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where can i find a new jersey style diner in so cal

JimmyC Feb 25, 2008 08:01 AM


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  1. Das Ubergeek RE: JimmyC Feb 25, 2008 10:44 AM

    There aren't any. I grew up in New Jersey and there are no real diners in LA. There are places you can get the food -- Tallyrand in Burbank, for instance -- but not a real diner. And Kate Mantilini, which was the suggestion the last time I asked, is most definitely NOT a real diner.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek
      Foodandwine RE: Das Ubergeek Feb 25, 2008 02:20 PM

      whenever I visit my parents in Toms River I go to those places for breakfast... they have the largest display of desserts in those cases that turn around Hmm cheesecake for breakfast anyone??

      1. re: Foodandwine
        Das Ubergeek RE: Foodandwine Feb 25, 2008 06:56 PM

        Yeah... the other night at Katella Grill I thought, "God, all they need is the jukeboxes in the booths and a revolving display case..." What a shame the food was meh.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek
          HikerGrl63 RE: Das Ubergeek Mar 5, 2009 03:15 PM

          The food was "meh"? Wow - you need to go back! Maybe they had an off night or something because I have been going there for years with my family and the food is tremendous - especially anything BBQ! They also have really great breakfast skillets and omelettes that you can create yourself. I suggest you try the place again.

          1. re: HikerGrl63
            Das Ubergeek RE: HikerGrl63 Mar 5, 2009 09:13 PM

            I've since been back (and not by my own choice). The service was atrocious -- they were horribly understaffed -- and I stand by my original opinion of "meh".

            You're not thinking of the Katella Deli in Los Alamitos? I like that place... the Katella Grill near the Honda Center, no, not so much.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              HikerGrl63 RE: Das Ubergeek Mar 6, 2009 05:30 PM

              I'm guessing you must go when they are packed before a concert or Ducks game then. Like I said, I've been going there for years with my family before Angel games and have never had terrible service - you must be one unlucky guy! That's too bad - you're missing out on some great food.

      2. re: Das Ubergeek
        sobriquet RE: Das Ubergeek Mar 6, 2009 01:42 AM

        You want a dive diner? The Original Pantry downtown.

      3. g
        glutton RE: JimmyC Feb 25, 2008 10:45 AM

        What makes a diner "new jersey style"? I, of course, could make all sorts of allusions to Bon Jovi, big hair, and that type of stuff, but I suspect that you're describing something a bit less stereotypical than that...

        10 Replies
        1. re: glutton
          katydid13 RE: glutton Feb 25, 2008 07:14 PM

          NJ-style diners are typically open 24 hours, feature a mix of booth and counter seating, have mile-high cakes and meringue pies in a prominently located display case (which might or might not feature revolving racks), have menus with a dizzying array of options (any ethnic emphasis tends to be Italian and/or Greek) that always include several burgers and club sandwiches, serve everything on the menu at any hour (except for noted lunch and dinner specials), have a senior-citizen menu on the back page of the "real" menu, occasionally feature small jukeboxes in each booth, have middle-aged-and-older waitresses who do indeed call you "Hon," serve strong coffee with unlimited refills, and are almost always located on busy highways. Let's see, I'm sure I'm forgetting something. But those are the basics.

          1. re: katydid13
            sku RE: katydid13 Feb 25, 2008 08:31 PM

            Sounds like Dupar's.

            1. re: sku
              wutzizname RE: sku Feb 25, 2008 08:47 PM

              Negative. Dupar's is way more expensive, not very good, and their menu is about one-fourth the size. Jersey Diner menus are much more akin to something like Canter's, just minus all the Jewish Deli stuff.

              1. re: wutzizname
                katydid13 RE: wutzizname Feb 26, 2008 06:13 AM

                Ah yes, I forgot to mention prices: cheap.

                1. re: wutzizname
                  Servorg RE: wutzizname Feb 26, 2008 06:23 AM

                  As someone else in this thread already recommended, (irishkevbo) the Harbor House Cafe in Dana Point and Sunset Beach in the OC are probably going to be as close as one can come out on this coast.


