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? 

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Landmark Diner (Charlotte, NC)

While traveling through Charlotte, my husband and I chose to stop at the Landmark Diner. It’s been on a Diners, Drive Ins and Dives so we figured it must be good. We got there around 7 pm, and the hostess told us there was a 25-minute wait. We were surprised but thought it must be good.

As we were waiting, the hostess rudely told multiple customers they needed to wait outside. Then she couldn’t remember or find the people she was looking for. For the 25 minutes we waited, we noticed multiple tables that weren’t being used and were perfectly clean. Needless to say, we started off on the wrong foot.

Atmosphere: C
The atmosphere of the Landmark Diner is outdated. They could use a makeover.

The outside has plenty of lighting and is easily spotted from the highway.

Service: F
I will preface this by saying our waitress was extremely friendly. She clearly had too many tables, but she took great care of us.

I can’t overlook how rude the hostess was. She threw our menus on the table, told guests they needed to wait outside and couldn’t care any less. Unforatetely, the hostess, is the first person we saw, and we watched her for close to half an hour.

The food in the kitchen also took almost an hour to come out. We saw multiple larger parties receive their food much quicker. By the time we received our food, we had been in the Landmark Diner for nearly 90 minutes.  With the exception of our actual waitress, it was by far one of the worst experiences I’ve had while dining out.

Coffee: A
The coffee at the Landmark Diner was good. There was nothing unusual about it, but it was often refilled and always warm.  It took a while to come out, but once it arrived, it was good.

Landmark diner charlotte

Food: C
After waiting about an hour for our food, I had no idea what to expect. The Landmark Diner has every stereotypical diner option you could imagine. I wanted to order the roasted leg of lamb, but they were out. I decided to go with their land and sea special. It came with 10 ounces of steak and shrimp.

The steak was good for a diner and seasoned well. Sometimes diner steak can be hit and miss.  The side of shrimp side was just as good. It was well seasoned with just a touch of old bay seasoning.

Landmark diner charlotte

The sides, however, were dry and stale. The sweet potatoes were doused in butter, and the French fries and onion rings were cold. Landmark diner charlotte

I liked the main entree but left the fries.

Dessert: B
While waiting to be seated, we had stared at the dessert for 30 minutes beforehand, and I knew I wanted the red velvet cake. We ordered the red velvet cake with vanilla ice cream. Like the mean, the main component (red velvet cake) was delicious. There was plenty of frosting, and the cake itself was moist. The ice cream, however, had freezer burn.

Landmark diner charlotte

Price: $$
For the coffee, meal, cake and ice cream the cost was $28.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?
The food was decent but I was so turned off by the hostess attitude as well as the lengthy wait, I probably won’t be back.

Summary:
Atmosphere: C
Service: F
Coffee: C
Food: C
Dessert: B
Price: $15-25
Overall: C

Questions for you:
Have you ever had a rude hostess or be asked to wait outside?
What’s the longest you’ve waited at a restaurant?

Brooks Launch 4 Shoe Review

The Brooks Launch 4 has quickly become a staple in my running rotation.  A month ago, my second pair of Launch 3 were getting beat up, so I needed a new pair of shoes.  I enjoyed the Launch a lot, so I decided to introduce the Launch 4 into my rotation.

Brooks is not paying me to review their shoes and I purchased the shoe myself.  All thoughts are my own!

Fit:
The fit of the Launch 4 has a few significant updates including fewer seams and it’s wider!  I barely wore a women’s size 10 in the Launch 3, and now a size 10 in the Launch 4 feels great.

Brooks Launch 4 Shoe Review

Feel:
The Launch 4 includes an entire extra strip of rubber at the bottom.  There are now 5 rows of rubber versus 4.  This means it’s more responsive to different forms of running. Brooks Launch 4 Shoe Review

The extra strip of rubber helps forefront cushioning as well as a smoother roll from the toe off.  What does this mean?

It feels like a smoother, less clunky shoe from the 3 (not that it ever felt clunky).

Weight: 9 ounces
Drop: 10 mm

Pros:

  • Cheaper: The Launch 3 was 110, and the Launch 4 is 100
  • More forefront cushion and deeper treads

Cons:

  • I have yet to find any

Current Shoe Rotation:
Saucony Freedom ISO (Long Runs, daily runs)
Brooks Ghost 9 (Long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Launch 4 (daily runs, tempos)
Saucony Type A (workouts)

Question for you:
What shoe are you currently running in?
What is your all time favorite shoe?

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?

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?

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?