Directory of Diners: Pennsylvania

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See also Philadelphia and Yardley

Astor Diner
609 Sumneytown Pike, Lansdale. This is the place to go for the old folks. Pretty cheap, pretty good, but the service is sooo bad. Located on Sumneytown Pike near Harleysville.

Blue Bird II Diner
Located on Route 6 in Factoryville.
The hours are Monday thru Saturday from 6am-9pm and Sunday from 7am-2pm. Prices are great and the food is even better. There are daily breakfast, lunch and dinner specials. Many great homemade dishes are served including Chipped Beef (SOS), a diner staple! There is always a great selection of homemade pies and desserts and really good rice pudding.The staff are great cooks and waitresses. Owners Donna, Jim and Steve are great people and I'm proud to work at The Blue Bird II Diner! We are handicap accessible. -review by

Bucks County Diner
On the corner of Street Rd. and Knights Rd., Bucks County. It is owned by Greeks, and therefore a true diner, says Amy McCaskey. More importantly, the pizza steak and fries is only $2.50. The waitresses are really nice, and they don't laugh when you order french onion soup without the onions. (Though speaking personally, I would, ed) The even sell T-shirts!

CJ's Diner
14 Royal St., Reedsville (East of Penn State on Route 322)

2/20/98: I stopped by this place after a very pleasant weekend with my good friend, Lauren (whose notes appear throughout this page). The sign outside reads "CJ's", but inside, it's apparently Clara's kitchen, and, during lunch at least, they don't seem to be doing much business. When I arrived, there were only a couple of filled tables, each on apparently intimate terms with the staff. Actually, it's hard not to be. In the half hour that I was there, they asked me if I wanted to go to the prom with Sunny (one of the waitresses). I declined. I'm kind of suprised that she didn't have a date. What a cutie!

The menu was on the short side, but the prices were fine. I had some chicken fingers and fries. Both were on the greasy side, but perfectly fine. For dessert, I had some especially dry carrot cake. For reasons that weren't entirely clear to me (though they tried hard to explain it), they didn't have any rice pudding. Oh, and apparently, the hours aren't terribly extended.

Dean's Diner
Route 22, Blairsville
9/12/98: I have been searching for perfect cole slaw since my family moved from Baltimore in 1983. When we lived in Baltimore, we got great cole slaw from a place called Manor Hill, and we assumed that there would be similar cole slaw resources anywhere we went. We were wrong.

Now after 15 years of fruitless searching, I have found my cole slaw in the most unlikely of places. Deans Diner, located in the heart of Western Pennsylvania at least 60 m iles from the nearest Semite, holds the honor of serving the best cole slaw I have had in the past 15 years. I actually dreamed about the cole slaw at Deans Diner prior to writing this review. Thats how good it is.

Deans diner is also one one of the finest diner experiences I have had in quite some time. The inside of the diner is fifties green and chrome, complete with a counter and pie display. I ordered my usual grilled cheese and fries (with the side of dreamy cole slaw). The service was so fast that it was almost alarming-- I was reminded of the restaurant scene in Defending Your Life (for you Albert Brooks fans). As with the aforementioned cole slaw, the grilled cheese was delicious. With its real butter and big square chunks of white bread, I devoured the whole sandwich, despite not being at all hungry. The fries could have been a tad crunchier, but they too were very good.

The couple in front of me ordered pie and coffee. The waitress rattled off at least ten different available pies, and again with alarming speed, brought out the most perfect slice of apple pie I have ever seen. The pie was at least three inches thick and presented with a shiny little mug of black coffee.

Deans Diner is about as diner as a diner can get. Its inexpensive, the food is simple and delicious, the silverware is brought out still warm from the dishwasher, and the re is even a waitress named Dottie. So if you ever happen to be travelling through Central an d Western Pennsylvania, do yourself a favor and hop off the turnpike and get on Route 22 b etween Altoona and Pittsburgh. Not only will you be treated to one of the most beautiful drives Pennsylvania has to offer, but youll have the opportunity to stop into Deans Diner. You'll be glad you did.--Review by the Lovely and talented Lauren Flax (BTW, in case you didn't guess, the cole slaw gets an A+).