                  1. re: Servorg
                    JimmyC RE: Servorg Feb 26, 2008 06:27 AM

                    looks good servorq ill try it

                    1. re: Servorg
                      Das Ubergeek RE: Servorg Feb 26, 2008 08:44 AM

                      Yeah... it's diner food but not in a diner atmosphere. I like it though.

                2. re: katydid13
                  Chowpatty RE: katydid13 Feb 26, 2008 08:09 AM

                  Not the best food in the world, but it seems to me Astro's in Silver Lake
                  - is open 24 hours
                  - has the revolving desserts case
                  - has a big menu with some Greek options
                  - serves everything at every hour
                  - not sure about the senior citizen's men
                  -No jukeboxes,
                  - Coffee is eh.
                  -Located just off the 5 and the 2.
                  Pretty close?

                  1. re: Chowpatty
                    sku RE: Chowpatty Feb 26, 2008 11:17 AM

                    I used to really like Astro's and its sister diner Jan's, but I feel like they've declined a lot over the last few years.

                  2. re: katydid13
                    mnosyne RE: katydid13 Apr 3, 2008 09:55 AM

                    They have sensational rice pudding!

                3. DanaB RE: JimmyC Feb 25, 2008 10:59 AM

                  There really isn't anything identical to a Jersey-style diner in Los Angeles. Your best bet to find something similar would be to check out one of the old-time coffee shops, like Pann's.


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: DanaB
                    PepeOB RE: DanaB Feb 25, 2008 12:20 PM

                    Earlier posts are correct in that you won't find any "authentic" NJ diners in LA, but you can find coffee shop type diners that come very close. My favorite is Nick's Coffee shop on Pico, just west of La Cienega. They have counter seats, great servers and the best bacon/egg/cheese sandwich in town. Feels like home to me.

                    1. re: PepeOB
                      mungus RE: PepeOB Feb 26, 2008 10:42 AM

                      And the menu at NIck's is ridiculously long. It's like a historical document featuring food trends through the years.

                      1. re: PepeOB
                        carly_mizzou RE: PepeOB Oct 21, 2008 05:20 PM

                        Nicks is in fact Awesome, though I can't say much for anything other than breakfast. I can say, this is THE FRIENDLIEST DINER EVER! No kidding the employees are all so kind and many of them "family"

                    2. w
                      woofer RE: JimmyC Feb 25, 2008 12:38 PM

                      where can you find them? jersey. they don't even call them diners out here. it's "coffee shops". i'm from jersey and i tried when i moved here 11 years ago to find a diner, a pizza joint, deli and normal east coast egg rolls. it's a no-go.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: woofer
                        Das Ubergeek RE: woofer Feb 25, 2008 01:29 PM

                        The diner is a no-go, but the others are absolutely findable. Brent's for the deli, Vito's for the pizza, and a few places (search for "NY egg rolls") for the egg rolls. You can even get pork roll (Taylor ham).

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                          woofer RE: Das Ubergeek Feb 25, 2008 02:08 PM

                          i have to disagree. brent's and vito's don't rate very highly with me.

                      2. l
                        LisaN RE: JimmyC Feb 25, 2008 01:47 PM

                        I grew up back east and have found some places that fill the need - no where is going to be exactly the same.

                        Nico's Family Restaurant and Coffee in Canoga Park
                        Harry's in Burbank

                        They both have a varied menu, daily specials and the food and atmosphere are close to a back east diner.

                        Nico's Family Restaurant
                        7166 Shoup Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91307

                        Harry's Family Restaurant
                        920 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA 91504

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LisaN
                          Mr Taster RE: LisaN Sep 20, 2008 11:47 PM

                          Yes yes yes to Harry's.... it's not identical, but it's about as close as this born and bred Ocean County, NJ boy has seen out here. Their hash browns are really good.... well seasoned. Order them well done.

                          Mr Taster

                        2. i
                          irishkevbo RE: JimmyC Feb 25, 2008 02:41 PM

                          Harbor House in Dana Point, it's money!

