wayne Diner

Food: B
The menu at the Park Wayne Diner is huge.  They have a dozen pages. Since they are open 24-7, they serve anything anytime.  Those are my favorite types of diners, but it’s not as common as it used to be.  Believe it or not, 24-7 diners are becoming harder to find.

I decided to order the arugula, spinach, and cheese omelet with a side of grits.  It was one of the biggest omelets I’ve ever had, plus it was stuffed filled to the brim. Park Wayne Diner

The grits, however, were boring and bland.  Since it’s rare to find grits in the Northeast, I was hoping they would be more interesting, but they tasted like they came from a box.  Yes, I realize that I’m not in the South but there are plenty of restaurants that serve excellent foreign cuisine, and I don’t live there either.

Cost: $
For the omelet, grits, and coffee the cost was $12 which wasn’t expensive for the portion size.

Overall thoughts:
You won’t find a more stereotypical NJ Diner then the Park Wayne Diner.  Overall, I enjoyed my experience there and will definitely be back next time we go hiking up that route.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve reviewed:

Pompton Queen  (one of my top 5 favorite NJ diners!) and Wayne Hills
Also relevant: Flying to Pompton Plains

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite type of omelet?
Where can I find southern style grits in NJ or Philadelphia?

Hampton Diner (Newton, NJ)

Lately, I’ve been to a lot of North Jersey Diners.  The Hampton Diner has been on my to do list for a while. However, it’s almost 2 hours from my house.  I could drive there and back, but it would be a 4 hour day and between tolls, not my cheapest endeavor.  So finally, when I was already in the area, I stopped by.  Surprisingly, the Hampton Diner is not in “Hampton” but in Newton, NJ.  To my knowledge, there is not actually a “Newton Diner.”

Atmosphere: B

The Hampton Diner is a big, normal, building.  While it’s decorated, it almost feels as though it’s missing a sign at the top.  There is a street sign, but it needs an actual sign inside.  The inside is large with plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

Coffee: A

The coffee at the Hampton Diner was good.  It wasn’t the best I’ve had, however, it was often refilled. When I needed a refill, no less than 3 servers asked.  How awesome is that? I have no complaints. Hampton Diner Newton NJ

Service: A

The service at the Hampton Diner was at the top.  As mentioned, when I needed more coffee or beverage refills, I was asked by three different people.  The food came out quickly too.  It was in the top 10% of diner services I’ve had.

Food: B

The Hampton Diner has plenty of options.  The Hampton Diner has one of the bigger diner menus I’ve seen.  There are plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.

I’ve heard positive things about their pancakes, so I ordered banana pancakes.  They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t life changing either.  They were light and fluffy and had several bananas chunks mixed in.  Plus they were each about the size of my hand.

Hampton Diner Newton NJ
My apologies for the lighting situation there

Cost: $

For the pancakes and coffee, the cost was $11.  Not a bad price.

Thoughts/Would I Come Back?

I enjoyed the Hampton Diner.  It wasn’t my favorite diner but not a bad stop either.  When I’m back in town, I will go back.  I will say, the service was excellent and it was worth the stop for that alone.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: B
Price: $8-12
Overall: A

Nearby Diners I’ve been:  I haven’t explored too many around Sussex but the closest is the Jefferson Diner (a top 5 of mine!)

Questions for you:
What is your favorite kind pancakes?

Budd Lake Diner

Recently, I went to the Budd Lake Diner in Mount Olive, New Jersey.  I went on a Monday for lunch, and it was fairly busy.  Luckily, there was plenty of parking.

For some reason, I had it in my mind the Budd Lake Diner was going to be a metallic diner.  It wasn’t, but it was still nice.

Atmosphere: B
The atmosphere of the Budd Lake Diner is different than what I anticipated, but it wasn’t bad.  For some reason, I expected it to be in a big, shiny, metallic building.

The outside is actually a square, cobblestone building while the inside is what you expect in a diner.  There are plenty of booths, several tables, and a full-length bar.  It took a while to locate the dessert case which is hidden in the back.  I would have ordered dessert, but I couldn’t see it well.  I wanted a giant diner cookie to go, but they didn’t seem to have them.

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed fresh, and the waitress refilled it often.  While there was nothing unique or extraordinary, it wasn’t bad either.

Budd Lake Diner Mount Olive

Service: B
The waitress at the Budd Lake Diner seemed a bit standoffish.  She was never rude but wasn’t welcoming either.  She refilled our beverages and brought our food out quickly.   It was one of the faster restaurants we’ve been too!

Food: C
The Budd Lake Diner serves everything 24-7.  You can get a steak at 4 am if you want it.  I always appreciate 24-7 diners because you can usually get any food you want at any time.  Breakfast at 10 pm? Or dinner at 6 am…

I ordered scrambled eggs, with “Taylor ham,” and hash browns as well as buttered rye toast.  I was disappointed with the portion size of the food.  Normally scrambled diner eggs are light and fluffy, but these just tasted packaged.  The Taylor Ham was good, and it’s hard to mess up toast.  Was it the greatest diner meal, I’ve had? No, but it was edible.  It was one of the smallest portions of food I’ve received!

budd lake diner mount olive

Cost: $$
For my meal and coffee, the cost was about $11.  It was expensive for the quality and quantity of the food.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back? 
The Budd Lake Diner wasn’t a bad stop, and it was a typical diner in New Jersey.  There wasn’t anything unique or unusual to draw me back, and I found it more pricey for the quality and quantity of food.

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

Nearby Diners I’ve been: River Star, Randolph, and Jefferson (on of my top 5)

Questions for you: 
What is your favorite way to eat eggs? 
New Jersey friends: Is it, Taylor Ham or Pork Roll? 😉