Decoven Diner
1913 State Rd., Routes 11/15, Duncannon
10/27/99: I don't know how many times I passed this diner (formerly the Harrisburg East Diner, a 1955 O'Mahony) and thought to myself that I would have to stop there and try it out someday. Well, October 5, 1999 was the day. My husband and I had decided to take a motorcycle trip to Gettysburg for our anniversary. When we left, it was a warm, beautiful day. When we came back the same wasn't so. It was VERY cold and overcast. No matter how bundled we were, we still stopped every 10-15 miles to warm up. The Decoven Diner just happened to fall into that mileage.

I will start off by saying it was warm inside. That in itself meant more to me than anything else that morning. The coffee was also warm. (at this point you're probably getting the impression that I'm pretty easy to please, as long as there was warmth). We kicked back and had breakfast, your basic eggs, toast, etc., which was also warm and pretty good. The diner itself is pretty old. It was clean, don't get me wrong, but I'm sure it has seen better days. There was also no heat in the bathrooms, which rated a D- from me.

I'm sure if it had been just another trip through the Harrisburg area for me, I would have been more critical of the poor condition of this diner, however, as I mentioned, it was clean and the food was good. It wasn't fantastic, but I would give my overall experience a B+ (the plus, of course, was for the heat). Had they offered to drive us home and tow our bikes, I may have given them a much higher score. -- Review by Rosie

5th Street Diner
1/5/99: Actually the northernmost point on 5th Street starting in Reading, Pa. and turns into US222 in Temple, PA. A Greek owned and operated diner. Open 7 days and 24 hours. Breakfast anytime, many truckers, good coffee, eggs and scrapple my usual order, but meatloaf w/real mashed runs a close second. Inexpensive: cup of soup, meatloaf, mashed, good cole slaw, hot rolls and coffee w/refills for $7.40 incl tax.-- Review by D S Smith

Glider Diner
890 Providence Road, Scranton
I went out of my way to find the Glider Diner. I really wasn't planning on going to Scranton, but wanted to check this place out. It's a 1950 Mountain View Diner, just in case you're interested. On a scale from 1-10 (1 being the worst, 10 being the get the picture), I give this place a 4 for cleanliness. I've been in much older diners that were in better shape. They really have let this place to downhill. Our server was very friendly, but it takes more than that to make a successful diner. Most of the tables still contained remnents of their previous occupants, and since my stop there was at around 3:30 (after lunch, but before dinner) I thought it was sort of odd that they were this far behind. I had homemade (or so they said) banana cream pie. Using that scale again, it got a 3. And I'm being generous. It was like banana jello with some kind of fluffy icing. I think I saw a banana in there somewhere, too.

Okay, so since I didn't actually have a "meal" there, I suppose I shouldn't honestly be rating the place, but like I said, they need to put a little time into restoration (there was a guy fixing a table leg when I was there) and how can you screw up a banana cream pie?!-- Review by a somewhat peeved Rosie.

Lincoln Diner
32 Carlisle St., Gettysburg, PA (Silk City 1950's) One of my favorite diner moments happened at the Lincoln Diner in Gettysburg. I had been touring the U.S. in my pick-up and found myself one midnight in Gettysburg. I drove onto one of the roads that passed through the fields of battle and pulled over. Walking across a large expanse of grass, I stared up at a cloudless, star-speckled sky. The breeze was almost non-existent. I imagined that I heard the echoes of the battle that once raged on what was now a grass field marked with occasional monuments to the fallen troops. It was a peaceful, thought-invigorating experience. After an hour or so, I hopped in the truck and drove into town. There wasn't a lot of activity. Then I found the Lincoln Diner. Gorgeous, silver, and big...and loaded with people. I ordered a cup of coffee and a slice of apple pie. The waitress, noting my accent, asked if I was from the Northeast. "Yes," I said, "Boston." "Business or are you a tourist?" she asked. "I guess I'm a tourist. I just came from the field." She smiled a bit and said "You saw it at the best time of day. In the sunlight it's just a big lawn. At night it's a memory." Unexpectedly poetic, I thought. And good pie too. Review by Paul Coyne.