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: irishkevbo
                            joshekg RE: irishkevbo Apr 3, 2008 01:49 PM

                            Harbor House is definitely not like a Jersey diner; its menu is far too small and the atmosphere is much different. I did get them to make me a passable version of disco fries (obviously could not order it as such). I've also had disco fries at Barney's on 3rd street promenade (just have to tell them what to do) that were ok. But I have yet to find something even close to a Jersey diner out here (maybe there just aren't enough greeks?).

                            1. re: joshekg
                              Servorg RE: joshekg Apr 4, 2008 06:27 AM

                              Harbor House has a menu that is too small? Are we talking about the same Harbor House (locations in Sunset Beach and Dana Point)?


                              1. re: Servorg
                                Das Ubergeek RE: Servorg Apr 4, 2008 07:49 AM

                                I think the point is that diners have odd extensions of their menu into "fancier" eats like shrimp scampi. Nobody in their right minds ORDERS stuff like that in a Jersey diner, but dinners (liver and onions, meatloaf and the like) are available if you want them.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                  Servorg RE: Das Ubergeek Apr 4, 2008 08:04 AM

                                  They do offer Liver and Onions, and I say anyplace that offers 25 sandwiches and 12 types of burgers, plus some "Chinese" dishes on their menu and is open 365/24 measures up by any "diner" standard" you might want to apply. ;-D>

                                  1. re: Servorg
                                    JeetJet RE: Servorg Apr 5, 2008 06:05 PM

                                    I agree. Harbor House has the menu of a NJ diner. I wish the Sunset Beach location had a longer counter. The NY steaqk and eggs is done very well. The Hobo potatoes are good too. I have not been to the NOHO diner for a while but they do it right also.

                              2. re: joshekg
                                irishkevbo RE: joshekg Oct 21, 2008 03:13 PM

                                Harbor House has a monster menu, I must be missing something...

                                1. re: irishkevbo
                                  Mr Taster RE: irishkevbo Oct 22, 2008 01:46 PM

                                  It's a very specific thing, with a very specific vibe. 1,000 different tiny elements have to be there in order for it to feel authentically "Jersey"... not just the huge menu.

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                    irishkevbo RE: Mr Taster Nov 4, 2008 02:40 PM

                                    I would agree since I've been to a New Jersey Diner. The criticism was that the menu was not large enough. Which is false. Also Besides the real italians running the diner Harbor House is as good as any New Jersey Diner I've been to. And I'll add without all the morbidly obese people in the booth next to you.

                            2. l
                              LisaN RE: JimmyC Feb 26, 2008 12:41 PM

                              I've never been, but Beep's in Van Nuys looks like it might qualify. Anyone been

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: LisaN
                                annalulu RE: LisaN Feb 27, 2008 06:37 AM

                                I've been to Beeps. It's more of a fried food/burger joint. Very small indoor seating area, no counter, actually, no waitresses, it's order at the counter (or the outside window) and wait for your number to be called.

                                Pretty good burgers/fries, though. And they serve hot dogs 10 different ways.

                                1. re: annalulu
                                  JimmyC RE: annalulu Feb 27, 2008 06:40 AM

                                  beeps sounds interesting

                              2. a
                                apple7blue RE: JimmyC Apr 3, 2008 12:19 AM

                                katydid13's description, What about Norm's? Polly's Pies isn't 24 hours but that also fits . . . People cannot claim that Norm's isn't a diner. http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2006...

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: apple7blue
                                  Das Ubergeek RE: apple7blue Apr 3, 2008 09:31 AM

                                  It's not a diner. It's a chain restaurant based on a diner. It's also terrible.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                    apple7blue RE: Das Ubergeek Apr 4, 2008 03:01 AM

                                    it's a chain of diners, but I wouldn't disagree with you about it being terrible, on the other hand, from most literature I read diner food described as greasy food that is supposed to taste like that, maybe it just got the wrong take in culture . . .

