Oregon Diner (Philadelphia)

Before leaving for Alabama, I found myself at the Oregon Diner in Philadelphia (How many states can reference in one line?).  I originally found it because there are huge signs for the Oregon Diner near the Walt Whitman Bridge.  Sometimes finding diners based on their signage can be a gamble but overall I enjoyed my trip to the Oregon Diner.

When we arrived, it was late.  Dinner around 8 pm is super late for me.  I wasn’t starving, but I knew if I didn’t eat I would wake around 2 am starving.

Atmosphere: A

The Oregon Diner is huge.  The outside has plenty of parking and could probably hold at least 200 people.

The inside has three rooms with plenty of booths and tables as well as a full bar.  Each room has its own personality.  We sat in a corner booth.

Service: A
Our waitress was hilarious and friendly.  It was clear she was a local favorite and had been working there for years. She was definitely in the top tier of waiters we’ve had.

Coffee: A
The Oregon Diner brewed hot and fresh local Lacas coffee.  The waitress also added more whipped cream than coffee.  It was the best combination.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

Food: A

The menu at the Oregon Diner is one of the biggest of any diner I’ve been too.  There are over 200 menu items and 20 pages.  Since I wasn’t too hungry, I ordered the pickled beets salad with salmon.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

The salad itself was a normal size, but the piece of salmon was huge.  I have not had a salad with salmon that is bigger than the salad itself.  It was one of the better salads I’ve had, and I was full afterward.  I have no complaints.

Cost: $
For the coffee and salad, the cost was $17.  For the amount of food, especially the amount of the salmon, it was a great deal. 

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?

I enjoyed the Oregon Diner and had a great experience.  Plus it’s closeby so I will definitely be back.  There are a bunch of menu items I want to try.  If you are ever in the local area, I would recommend it (and invite me too).

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

Overall: A
Questions for you:
Do you like beets?

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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?

Route 248 “Diner” (Easton, PA)

A while ago, I visited the Route 248 diner in Easton, PA.  Right before I moved to Alabama, I went to several out of state diners (like yesterday’s review at the Gateway Diner).  While my primary goal is to go every NJ diner, PA diners are often closer to me.  Plus I drive through PA frequently.

I arrived at the 248 Diner around 4 pm on a Saturday, and they were packed.  A packed diner is always a good sign that people like it.  The waitress informed me they had several large parties.

Atmosphere: B
The Route 248 Diner is clean, and it’s a nice atmosphere, but it reminds me more of a steakhouse, not a diner.  In fact, with the exception of the name, nothing even screams diner. There are plenty of big screen TVs, tables and a lounge with a bar.

Coffee: B
The coffee was fresh, but there was nothing unusual or unique.  It was boring and I forgot to take a photo.

Service: B
It was clear the bigger tables took precedence and everything about the service was slow. The waitress was very friendly but barely came to the table. When I went to pay at the front, there was a line of 8 people!  It actually took me about 15 minutes to stand in line and pay.

Food: B
The food at the Route 248 Diner is catered more towards a steakhouse as well.  They had several new dishes and I opted for their brand new salmon avocado salad.  It had avocado, bleu cheese, pico de gallo, feta and onions.

It was a good combination, and it was delicious.  There were plenty of greens, and the lettuce wasn’t white as many lettuce based salads are. Route 248 Diner

The salad, thankfully, came with dinner rolls with cinnamon butter. Personally, I prefer bread with my salads.  The cinnamon butter was unique and I liked it.Route 248 Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee and salad, the cost was $20.  I’ve had more and less expensive dishes so I can’t complain.

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

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
The Route 248 Diner wasn’t bad, but it isn’t a diner.  In fact, I honestly don’t know that it had any qualities that make it a diner.  That being said, it’s a good restaurant and the food is good.

Other Recent PA Diners:

Trivet Diner (Allentown)

Jumbars (Bethlehem)

Questions for you:
Do you generally like restaurant dinner rolls?
Is butter a carb?

The Gateway Diner (Albany, NY)

A few weeks ago, I was driving through Albany, New York.  While driving through, we were hungry so a quick google search led us to the Gateway Diner.

Atmosphere: B
The outside of the Gateway Diner has lots of lights.  It resembles a space ship or disco club.