Pegg and Bill's Diner
312 West Fourth Street, Williamsport
11/15/97: They call it a "diner" in their name. It was even featured on a PBS special about diners in Pensylvania. The fact is, no matter how much you stand back and squint, it's NOT a diner. First of all, it's nothing more than a first floor space in a building, wedged between two other buildings. If you are like me, a real "diner" is a manufactured structure. Okay, so even if that isn't a prerequisite and we base our opinion of "diners" strictly on ambiance alone, I still fail to see the "diner" connection. This place is a greasy spoon in the middle of the "seeder" section of Williamsport. Basically, it's a hangout for the "locals".

The food? I ate there once. Breakfast. Okay, it wasn't bad, but if there's one thing that I remember from my youth is how wonderful breakfast in a real diner can be. This place didn't make the cut!

So, if you're in the Williamsport area and looking for a good diner to eat at, I suggest that you drive the extra half hour to Wellsboro. Unless you really don't care as much as I do!-- Review by Rosie

Penn Can Restaurant and Truckstop
Exit 65 and I81. Harford. (717) 434-2721. Open 24-7 with eternal Breakfast. very good food, but only mediocre service. Really bizarre placemats which advertise Nature Cure Beecaps, which, as far as I can tell, are some variety of snakeoil. Free coffee and soda refills. Little calling card phones at every booth. That's a truckstop for ya. Finally, they have a little store in the front where you can buy both coaxial cable AND Penthouse!

The Pioneer Diner
Routes 611 and 940 (508 Belmont Ave.) in Mount Pocono, (on the way from NY to Toronto). A spacious interior, accentuated by mirrored walls, greeted us upon entrance to this unlikely haven of classic American cooking. Mobile ceiling fans, festive red and white light fixtures, solid floors, and structurally sound walls are among the amenities. We were swiftly seated in comfortable wooden booths with a convenient coat rack and a somewhat confining metal grill on the back of the booth. The view was just what we ordered: electrical wires, telephone poles, a Pizza Hut, and a Sunoco station (with the gas prices visible).

The food and service were excellent. A bowl of warm, soft, and moist dinner rolls was repeatedly filled over the course of the meal. The kitchen showed prowess with an eclectic sampling of dishes; the turkey with gravy and eggplant parmesan were stand-outs. Only the water and fountain drinks were unambiguously unremarkable.

Open 7 days a week from 6:00 AM. 717-839-7620.- Review by Andrew Ulmer, and witnessed by Antonio Peimbert, Wes Colley, and Oleg Gnedin on their way to the 189th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Pip's Diner
1900 Woodland Avenue, Pittsburgh.
Dave, It took us a while to find the place but the draw for my husband was the fact that the Railroad goes right over top the diner. So double fun for him. Pip's is in a working class neighborhood west of Pittsburgh proper. The parking is catch as you can. We arrived at Pip's after the breakfast rush, walked in, duck and found it to have a low roof and not many tables but as all diners go it made it more quaint. As you enter on the left is the "TABLE OF KNOWLEDGE" where all the locals gather to play cards, read the paper and chat. We choose to sit at the bar. Our waitress/cook greeted us with a small menu with good prices. Actually our seats were adjacent to the grill where they do all the breakfast cooking. We had the standard fare however what seperated it from most diner breakfasts were the potatoes. They tasted soooo good. They serve only breakfast and lunch. The decor was very basic and after talking to some of the locals we found out that they believe it is the best place around to eat. One of the patrons said that her father helped build the place sometime in the fifties. According to my husband the place is not an old street car as most people think.

Back to the food, it was just plain tasty. Someone sitting near me was getting the chicken matza ball soup, a coveted soup mind you. All the employees were helpful. If we needed coffee and our waitress was unavailable someone else stepped in and did it. The owner was just a regular kind of guy. I can't give you a cole slaw review because we did not do lunch but since my family lives near Pittsburgh I am sure we will be going back again.--Review by Beverly J. Capawana

Saville's Diner
PA73 and PA100 in Boyertown
1/5/99: Actually on PA73, the intersection is a cloverleaf. Breakfast anytime, good coffee, fast service, is open 7 days, but NOT open 24 hrs. The food is much better than standard and priced so reasonably that there is often a short wait for a booth during 'normal' mealtimes. The counter has beena good bet anytime I've been there. It is clean and comfortable. I'll get back to you on the cole slaw.-- Review by D S Smith
Smethport Diner
Main Street, Smethport
9/15/98: Once again, here's another diner brought to you by the PBS Special on Diners. After walking around the building several times (and if you've never been to Smethport, lemme tell you, I got quite a few stares), I'm still not sure if this was once a manufactured diner that they destroyed or an unsuccessful attempt at building something that looks remotely like a diner. But, don't get me started again on the manufactured diner vs. the on site construction diner debate!

