One of the things I miss about living in New Jersey are the diners. You can go to a diner in another state, but I guarantee it will rarely be as good or as cheap as a New Jersey diner. We had our favorite local growing up, the Blue Fountain, or Fontaine Bleu as it is now known, a place where you could get breakfast, lunch, or dinner at 1:00 am, where you would eat pancakes with ice cream after the prom, and where families congregated on Sunday mornings for heaping plates of food for around $5.00.
I miss real diners.
Our friends’ NJ wedding happened to be about 20 minutes from the nursing home where my nana lives (97 years old in November, holla!), and so we opted to miss the wedding brunch to spend some time with her. Along the way, we spied signs for the Jefferson Diner, noting that it had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (triple D to you), and since we did need to eat something, we turned sharply off of the freeway to find diner bliss.
The Jefferson Diner is large which is perfect for a diner because the good ones are always buzzing with lines. It was spotlessly clean and shiny inside and out.
We only had a few minutes’ wait, and while we waited I checked out the deserts.
There were cookies the size of my head plus some.
And every type of cake imaginable, including a cheesecake with baklava on top. Diners in NJ, generally owned by Greek families, make serious baklava.
Real diner menus are books. And with some restaurants you would worry, “How on earth could they make this many things and make them good?”
Well, the NJ diner somehow manages to do it. Whether you are getting a Reuben sandwich, a baked fish dish, a steak, or a pile of desserts, everything is always good. Especially the fries and grilled cheese.
My breakfast was simple, one delightfully runny egg, hash browns, and buttered wheat toast. The other thing I love about diners? You can have anything you want. Want a scrambled egg and a runny egg with a piece of French toast and a sausage link? You got it. In the mood for one pancake? It’s yours. Diners aim to make their patrons happy and can cook up anything in a jiffy.
The Jefferson Diner was a great place to stop, and since it is so close to my nana, I will likely be back to try some dessert.
While Massachusetts has diners, I have yet to find one that stacks up to my NJ favorites. And it will probably stay that way.
Do you like diners? What is your favorite diner food?