The inside looks like it could be updated and it honestly seems like it’s right out of the 90s. It wasn’t bad; it just needed an update.  It’s an unusual combination from the outside to the inside.  Disco club outside and very 1990s inside.

Coffee: C 
The coffee was luke warm at best.  The whipped cream stayed intact on top of the beverage and didn’t melt.  I like hot coffee.  One of the biggest ways for me to dislike coffee is if it’s not hot.  Coffee is made to be either hot or cold.The Gateway Diner

Service: C 
The hostess took our drink orders and then forgot to bring them back.  After asking the waitress for coffee twice, she brought the coffee out.  Most of the staff was very nice, just forgetful.  We also went extended periods without seeing anyone, which was surprising because there weren’t many parties in the diner. Throughout our entire meal, there was never more than three parties in the Gateway Diner.

Food: B
The Gateway Diner has several options but surprisingly, not a lot of breakfast options.  I decided to order the sirloin off the specials menu.  It was a thin steak that came with three sides.  I chose a soup, french fries, and beets.

I ordered the cream of corn chowder.  I’m not sure if I have ever had cream of corn chowder before then.  There was plenty of corn plus it was hot.  I wish my coffee had been that hot.The Gateway Diner

The steak was tough, but the broth made it good.  I hate to say the steak relied on the broth but I think without it, I would be dousing my meal with ketchup.  The beets were great.  I enjoyed the French fries as well.  They were crispy and not overly greasy.The Gateway Diner

Gateway Diner

Overall my meal was pretty typical of a diner.  It wasn’t a fancy 5-star restaurant but it was a good meal.

Price: $
For my entree and coffee, the cost was $15 which was a great deal for the amount of food I received.  It wasn’t the freshest, but there was a lot of food.

Summary/Would I come back? 
I liked the Gateway Diner, and it was a good meal.  The service was slow as well as lukewarm coffee but it was inexpensive, and there was plenty of food.  If I’m in the area again, I will go back.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: C
Service: C
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B
Questions for you:
Do you like beets? 
What temperature do you like your coffee?

Trivet Diner (Allentown, PA)

A while ago, I was in Allentown, PA and decided to stop at the Trivet Diner.

Atmosphere: A
The Trivet Diner is everything you picture with a diner.  The outside is retro, shiny and metallic.  It almost looks out of place, as if someone dropped the diner right there in the modern shopping complex.

The inside is decorated and has a large bar, plenty of booths as well as plenty of tables.

Service: B
The service by the waitress at the Trivet Diner was great.  She was extremely friendly, refilled drinks and the food came out extremely quickly.  It was odd because one of the managers stood in the corner and stared the entire time.  It was at the point, it was somewhat uncomfortable for the diners (at least for my table).

Coffee: C
The coffee at the Trivet Diner was decent.  It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t my least favorite either.  I don’t have anything interesting about it.

Trivet Diner coffee

Food: C
The diner had plenty of options, but I had had a large lunch earlier in the day.  I decided to order the Greek salad with salmon.  Very rarely do diners have the actual option “Greek salad with salmon” so I went with it.

Trivet Diner salad

I was looking forward to trying it, and it was definitely interesting. When the salad arrived, I noticed the salmon had several lemons cooked inside. I have never had lemons cooked into the actual salmon before. To be honest, it was odd but it tasted fine.  There were also several lemons alongside the salad too.  It was like I ordered lemons with a side of salad.

The salad itself was typical of most diner salads.  There was minimal lettuce and toppings.  It wasn’t great but not awful either.  If I had been starving, I would have been disappointed.

Trivet Diner salad

Cost: $$
For salad and coffee, the cost was $16 which was expensive considering the amount of food and quality I received.  At least it came out quickly.

Overall/Would I Come Back?
It wasn’t a bad stop, but not amazing either.  If I’m back in the area, I’ll probably stop at a new place. I wouldn’t advise against it though.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: B
Coffee: C
Food: C
Cost: $18-20

Closeby Diners I’ve been too:
Jumbars (Bethlehem)
Whitehall Diner (my personal local favorite)
Golden Gate Diner

Questions for you:
Have you ever cooked lemons into your salmon?

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?