So, I walk in (finally). Smethport is a very small town situated pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so everybody turns and looks at you when you walk in. A lright, they probably saw me casing the place earlier. The waitress was friendly, although she gave me the impression that she would rather be anywhere else but where she was that day. My cheeseburger was, well, just a cheeseburger. My husband kept making faces at me and saying "you really wanted to come here, didn't you"? Another interesting stop on the famous Route 6 through Pennsylvania. We were still saying "what the heck WAS that" for miles down the road. They also don't have a parking lot (not that I could find and I did mention I cased the place?). You have to park on the street. Not that a parking space is a priceless commodity in Smethport or anything, I just thought I would mention it.

I've figured it out that this is the local hangout. The kids come here after the big home football games and the old timers come in for breakfast and chat about the good old days. If you're hungry and just happen to be near Smethport, okay, make the stop and prove me wrong. However, I wouldn't drive out of your way. I'm still trying to figure out what you would be on the way TO if it WAS on your way, but that's another story...-- Review by Rosie.

The Suburban Diner
On the corner of Street Rd. and Bustletown Pike, Bucks County. Cheap, cheap, cheap is the key word here. Breakfast specials are extremely (you guessed it!) cheap, and definitely worth the drive. Also, this place is in an old train car, like a true diner ought to be.

12/10/97: I got this update from Crammed between Jiffy Lube and a Blockbuster, this place is a must stop. It underwent a renovation a couple of years ago (much to the chagrin of this reviewer), but the food is still super nevertheless. My criteria are cheese fries, tapioca pudding and Belgian waffles. I give Suburban an A- to A usually, but sometimes they don't have tapioca. I prefer Suburban to the Blue Fountain 'cause people don't give you the evil eye there. Sometimes th e Blue is oppressive. (I don't mean to dis Blue regs, but it's a little clique-y.)-- Update by

Sunrise Diner
In Jim Thorpe, Pa. Across from the Railroad station. Open 24-7, with breakfast all the time, though that should really go without saying in an ideal world. Good, cheap burgers, and a wide selection of pies. A true Olde Tyme diner, says Ray.

Trojan Diner
Rt. 61 and Bellevue Ave., Reading You can't find a better place than this for a good, cheap meal. Order the "222" (named after a nearby highway) 2 pancakes, 2 eggs done any style, 2 pieces of meat, and coffee or tea, for (the last time I was there) $2.65. Eat and run or stay for hours, they'll bring you the whole coffee pot. Complete with counter stools, you can rub elbows with the locals and passing truckers (although this is only recommended in the figurative sense) but they'll accomidate parties up to 20 on a few moments notice.

Formerly "The Bellevue Diner" this joint underwent renovations in the early 90's, possibly under new management. The renovation forced us to try other eateries for a while, but we eventually came back to find a cleaner version of the original diner, now with a salad bar. Once popular with the Albright College crowd, it has fallen out of favor in recent years to chains and gas stations - a generational thing, I guess. I spent more time here in college than in the library. Anyway, its always a stop when I return for homecomings or a trip to the famous Reading Outlet Center. It has many of the trademark selections of a Pennsylvania diner - from scrapple to gravy fries - and there's sure to be something for everyone. Don't forget to say "Hi" to Shirley, the Cal Ripken of waitresses.--Review by "Matt" (who gives the Slaw a B).

3/6/98: I got this update from David Smith. The Trojan Diner on Rte 61 in Reading, PA has changed hands and no longer calls itself a Diner, but one of those unappealing "family" restaurants. (The Garden Family Restaurant).

The Village Diner
Route 6 and 209, Milford.
8/25/98: Back in July,I promised my review of this diner. If my details don't seem fresh, that's why. I make the trip between PA and Boston fairly frequently since my folks live in PA, and I always stop near the PA/NY border on Route 84, about halfway through the journey. Until I discovered the Village Diner, I had to eat at Wendy's!

