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Dec 23, 2011 10:20 AM

Changes at Tic Toc Diner

While out and about the other night we were in need of sustenance, so we stopped into the reliable standby Tic Toc Diner. One of the first things I noted was that the menu had changed, (according to the waitress, for the second time in short while) Sadly, the menu is now very stripped down, almost to bare bones, and prices were raised quite a bit. Many of the classics have been eliminated. (Seriously, no meatloaf dinner at a Jersey diner?) On the plus side they are advertising they now use Pat LaFrieda burger patties for their burgers. While the burger patty was good, the bun was horrible - dry, crumbly, tasteless...very cheap tasting. I am not sure if they are using Pat LaFrieda for all their meat, as we only had burgers. I also thought the pricing was out of line...just under $40 for 2 burgers and fries, 2 drinks, cup of soup and a side salad.

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  1. Where is this located? I tied, but my ESP isn't working today.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      I assume the OP is referring to the diner in Clifton, in which case it's the Tick Tock. There is a web site, which I find to be quite annoying.

      1. re: ambrose

        Yes, you are correct, I was speaking of the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton. (sorry for my lapse, I wrote the post while suffering from a combination of overwork and extreme lack of sleep)

        I checked the website and that is not the current menu. From what the waitress told us, they changed the menu a couple of months ago, and then changed the menu again just a few days prior to our visit earlier this week. Gone are the pages and pages of different selections the Tick Tock was known for, what is left is a bare bones menu. Missing too, were the ubiquitous "Daily Specials." All that remains now it is a stripped down breakfast menu, burgers, a few sandwiches, and a smattering of entrees, (one or two selections for each of the major categories, fish, pork, chicken, Italian, vegetarian) Frankly my local (small town) coffee shop now has a more extensive menu. As mentioned the prices have been raised considerably, more in line with Manhattan prices. The quality of the items I ordered were not up to what I have gotten so many times in the past from Tick Tock. The side salad, (just under $6) was served in the same glass plate as in the past, this time it was not a plateful, and the only greens was iceberg lettuce, which was not of the best quality. The table next to us who ordered dinners, had to ask for some bread or rolls. The waitress did swiftly bring them some, however I overheard the gentleman commenting upon receiving their check on being charged extra for the bread/rolls. The overall impression I got was that the place is hurting financially and management is cutting costs everywhere.

        1. re: PuniceaRana

          Is there any reason to go to a diner other than for breakfast, a club sandwich, salad, or burger at 2 am?

          I can't imagine the Tick Tock is/was hurting financially. I haven't seen these changes first hand, but suspect there are different forces at work here beyond making "cuts" to increase profit.

          1. re: tommy

            No club sandwich anymore, the turkey is usually highly processed and inedible now. Maybe a plain BLT...

            Breakfast at any hour? Give me the venerable Egg Platter in Clifton/Paterson, virtually unchanged in years, even the prices have hardly gone up. 2 eggs with great home fries, $1.98.

            Burgers before 11PM? Bucu, of course. After 11? There's usually an Irish Pub serving them until 1 or 2.

              1. re: menton1

                So you think it's reasonable to drive around to find an Irish pub that happens to be serving a burger at 2 am rather than stopping in at one of the many diners in the state?

                You seem to be dismissive of diners. While you clearly don't like them, and think there is "no reason" to go to a diner, I'm am offering a very simple and easy-to-understand counter to that, disproving your theory.

                1. re: tommy

                  Yet, he continues to recommend and tout that dump egg place....go figure.

                  1. re: tommy

                    It's just tiresome. Let me clarify that there is no reason " for me" to ever go to a diner. Enjoy.

                    The "dump" egg place is actually immaculately clean and retro-feel. And they have the best eggs & omelettes in the State.

                    But, there's always Dinallos!

                    1. re: menton1

                      I think you're missing the point menton...I doubt there are Irish pubs that sell burgers at 2am.

                      When I'm wasted at 2am, a diner's an absolute no-brainer. When I'm sober, I there tend to be better options.

                      P.s. What is "The "dump" egg place"?

                      1. re: joonjoon

                        I didn't miss the point. My post clearly states the time that I would seek out an Irish Pub.

                        The egg place is the Egg Platter, on Crooks Ave in Clifton/Paterson. (2 blocks from Corrado's) Eggs and 20 kinds of omelettes. Skip anything else there. Retro. Weird hours, it's closed from 3PM and reopens at 10PM. Great home fries, too.

