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Jun 20, 2006 05:34 PM

Best diners in NJ

  • d

Hi. I am new to the board, but I always read posts and listen to advice given. I am trying to put together a book on the best NJ diners. Naturally, I have some my all time favorites throughout the state, but I know the state is loaded with diners, do I was hoping some of you could help me out and post your favorites.

As a child, I loved the Wildwood Diner. I also enjoy the Americana Diner in East Windsor and their new diner on Route 1 in Edison.

Thank you.

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  1. Well, a lot of my favorites are on the "GONE" list- Bosco's in South River, Clarksville in Lawrenceville, the Westfield Diner, etc. And, of course, the New Jersey Diner has been covered a few times already by other authors- Kaplan & Bellink in 1980's DINERS OF THE NORTHEAST and Genovese's more recent JERSEY DINERS. (I've got spare copies if you need 'em- as well as other diner books) and there's a few good websites, too (altho' "Dave's Diner Page" which was NJ oriented seems to be gone). You may want to post on the somewhat more diner-friendly forum on Roadfood and, with a lot less traffic since it's relatively recent, Roadside-


    11 Replies
    1. re: Jess Kidden

      Wow! Thanks Jess. I never knew about this website! I love it. Thank you again.

      1. re: Jess Kidden

        Westfield Diner is still there.

        1. re: Charlie

          It is? Sorry. I could have SWORN there was a series of newspaper articles a few years back about the diner and/or the land being sold out from under the couple who were running it at the time- articles even featured photos of them. (And, damn, I can picture what they looked like but can't remember their names).

          I quickly checked my file of articles on diners (hopelessly dis-organized) and couldn't find anything and, let me tell you, that's a depressing bunch of headlines to sort through-"Clarksville Diner to Nebraska"
          "Teamster Diner to Germany"
          "Lido Diner torn down"
          "Short Stop Diner devolves into a Dunkin Donuts"
          "Rosie's Diner to Michigan"
          "Classic NJ Diner moved to Montreal"....etc, etc.

          I used to have a good friend who lived in Westfield and another one in North Plainfield but both have since moved out of state and I've moved further south in NJ, so I don't get to the area much. I'm glad to hear the Westfield Diner is still there (altho' it would be nice if it was moved to someplace where it was situated correctly)- who's running it nowadays? I checked around the 'net but there isn't much info and it's not listed at
          (altho' that list, nice as it is with photos, is hardly complete).

          It IS the Westfield Diner I'm thinking of, right? Located perpendicular to the street, the windows facing a building next door, the "back" towards a parking lot? I checked my "diner library" but so many of those books, frustratingly, DON'T have indexes (including Genovese's)!

          1. re: JessKidden

            The diner that was moved from Westfield to Germany was called "Excellent Diner". It was a classic small metal diner and served good food.
            There is another diner in Westfield called "Westfield Diner". It is the more conventional modern diner. I haven't tried the food.

            1. re: val ann c

              "EXCELLENT"! Ah, yes. Thanks for that info (altho' it's a very sad outcome), Val Ann C. Now I can attempt to put my "office" area back together, maybe even try to sort all those articles by diner name or date.

              Did a quite Google, and find that the Excellent Diner was moved FROM Germany to Paris by....Disney (how sad is that?).

     (Page down about half way, to see a photo & brief paragraph.


              I DO find it real annoying, tho', that so many "Diner" books (I count about 20 on diners or roadside restaurants on my shelf) don't have indexes, or might list diners only alphabetically by diner name (so looking for a diner in a particular town is a problem).

              1. re: val ann c

                Westfield Diner - nothing special. Not bad but not great. Just your typical diner food although it is always mobbed. Nice management tho.

                I live close by. Not my first choice for diner food in the area - I'd go to the Scotchwood on Route 22 first, which is in Scotch Plains. Love the free mini chocolate chips at the front desk! They used to be even better - new chef, alas but they still are pretty good.

              2. re: JessKidden

                The Clarksville Diner moved to Decorah, Iowa (not Nebraska) -- you could have knocked me down with a feather when I found it when I went to school. Unfortunately the food wasn't really diner food anymore, and it's long since closed.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Nebraska-Iowa- all I remember is that it was too far to drive for breakfast and was no longer there when drove Route One to Pennsylvania to buy beer I couldn't find in NJ.

                  The Clarksville was partially destroyed by a drunk driver right after finally opening in Iowa and was eventually sold to owners in France (again!). I notice that it was on the National Register of Historic Places in *both* New Jersey and Iowa (and France, for all I know), so I guess that designation doesn't really mean much.

            2. re: Jess Kidden

              Man, I grew up about 2 mi. from Bosco& Turback's Diner in South River and do I miss it. I wanted to take my quintessential New England wife there for some good Polish food and found it closed. Where can one get good cheap Polish food in Middlesex County besides the bar in Perth Amboy?

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                There is a polish restaurant on Main Street in South River, it's pretty good & cheap. It's called something like Krakowiak(sp?). it's been there a few years.

              2. re: Jess Kidden

                Where in Maine did you enjoy your lobster? Try the A1 Diner in Gardiner, Me or take a look at the wood and brass diner at Maidee's in Ellsworth.

              3. Bill's Diner in Barnegat Light!

                My grandfather built it... great food.

                1. summit diner, in summit nj, used to be our favorite for bfast. huge slices of ham with their eggs.

                  1. Tick Tock Diner -- Rt. 3, Clifton (oh, the late nights and hamburger deluxes of my youth)...

                    Nevada Diner -- Bloomfield (ditto)

                    1. I don't visit diners often, but the Tick Tock is a good one. Good pancakes. My mother likes to go there when she visits from Maryland -- not too many Jersey-style diners in Maryland. Of course, we have to bring a bit of real maple syrup in there with us, because one of us is from Vermont. Most Jersey diners don't understand that pancakes require real maple syrup, not that fake crap.

                      Tried the Summit Diner once for dinner. The burgers were nothing special. The real appeal was the diner itself, the most ancient-looking diner I've ever been in.

                      Been to the Nevada Diner a couple of times. Didn't like the food that much, but it's an impressive-looking diner from the outside.

                      Students at Drew University in my day always hit the Broadway Diner (55 River Road in Summit near the Chatham border) for late-night food runs. I never liked it much myself though. Hated the damn showtunes and the Broadway theme. Really annoying.

                      There was a diner on North Ave. in Cranford with good food. The Rustic Mill, I think. Haven't been down that way in a while. Is it still there?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Ike

                        I graduated from Drew in '82, and I don't recall the Broadway even landing on the student radar map. We only went as far as the Nautilus Diner (which was not bad, but referred to as the Nauseous Diner by tradition)

                        1. re: rruben1

                          Hi there. I went to Drew from '93 to '97, so, a different era. Although we still referred to the Nautilus as the Nauseous. I'm not sure why we didn't just go to the Nautilus instead of the Broadway Diner since the Nautilus was closer and the food there was just as good, as I recall. Well, except for the nasty watery overpriced orange juice. Maybe the people who took me the Broadway were theater majors, now that I think of it. Most of them were cool, but everybody has a weakness or a failing. In their case, it was showtunes. Ack! Heh. (YMMV.)