                                    1. re: apple7blue
                                      Das Ubergeek RE: apple7blue Apr 4, 2008 07:47 AM

                                      I spent the formative years of my youth looking broody in diners all over Central New Jersey and pretending I was a rebel for going to billiards parlours and smoking, and I can tell you categorically that the food at Norms is much, much worse than in a "real" diner.

                                      I wouldn't call La Palma Chicken Pie Shop a diner either, but Harbor House has at least some of the food.

                                      1. re: apple7blue
                                        Das Ubergeek RE: apple7blue Apr 6, 2008 11:33 AM

                                        I grew up eating in "real" diners. Norms ain't it.

                                      2. re: apple7blue
                                        JeetJet RE: apple7blue Apr 6, 2008 07:52 AM

                                        Ube is correct that Norm's is not a diner. Yeah, that means apple is wrong. The history of the "diner" has been discussed here so many times. LA no longer has any diners. A diner is a prefab building with a counter and a kitchen. Some offered booth service also. Termites, development and lack of concern for history killed them all in LA. Phil's Diner is long gone because of the subway which brought a condo project. Phil's was at 11138 Chandler Boulevard, North Hollywood. I talked to the owner about it two years back. The prefab building was up on blocks around the corner. He said he was going to re-open some day. Do a search of diners on Chowhound.

                                        IMO, Ube and apple are both wrong about at least some of the food at Norm's. Maybe it is just from eating there for decades (like Casa Bianca pizza to some others) but I do like the steak and eggs with those perfect hash browns. The Googie cafe ambiance at Norm's is cool also and IMO helps make the food seem even better. The art deco ambiance of most diners also seems to help make the food seem better IMO.

                                        Diner, for pics of diners like da ones back home in NJ. Also click on "diner facts."

                                        Phil's Diner, RIP

                                        1. re: JeetJet
                                          ozhead RE: JeetJet Apr 22, 2009 04:09 PM

                                          Norm's has very good hotcakes. That's about it. The "Four Deuces" breakfast (2 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 strips bacon, 2 hotcakes -- $3.99) isn't a bad deal, particularly since you can do some subbing (e.g., 4 sausages or 4 strips bacon instead of 2 & 2, biscuit and gravy for the hotcakes). But by the time you add in coffee (a ridiculous $1.79), tax and tip, that sucker ends up costing you more than $7, and it ain't a $7 breakfast.

                                        2. re: apple7blue
                                          Mr Taster RE: apple7blue Sep 20, 2008 11:49 PM

                                          Norm's is as much a diner as Denny's is.

                                          Mr Taster

                                    2. s
                                      socal RE: JimmyC Apr 3, 2008 11:41 AM

                                      I immediately thought of the Diner on Main in Alhambra.

                                      201 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801-3403
                                      (626) 281-3488

                                      I've only been there a couple of times, and it is not open 24 hours, but it's a decent place. They serve a wide variety of traditional diner plates and I think they do all foods at all hours and it's not too pricey.

                                      Also, in a very non-diner way, they have a full bar.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: socal
                                        Bria Silbert RE: socal Apr 3, 2008 01:07 PM

                                        The food is inedible but Dolores' on Santa Monica Blvd. in West L.A. aspires to be a diner.

                                        1. re: Bria Silbert
                                          kevin RE: Bria Silbert Apr 3, 2008 10:46 PM

                                          dolores has some of the worst food i have ever had. but it does have the feel of stopping off at a diner in the middle of nowhere. also, there menu ain't that large at, the suzy q's potatoes are atrocious and to my knowledge there just ain't any jubeboxes whatsoever.

                                          1. re: kevin
                                            apple7blue RE: kevin Apr 4, 2008 03:02 AM

                                            There are jukeboxes at Mel's Diner . . . I should have mentioned them, their food is good and they are open 24/7. I think there are 3 around the WeHo, North LA, Sunset, Hollywood areas . . .

                                            1. re: apple7blue
                                              wutzizname RE: apple7blue Apr 4, 2008 07:58 AM

                                              Norm's & Mel's are to New Jersey diners as, say, Noah's is to New York bagels, or Sizzler is to Kansas City steaks. Corporate mutations that render them void. That's not to say that some people don't find value in them. They just cannot be compared to, or substituted for, the original article.