The Village Diner is just past the two big shopping centers at the Matamoras exit. There's a big star-studded red and blue neon sign outside, and a large stainless steel/pink and grey tiled interior and venetian blinds inside. It's a spacious diner, with a long counter and lots of booths in both smoking and non-smoking sections. The vast majority of the original 1950's fixtures remain in place, and it's in a pretty out-of-the-way area, so you get the feeling little has changed over the past 45 years or so.

Because of its location, this is a popular stop for truckers. As we ate, the cook conversed with some truckers who were obviously regulars. Minnie, our waitress, provided speedy service, with (for the regulars)or without (for us newcomers) sass.

The menu was quite extensive and included all the diner standards - lots of burgers (including both garden AND turkey burgers), hot and cold sandwiches, breakfast fare, seafood, Italian dishes, daily specials, a kid's menu, and a dessert and soda fountain menu. The menu also features several Greek items, including homemade Baklava for $2.50. They serve Coke products, and the coffee wasn't too exceptional - luke warm w/half and half on the side for $.60. Ezra's 3 egg omelette with mushrooms and swiss cheese was made with fresh mushrooms and served with a generous portion of hash browns and toast w/butter and jam for $4.10. My grilled cheese w/tomato was excellent - super hot w/lots of tomatoes and orange cheese. It was served with cole slaw (I'm not a big cole slaw fan, but I ate about half of it, so it must have been good -- not as soggy as some) and a thick slice of dill pickle for $3.45. The fries (we shared a side - $1.80) weren't especially hot. For dessert, we tried their bread pudding. With pineapple and maraschino cherries, this was clearly not only homemade, but someone's family recipe. Not bad (again, I'm not usually a big fan) - $1.80.

The place was clean, well-ventilated and not too expensive. AND I got to watch bunnies frollicking on the side of the road under the highway as we ate!--Review by Terri Wise

Villanova Diner
Route 30, about a half mile from the Blue Route. Villanova. Open 7 days a week from 6 am to 1 am (12:30 on Sundays) the Villanova diner impressed me as nothing so much as an independant version of a Denny's or somesuch. True, the menu was large and impressive. The food, such as I had of it, was tasty and filling. But there is something inexplicable in the atmosphere that makes it somewhat un diner-like. For one thing, there are no jukeboxes, and a disarming array of oldies are piped in from on high. This, and the hours, make me wary about calling it a true diner. Also, when you go in there, something doesn't look quite right. The outside, however, really fits the bill. The French onion soup was pretty tasty, if a bit on the salty side. My waitress was efficient and friendly, and oh yes, pretty darn cute as well. The chef's salads were gargantuan by any standards, but, much to my dismay, not tossed. All in all, I can't be too rough on the Villanova. It tries, and tries hard, but all the same, I left there feeling wholly unimpressed.

Wellsboro Diner
Strangely enough, this is located in Wellsboro. Built in 1939 by Sterling (or so I am informed by alert poster Sally Broadbent, ed.) Apparently, it has a "tastefully done addition" with six large murals depicting the history of diners. A note on the food, for those of you out there who might actually be interested. Check out the sweet potato french fries.

Wolf's Diner
Dillsburg, on Rt15., SW of Harrisburg. Well, it is with great pleasure that I transcribe this review, as it was taken for me by my, yes, my parents. According to them, the menu is sizeable, though not oppressive (about 4 pages), and the prices were good. They got quick service, and got it with a smile. Also, for you music lovers out there, the jukebox plays for a dime, and three for a quarter, with music all the way from 1950 to 1959. The diner, itself, is somewhat small. There are about 10 seats at the counter in addition to about 8 booths. It is resplendent in stainless steel and linoleum (as all diners should be), and they had a good selection of homemade pies.

Ye Olde College Diner and Bakery
126 W. College Ave., State College. "Nowhere but the Diner", the menu proudly proclaims. And what, do you think, they mean by that? I visited this around 10:00 one evening on my trip out to the midwest, with Lauren Flax and her beau, Molson. I think that we had an undue appreciation of this place, since Lauren and I had only narrowly escaped death on a mountain hours before.

