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Diner or Dive within 1 hour of NYC

  • b

Looking for a fantastic Diner or "Dive" with truely tasty home made food. Owners must be charismatic with an interesting story. They'll be featured on a national cable show, great for a small business, yet not ruinious for your favorite place.

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  1. if you can make it two hours - head on down to Moustache Bill's Diner in Barnegat Light, NJ on Long Beach Island.

    1. Steve's Luncheonette on Ocean Ave, Sea Bright NJ not the best looking place but a real good breakfast, the best waffles around, right across from the beach and only open 7am - 3pm this guy is my idol.....

      1. Long Island Restaurant on the corner of Atlantic and Henry in Brooklyn. No predictable hours, but the food is great. Run by a couple of sisters. Most often don't have a menu, they just let you know what they happened to cook that day. Also an estranged family connection with Montero's, a old longshoreman bar down the street.

        1. Sounds interesting, thanks. What's the name?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bryna

            It's called "Long Island Restaurant"

          2. I don't know if it's enough of a dive, or perhaps way too well-known, but Harold's NY Deli in Edison might fit your bill. I believe most of the stuff is "home made" including the pickles and cured meats. The owner formerly managed the Claremont Diner and also the Carnegie Deli, so he may have some compelling enough stories, and from the occasion I've seen him there he's pretty animated.

            4 Replies
            1. re: jzerocsk

              You forgot to mention the HUGE food they give you. One sandwich feeds four people with a few lbs of leftovers.

              Love the pickle bar!

              Everyone should pay a visit to Harolds once in their lifetime.

              1. re: jenniebnyc

                It's funny - I live close by and never knew about this place until my BIL mentioned it to me last weekend. He swore my husband and I had to go. I looked at their menu online and was appalled at the prices. Even for the amount of food you get - which certainly is enormous, I just can't see spending $36 for a plate of deli even if I'm going to have leftovers for days.

                Is the quality really that out of this world for a girl who grew up deep in the heart of Jewish Brooklyn or is this more for the uninitiated to delis and tourists? I think my BIL's ravings come more from the fact that he's not of Brooklyn Jewish decent and isn't used to what a "Jewish" deli is so it's more of a novelty to him and most likely, to many others.

                1. re: sivyaleah

                  you can get a somewhat smaller sandwich for a lesser price...and less leftovers.

                  surprisingly, the food is really good...matz ball soup, kinish, pastrami and corned beef are tastey

                  as good as brooklyn in years past or Katz's in NYC....no, but if you are nearby you should try

                  1. re: jenniebnyc

                    That's good to know. Deli for us is a treat and we don't want pounds of leftovers sitting in the house tempting us for days LOL.

                    I guess we should give it a try, we're only a few miles away. Thanks for the info :-)

            2. Maureen and Daughters Kitchen on Terry Road in Smithtown. Not a dive but great comfort food and adorable atmosphere - country cow motiff. Amazing breakfasts. Their pancakes and stuffed french toast and sooo delicious. We can never decide what to order there because we always want everything. Lunches are really good too. Always been a long line since I first went years ago no chance or "ruining" it. Of course, we moved to Westchester, far enough away that we can't get there very often anymore. The regulars may really hate me for this.

              2 Replies
              1. re: laylag

                On decor alone, I would vote for Maureens! Moo!

                1. re: L_W

                  Third vote for Maureens! This is our go-to place when taking my parents out for Mothers/Fathers Day. Nothing fancy but we all love it.

                  Orange chocolate chip pancakes! And the ham steaks. And the overstuffed grilled sandwiches. I could go on and on.

                1. Check out Leno's Clam bar in Pelham. Great road side food, great story.

                  1. I think the Peter Pan diner wins the "best diner in LI" award every year. It's just off of Sunrise Hwy in Bay Shore.

                    Me, I head to the Forum or Oconee Diner in Bay Shore and Islip respectively.

                    If you are up for a trip head to the Modern Diner in Jamesport, NY...I'd say about two hours from Manhattan with no traffic,,,,,,but worth the trip. Everything is fresh and homemade. Their specialites are mashed turnip, pies, bisques, soft shell crabs and lobster salad.

                    1. there's actually a perfect place that meets all of your criteria up in middletown, ct. the place is called o'rourke's diner, and it's renowned not only for its great food but also the classic, old-school railcar space complete with a formica top and counter stools, homey atmosphere, and quirky but engaging waitstaff and owners. beloved by people far beyond the middletown and wesleyan university communities. and it's about an hour and 40 minutes from midtown manhattan (100 miles).

                      it suffered a major fire last summer, though, and is currently raising funds so that it can rebuild. i don't know when they're going to reopen, but i've been hearing whispers that it's going to be sooner rather than later.


                      1. Jenniebnyc -- It's called the Modern Snack Bar and it's in Aqueboque (Rte 25) not Jamesport. I remember when the lobster sandwiches were $1.88 -- even then the cheapest lobster fix available. Their duck is good too but it is more than an hours drive from NYC. Closer to 2 hours.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: susanl143

                          thanks for the corrections.
                          right, that's what I said in my post...about two hours from the city.
                          drove past it today and it was closed?! .......as was just about everything else out there, except for Sang Lee...thank god. I needed a salad dressing fix!

                        2. probably just about one hour out of NYC proper (when you include traffic) is the venerable TICK TOCK of Clifton, NJ. been there for ages, loved by many, the best overall representation of everything a diner should be. the food is terrific all the time. they are 24/7 everyday of the year, too. right there on rt. 3 west.

                          1. Husband and I love these type of places - one you will never forget...It's in the Dive category with fabulous food and wise guy charm. The Belmont Tavern in Belleville on Bloomfield Avenue. Italian - Family Style -Family owned - old time bar - red and white checker table clothes. Specialty is Chicken Savoy. You can get wine by the carafe. The guy that seats you doesn't take names, he remembers the order you've walked in - after you get a drink and look around for a while for someone that is in charge, or will seat you - he just asks 'you want a table' - then tells you how many minutes. No list. And this place gets crowded. Old timers sit at the bar probably all day. Race horse pics on the walls. It's a Jersey institution. (Cash only - of course.)