                                              1. re: wutzizname
                                                apple7blue RE: wutzizname Apr 6, 2008 06:19 AM

                                                Not that I disagree that it may be a poor comparison for what you are describing, but Norm's and Mel's are hardly corporate giants . . .

                                      2. m
                                        Mr Grub RE: JimmyC Apr 4, 2008 11:11 AM

                                        East Coast diners originated after WWII as converted rail cars dropped along the roadside so folks could drop in any time for a quick, cheap short-order bite in a basic booth or at the counter. Simply didn’t happen on West Coast, so no “authentic” diners here.

                                        Some faux diners tho: late, unlamented Ed Devebic’s, Edie’s in the Marina, mini-chain Frisco’s in City of Industry. Right spirit, wrong vibe.

                                        Our substitute for diners were coffee shops (& to a lesser extent, bowling alley joints), many good ones already mentioned. Pann’s & Duke’s fill the bill here.

                                        In the hearts of NJ ex-pat Grubs, the closest to the diner vibe in LA is Nick’s on Spring just north of downtown. (Not to be confused with the terrific International House of Grease that is Nick's Coffee Shop, previously mentioned.) HUGE difference, however – Nick’s open only for bfst & lunch, so the whole 24-hr-drop-in-anytime thing is missing.

                                        Sadly, after 30 years of looking, we have concluded that the East Coast diner simply does not exist here & prob never will.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Mr Grub
                                          apple7blue RE: Mr Grub Apr 6, 2008 06:20 AM

                                          There is a converted rail car actually on Sunset Blvd, the cuisine is probably faux or not even intended to be diner chow . . .

                                          1. re: apple7blue
                                            Servorg RE: apple7blue Apr 6, 2008 07:45 AM

                                            Best chili cheese dogs in LA (others have their various favorites) by my taste buds, Carney's on the Sunset Strip, (plus they have one on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City near Coldwater).


                                        2. Baron RE: JimmyC Apr 5, 2008 05:43 PM

                                          I’m from Jersey and have fond memories of the St George Diner in Linden. Nichol’s in the Marina, near Jerry’s Deli, is as close as I’ve found to a Jersey style diner. They have a counter with stools, serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and the waitress’s might even call you “Hun.” Food's good too.

                                          1. j
                                            jackattack RE: JimmyC Apr 7, 2008 05:48 PM

                                            How about "Cafe 50's"?

                                            Haven't been for a while but it used to be decent.

                                            1. b
                                              bicknell_hill_sm RE: JimmyC Apr 7, 2008 06:11 PM

                                              Cafe Fifty's go ot the one in Venice it's a total hole inthe wall, Izzy's ( think it's on Wilshire- West) and that other one over towards the airport off of Lincoln accross from the soup plantation...the name escapes me... Jerry's Deli...the closest stuff to east coast livin'. Believe me I searched, maybe not hard enough...this is all LA ...Oh and my all time favorite is attached to the bowling ally right on Pico and Main...OH MAN I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE that place. They also had sugar free syrup and Diet Dr Pepper...that helped...oh and their fries were BOMB!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: bicknell_hill_sm
                                                Das Ubergeek RE: bicknell_hill_sm Apr 7, 2008 08:34 PM

                                                I couldn't recommend Izzy's "Deli" (which is at Wilshire and 15th) to someone I was trying to kill. Picture Jerry's Famous Deli (and the huge menu with all the things they don't know how to make -- how can you @$#% up a pastrami on rye?!) and add in slower service, dirty booths, higher prices and you get a picture of Izzy's.

                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                  bicknell_hill_sm RE: Das Ubergeek Apr 7, 2008 09:47 PM

                                                  Yeah, that's NJ...hahaha I kidd...no but seriously that's the closest to NJ food I found out there...i.e. kosher dill, knishes, matza soup, reubens, etc...reminded me of NYC too, better then nothing i guess?