The vital stats: they're open 24-7, and advertise the famous "sticky". I had one on a later visit, and it was really good, but was essentially a cinnamon roll. On our first visit, we also had a piece of very delicious chocolate cake, which the three of us combined were incapable of finishing. Lauren made the rather suspect claim that previously, the menus were enormous, capable of crushing small children. Now, they seem to be a tiny fraction of their former selves at a scant 3 pages. The biggest deficiency that I found was there astonishing lack of side dishes. I asked for Corn muffins, potato salad, and Cole Slaw (in succession), and they only had the latter (which I rate at "B").

They apparently revamped the place about a year ago (including the unfortuneate menu truncations). They also replaced the tables and added some interesting local artwork. Like the now crispy P.J.'s Pancake House in Princeton, this place encourages carvings in their tables. However, it will take some time before the new tables are covered with runes of all sorts. The overall architecture was just spanking.

Molson was greatly disappointed to note that the Diner has turned from Coke brand products to Pepsi. Lauren (who has had them many times) commented on the deliciousness of the Black and White milkshakes. My chicken cheesesteak sandwich was delicious, as was the veggie cheesesteak. Both used some marinade for the veggies, and the taste was nothing short of spectacular! The menu also features a pound of fries (with the additional warning that it's a lot in case you are incapable of doing the conversion into metric yourself: a whopping 0.45 kg!) Well, Lauren had some fries with her lunch, and boy were they crunchy! On final food note is that my ice tea had turned by the time I started drinking it and they replaced it with a 7-up. I should note, however, that drink refills are only 25 cents.

5/29/98: I got this report from Terri Wise.
This diner has a wealth of history! Where to begin? Well, I can tell you that several years ago PBS did a special on Diners and Ye Olde College Diner was one of their featured restaurants. I don't know exactly how long it's been around, but my folks went to Penn State in the mid sixties and I know that at the time it was already a well-established longtime hangout. Originally, at least part of the diner was in an actual traincar -- though there's little evidence of that now. It's a pretty large diner with two or three square counters (complete with red-vinyl covered swivel-stools) in the front followed by a section of wooden booths in the middle followed by extensive seating (more wooden booths) in the back. At the front of the diner by the checkout there are several bakery display cases offering all sorts of goodies and a mirrored wall along the left side. The thing about the famous grilled stickies is just that -- they're grilled, so they're warm and have a bit of a hot crispiness that your average cinnamon roll does not. Also, they're gooey and deadly served w/vanilla ice cream. (Definitely an order for two unless you're not having anything else.)

I grew up in State College and have been to the Diner probably 200 times or more. Locals just call it "The Diner." It's interesting that your current review of the Diner states that they encourage carving all over the tables. At one point they put some sort of shellac over the surface of many of the tables, thus making it more difficult to gouge into them, but that didn't stop the determined. Perhaps now they've given up and realized that that's a part of the charm of the place? When I was in high school, the place was a central hangout for a lot of my friends. It's by no means a high school joint, though -- everyone goes there, probably 60% students and then just a broad mixture of locals.

One of the great things about the diner is that it IS such a local, community institution. When I was little my parents owned a store next to the diner and would send me over there for dinner. I was probably five years old and I'd go over on my own or with my sister, sit on one of the red stools, and order up a BLT. Every year at Thanksgiving, the Diner offers a Thanksgiving dinner for something like 25 cents. It's a great idea, because it's a comfortable place for everyone in the community, including those without much money. The idea is that everyone in the community should be able to celebrate Thanksgiving together.

As for the menu, it is sad that they've pared it down. However, some standards remain. They have a great big salad that comes in an enormous sourdough bread bowl. Really excellent. I also remember going there one time early in the morning and having this excellent omelette called a sunshine omelette with tomatoes, cheese and sprouts. Of course the coffee is endless...

I think one of the best things about the Diner is that the place hasn't succumbed to any gimmicks and it's stayed very local.

Highly recommended!

6/29/99: I got this further opinion from H BOELTE.
After reading positive reviews on this web site about the "Ye Olde Colleg e Diner and Bakery", we made it a priority on a recent trip to State College, PA visit. Our experience was not good. We waited 15 to 20 minutes to be seated, only to find out that there were plenty of tables, but not enough servers. This was ten o'clock on a Saturday morning? After we were seated, a waiter saidhe could take our drink order, but not our meal order? When questioned why, we were told that the next shift would take our order when they arrived. Being a little annoyed at having to wait to be seated when there was plenty of seating available, we suggested that the manager take our order. The waiter said the manager does not usually show up on Saturday mornings and that he (the waiter) was in charge. This should have been our clue to leave, but we had already invested a considerable amount of time and hoped things would get better. They didn't.

