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Best Jersey Diners (Lots good eats, little $)

OK, time for a Best of...for Jersey. Instead of the pretentious restaurants that have a nom de plum of diner (where a plate of pancakes will run you over ten bucks with tax and tip), which are your fave REAL diners where you can get lots of good eats, cholesterol and passable coffee and still come out with change and a few good waitress smiles?

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  1. I like the Americana in the Eatontown/Shrewsbury area. I've tried All Seasons many times and don't like their food as much as the Americana although All Seasons does a great business.

    1. Check out the "Best Diners in NJ", started last June 20. Sorry, I gotta learn how to find the post number! I find many diners over pri9ced for what one gets. So I look forward to some good cheap diners, it such a thing still exists.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Passadumkeg

        Mustache Bill's in Barnegat Light on LBI - give me a bowl of hot, steaming grits topped with a couple of poached eggs, while watching the fishing boats head out to sea - heaven!

        1. Town & Country for breakfast gets my vote. Not a fan of lunch or dinner but they have a consistently good & reasonably priced breakfast (the usual suspects: eggs the way you like them, hash brown potatoes, bacon/sausage/ham steak choice, toast choice lightly buttered) and the coffee is HOT and strong. Under $10.00 and everyone at Town & Country smiles. If I have work along Route 35 North, I tend to stop for a quick and satisfying breakfast.

          4 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            Where's the Town & Country....????

            1. re: vtt7

              My bad, vtt7-The Town & Country is in Keyport btwn Broadway and the jug handle to Matawan Train station. Open 7 days a week.

              1. re: HillJ

                Thanks, HillJ....I'll have to get there and try their breakfast. I love breakfast.

                1. re: HillJ

                  You had me confused too. There’s another Town & Country diner on Rt. 206 in Bordentown right across from Mastoris’s diner.

                  My son recently gave me a book entitled, “Jersey Diners” by Peter Genovese. It’s really interesting in that it covers most of the diners currently in the state and the history of diners in general.

            2. Another nod north of me is The Cranford Diner. Just good comfort food at not so crazy prices. Love their triple deckers with slaw & sour pickles, rice pudding is quality, mac n cheese superb but their blueberry pancakes are killer-good. Off the main drag (I believe that's North Avenue) heading in the direction of Garwood.

              1. Recent issue of "New Jersey" magazine made the almost the whole issue about diners. Not a bad issue....

                I prefer Mastoris. I think the prices are good comparatively speaking. The filet mignon benedict is great....and the cheese bread is better...and of course the desserts...

                for the best "bang for your buck" though.....i hate to say it...but perkins isn't so bad.

                I live close to the seville (which I hate) colonial (almost worse) and don't care for either. The atmosphere at Seville is horrible, very rude guy thats always seating you...you ask for a booth, he brings you to a table....rush you in and out...when its busy. One of the owners was shot, mob style, maybe it was that guy and I should give it another chance....

                colonial just doesn't have that great food.

                7 Replies
                1. re: RPMcMurphy

                  I too live near to the Seville and Colonial, and have eaten at both. In all honesty. I think I get a a better meal at Denney's Have you noticed that not even the East Brunswick and South River cops eat at these diners anymore?. My choice for the best diner would have to be Americana in Eatontown. consistant, and hearty.

                  1. re: currymouth

                    The Alexis Diner on Route 10 West in Denville. Consistently GREAT food, service, and overall diner experience. The Greek Salad is wonderful. The burgers are among the best in Morris County. The more complicated dishes are fantastic--his fish is as good or better than so-called seafood restaurants in the area.

                    1. re: currymouth

                      if frequent dennys if the sausage didn't have a pine sol taste (just a weird mind thing with me)

                      but I like iHop and perkins. I like peterpank in slayerville too, but from more of a nostolgia/grew up stand point....

                      I hit the diner on Easton ave on the way to bound brook this weekend and it was great.....somerset diner? good prices.

                      and if you go past a diner and there isn't a patrol car out front...move on! first sign!

                      1. re: RPMcMurphy

                        Do people seriously think of Dennys, Ihop and Perkins as diners?....they are just chain restaurants with average food to me...

                      2. re: JessKidden

                        Here's what I posted in May of 2007 about our experience at the Skylark in Edison:

                        We had dinner at the Skylark in Edison last night--I was hoping the quality of the food would be similar to the the similarly wacky-formatted and upscale (different owners) City Limits Diner in White Plains and Stamford, where I've always eaten well. Meal immediately started off with service issues--waiter seemed to have serious problems communicating beyond grunts. Then he disappeared after giving us menus--we had to ask another waiter to find him for us.

                        Long after we ordered, he brought a platter of bruschetta, served on slices of bread that were not given enough time to get crisp. Salad that came with my main course was very good.

                        I ordered the special of grilled hanger steak, and it was good, came rare as ordered, meat and sauce were flavorful and satisfying. Roast potatoes were terrible--thick slices of Idahos (the iceberg lettuce of the potato world), dry and flavorless. Wife ordered flank steak rare. We both agreed that what came out was not flank steak, taste and texture was more like shoulder london broil. Plus, it came out medium and dried out, like it sat under the lights too long. She was too tired to send it back and endure a wait, so she suffered in silence. They have an interesting sounding wine by the glass list. I ordered a glass of Zig Zag Zin. It tasted like it had been sitting in a bottle that had been opened weeks ago. By that point I was getting disgusted, so I didn't send it back.

                        After main course, waiter came over and tidied up the table by scooping up the crumbs in his hand. Utensils obviously optional with this guy.

                        Ordered a slice of tres leche cake for dessert. Waiter brought the cake--I had to ask for forks (see above). Cake was OK, but nothing special.

                        Because it was a weeknight, we got a table right away. But there was a pile of beepers on the counter--I guess they do a huge business on weekends.

                        Overall, I'd say you can probably get lucky and have a good meal at the Skylark. Our service problems, which became comic after awhile, seemed to be isolated to this one guy, because the rest of the waitstaff seemed friendly and competent. The ingredient substitution was inexcusable--in fact, it's outright fraud--, but a customer can never win a dispute over that. We will settle that one by not going back.

                        1. re: albinoni

                          FYI, The Skylark has the same ownership as the Americana Diner in East Windsor, and the Colonial Diner in East Brunswick, and also the Pines Manor. http://www.americanahospitality.com/

                          1. re: albinoni

                            I know this is an old post, but it seems like the expectations were a little high for a diner. There are some great diners out there, but you get what you pay for. Michelin star quality isn't what I would be expecting. Complaining about the type of potatoes used seems very strange for a diner.