                2. re: tommy

                  I agree with you for the most part. It's the 2am plus default spot. No doubt.

                  I also see it as a default for some other people and situations/scenarios, not me, but to each their own of course. Some might view it as the default for the simple or basics although there are better alternatives. Some may view it as the "works for the masses" or something of the like, and perhaps for a few other situations/scenarios. It is what it is.

          2. That's sad to hear.

            How recent was this last menu change? Their website menus still show meatloaf, for example, in their Blue Plate Specials:

            1. I've had about 100 burgers over the past 20 years at the Tick Tock (assuming this is the one on rt 3 in Clifton), and I have to say I was never concerned about the purveyor, given that they were usually consumed at 2 am.

              "LaFrieda" is the new "black angus." They can pump it out, but if it's not good, it's not good. I can't imagine the Tick Tock's burgers are worth a stop unless it's right after the Loop Lounge's last call on the way home, with some gravy cheese fries.

              6 Replies
              1. re: tommy

                Heh. My meal-stop at 3 am before crashing home used to be the Lyndhurst Diner rather than the Tick-Tock. :-)

                1. re: huiray

                  Ugh, that was so out of the way. Well, unless rolling out of Fatso's that is. I'm tired just thinking about those nights.

                  1. re: tommy

                    Fatso's is closed now, isn't it?
                    Well, I lived south of Rt 3, not too far from the Lyndhurst Diner...and often I would be rolling back from NYC. I guess you live(d) north of Rt 3.

                    1. re: tommy

                      Forgot to mention - how about The Colonial Diner? Just besides Rt 3 in Lyndhurst, open 24 hrs now after the update. An alternative to the Tick-Tock Diner now, if you're looking for something "on" (or convenient to) Rt 3 in the Clifton area and the Lyndhurst Diner is too far for you...

                      Tick Tock Diner
                      281 Allwood Rd, Clifton, NJ 07012

                      Colonial Diner
                      27 Orient Way, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

                      Lyndhurst Diner & Restaurant
                      540 Riverside Ave, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

                      1. re: huiray

                        These days if I'm at a diner after midnight it's usually at 9 am instead of 2 am. :-) But I do recall the Colonial diner.

                        The Tick Tock was featured on Triple D a few years ago. I wonder if the "chef" is still there?

                        1. re: huiray

                          loved the old Colonial Diner for its simplicity....

                  2. Just don't change the cheesecake!

                    1. The previous redo of the menu (+ new logo, dishes, etc) may have been a bit ambitious; I haven't been there since this most recent change, but I'm curious to see what they've done. I wonder if competition from Smashburger, Zinburger, and TGIF's has made them realize they needed to simplify in order to please the masses?
                      Then again, I'm with Tommy...those 'basics' are what any diner is for, imo! But I'm shocked that meatloaf isn't one of them. I have one friend who ALWAYS orders meatloaf in a diner. Any diner.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Curlz

                        The point about additional competition is a good one. For years the Tick Tock was essentially the only thing on that long strip of land. Development started, bringing in businesses, which was no doubt good for the Tick Tock. And now, restaurants at similar price points, and with the perception (and like reality) of better quality, are popping up within spitting distance.

                        There are only so many reasons to be in that area of the planet around mealtime, and with options like Zinburger, that chain pizza place, that chain seafood place, the market is getting pretty tight, and they are trying to upscale their image. Of course, remaining as they were would have set them apart from the pack, but let's face it, diners are looked down upon.

                        Curlz, you shmatt. And now I want meatloaf.

                        1. re: tommy

                          Sorry, but I'm too tired from thinking of you at the Tick Tock after closing at the Loop or Fatso's to make meatloaf! :-)

                          1. re: tommy

                            I don't think diners are looked down upon at all. Many of them are family-friendly - more so than a lot of chain restaurants that dominate the highways - are offer a good variety and decent prices.

                          2. re: Curlz

                            My companion is also one who frequently orders the meatloaf at any diner. We both were incredulous that such an iconic item for any diner would be missing from the new menu.

                            I think you have hit it on the head though. I think the owner(s) laid out a bunch of money for the new menu, dishes, logo, possibly a consultant etc. in response to the increasing competition in the area. All of that combined with the down economy has them hurting. You know there is something going on when a place has two major menu changes within such a short period of time.

                            1. re: PuniceaRana

                              I have never once ordered meatloaf at a diner. What's the allure?

                              1. re: wereboar

                                It's usually always available....