                                                  1. re: bicknell_hill_sm
                                                    Das Ubergeek RE: bicknell_hill_sm Apr 7, 2008 10:25 PM

                                                    Well, that's a deli you're talking about and you need to go to Brent's because it will change your mind about (ick) Jerry's.

                                                    For a DINER, though, none of those are diners. Diners are run by Greeks and feature greasy hamburgers, bad renditions of fancier food (the Galaxy II used to serve Lobster Newburg to those stupid enough to order it), gigantic salads, disco fries, incredible breakfasts and cup after cup after cup of really great coffee.

                                                  2. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                    Frommtron RE: Das Ubergeek Apr 9, 2008 12:24 AM

                                                    Thank you for a lifetime quote regarding Izzy's. I actually watched a friend of mine eat a "philly cheese steak" while fat dripped and LITERALLY SOLIDIFIED on the sandwich before it could drip onto the table. I'm a scientist and I can't explain that without invoking divine intervention.

                                                    Perhaps better than that though are the "latkes" in the shape of a Nerf football.

                                                2. The Chowhound Team RE: JimmyC Apr 9, 2008 01:24 PM

                                                  wutzizname added a huge list of New Jersey diners in New Jersey. Since that's bound to prompt great discussion of which ones are worth visiting, we've moved it over to the Mid-Atlantic board. Check it out here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/507782

                                                  1. JEN10 RE: JimmyC Sep 20, 2008 08:10 AM

                                                    Ken and Kent's in Hermosa Beach. I went with a good friend yesterday at 10:30 am. Her hubby was from Jersey and she said he would have loved it. There were 3 other tables eating when we arrived. The space is really nice, there was more seating than I expected. The waitress we had was very fun and did a wonderful job. Karen went out of her way to make our meal the best she could. We both ordered the N.Y. style pastrami. I got the half sami and a bowl of the sweet cabbage soup. So yummy, but not quite hot enough. No problem Karen took care of that lickity split. Then came the sami, I wanted a Reuben but they don't do that with the 1/2 sami. But Karen managed it for me. Friend had the reg sami, huge they are I tell you. We both had the potato salad for sides, pretty darn good. The pickles were delicious, 2 types and some tasty sauerkraut as well. Karen brought us an eclair, it was friends birthday. This sucker was huge and oh so delicious. We both loved it and are planning on many more returns. The place was starting to get a little busy by the time we left. They serve breakfast lunch and dinner any time of the day.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: JEN10
                                                      Das Ubergeek RE: JEN10 Sep 20, 2008 09:44 PM

                                                      That sounds tasty but more like a deli than a diner -- pastrami sandwiches, maybe, but I can't imagine sweet cabbage soup at a diner.

                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                        JEN10 RE: Das Ubergeek Sep 21, 2008 06:51 AM

                                                        You are right, I believe it is considered a deli. But the food offered seems more like a diner. Check out their online menu and let me know what you think. Actually, what is the difference?

                                                    2. Kate is always hungry RE: JimmyC Sep 21, 2008 12:08 AM

                                                      Years ago I was in NJ visiting and my friend's aunt took us for breakfast to a diner in Fairlawn--don't remember the name. The closest thing I can think of out here, but not exact, is Rae's on Pico in Santa Monica, though not open 24 hours. Otherwise, I agree with Wutzizname about Canter's menu.

                                                      1. b
                                                        brez RE: JimmyC Oct 22, 2008 03:49 PM

                                                        101 cafe is a good bet. Get the brownie waffle.

                                                        1. d
                                                          delishdonna RE: JimmyC Mar 5, 2009 04:13 PM

                                                          Blue Plate on Montana Ave in Santa Monica has really good American coffee shop (diner) food.
                                                          In North Hollywood there is a great American food diner called Eat on Magnolia near Vineland. Neither place is open 24 hrs but the food is great at both of these places. They removed the grease from greasy spoon.

                                                          1. s
                                                            sustainableseafoodlover RE: JimmyC Apr 23, 2009 12:14 PM

                                                            Try the shore house cafe in Belmont Shores. 24 Hours, counter service, great milkshake....just needs taylor ham egg and cheese

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