Littleton Diner (NH) Report
We went to Littleton, NH a few months back to visit the grist mill in town. During a tour of the mill, we were told that the Littleton Diner uses their flour exclusively for its pancakes. So, had it not been for a visit to Polly’s Pancake Parlor an hour earlier, we would have tried the diner out then. But pancakes twice in one day was not in the cards, so a repeat visit (detour) was in order and here’s some observations:
Upon entering the diner we noticed a musty smell, which, we assumed, emanated from the air conditioner. We also noted the grimy floors and got a general feeling of the place being unkempt. The plastic flowerpots hanging in the window are full of dust. Even the diner’s wooden sign outside is peeling, its colors faded. During our visit the place was not busy and the servers were just standing around chatting. There are those on these boards who will be more forgiving than I on matters of general cleanliness and overall upkeep of one’s business. Others may excuse such run-down establishments as being an expression of New England “chic” or of being “quaint.” I call it not only a lack of regard for one’s customer, but also sheer laziness and poor management. Let us say that the diner’s not much to look at.
The pancakes came in two flavors: whole wheat and buckwheat. The whole wheat were IMO superior to the buckwheat which were a bit dry and “cakey” in consistency. The wheat were slightly doughy in the center and both kinds were quite substantial, (a short stack of two would probably suffice for most eaters). Each order comes with a small bottle of Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup bottled exclusively for the LD by Maple Grove Farms in Vermont. A nice touch. The key here, though, is to pour as you eat, instead of covering the whole with syrup from the onset, in order to not have the thick cakes absorb all the syrup. I say this as you will have to pay two dollars for any additional bottles of syrup you may require. One of my pancakes also had a slight hint of burger grease and fried onions, which indicates that the cook was not capable of wiping his griddle effectively.
I didn’t try the fries, beef hash, burgers or anything else that the LD is known for. I did have a side of sausage patties which were commercial in quality and nothing to rave about (unlike Jigger’s Diner in East Greenwich, RI that makes theirs by hand).
For those who wish to taker their Littleton Diner experience home with them you may purchase personalized coffee mugs, tee-shirts, and even bags of their pancake mix (prepared by the Littleton Grist Mill).
The service was quite friendly and fairly attentive.
I would recommend trying the whole wheat pancakes and visit on a day when you can also tour the Littleton Grist Mill (a short walk away). While in town you can also see the World’s Longest Candy Counter (noted as such in the Guinness Book of World Records).
However, I think the Littleton Diner runs more on reputation and former glory than on providing their customers with quality food and experience. The food’s good enough, but I think the place has definitely seen better days.
Also note that the diner takes cash only. Conveniently there’s a bank with ATM next door.
I agree with your assessment of this diner. I've been twice and the only thing I like was the fries. They were awesome fries. But everything else you said was right on the money. In addition to what you tried, I've alse tried the corned beef hash, which is supposed to be popular and I found it so incredibly salty as to be inedible. It was also very dry.
The current owners are fairly new, from what I understand. The previous owners now run Topic of the Town, another restaurant further down Main Street.