After another 15 minutes, our order was taken, but it was 45 minutes before it was brought to our table. The order was mixed up and incomplete. We had to chase down servers to get refills on our beverages. The breakfast for four adults and two children took almost two hours in the half empty diner. Since there were two families involved, we requested two bills. When the bills were delivered there were six, one for each person and a gratuity of $.90 added to each one. That was the crowning blow. We refused to pay a gratuity for such poor service. At that point the employees became belligerent and a "discussion" ensued. The "in charge" waiter said he did not have the authority to remove the gratuity and left to see if he could find the manager. After quite some time he returned and said the manager was not there, but there would be no charge for the meals. Even though there was no charge, the experience was very unpleasant.NOT RECOMMENDED!

7/2/99: Another sign that the Diner has apparently gone down hill came from Curt and Kathy Walters.
We recently visited this establishment while on vacation. We chose to go based on reviews we had seen here. It was a hideous experience that I do not care to ever even CONSIDER having again. The service was poor at best..... the attitude of the staff was snippy and short and even belligerent when we began questioning "why" the service was so sub standard. The food was average at best. We were there for breakfast. This diner gets two thumbs down from the Walters family of Danville, Indiana.

10/27/99: The inimitable Rosie weighs in with her opinion:
I know, this place has probably been reviewed to death, but, as always, I have to add my 2 cents.

Since nobody seemed to sure of it's origin, let me answer that question. The College Diner (a Ward & Dickinson) showed up at 126 West College Avenue sometime i n the 1930s. If you're really interested, I suggest getting "Diners of Pennsylvania" by Brian Butko and Kevin Patrick (Stackpole Books).

My experience at this diner was a so-so one. Like the other comments, the service was definately pretty bad. We were there on a Sunday morning and there didn't seem to be that many people there, yet we waited to be seated, in the back. This allowed for a lovely view of the large cracks in the wall. Those lead to some rather interested holes. So, anyway, we finally get waited on (I think they forgot about us back there). We got breakfast, which included a sticky. I thought the food was fantastic! Definately one of the best breakfasts I've eaten in a long time! The service was still putride, and since that must be included in the rating, I gave them a C. Or a 4.5. However you choose to rate these things. Personally, I think this place lends itself more towards the college crowd. You know, the after the bar 2:30 a.m. group. So, it wouldn't matter to them if they had to sit there for an hour to be served. Which might also answer the question why the service during the day is so bad. They're all probably hung over.


Aldine Diner
On 2nd and Girard. Tropical fish and Greek columns. This is Dave here reviewing, and I must say that, despite being in the middle of a urine soaked hell hole, this is one of the finest diners that it has ever been my pleasure to eat at. The decor was perfect. The food was edible, and the service (as I recall) was suitably rude. Check it out, if you get the chance. Aldine Update. I happened to stop in again Jan 4, 1996, and I must revise my entry somewhat. The cole slaw gets a reluctant B-. Also, the place is tiny, no more than about 12 tables. However, it is open 24-7, though from 11-5 you have to pay the waitress after ordering.

American Diner
42nd and Chestnut. It's got the best cherry cokes, ever. (i.e., they don't use any of that nonsense that merely claims to be, we're talking hand-mixin')The grilled cheese is usually sufficiently goopy and therefore great. The coffee is decent and there's always a terrific selection of pies. (available with whipped cream or ice cream -- just ask). The salads are usually good, and always include olives and hot peppers. The best part is the atmosphere -- all the waiters are great and friendly, and may even hit on you (I might note, at this point, that this review was written by liz fekete) and best of all, they have table jukeboxes; 25 cents per song that play mostly 50's and 60's songs. Brilliant!

Melrose Diner
1501 Snyder Ave., West of Broad, where Snyder and Passyunk meet, in South Philly.
My friend, Nicole, told me about this one, citing it as "excellent", as well as mentioning that the waitresses call you,"honey."

Well, not that I wouldn't take Nicole's evaluation of the famous Melrose Diner as comprehensive, but I decided to check it out for myself. Carol and I headed out there one cool Friday evening and, upon entering the place, I thought to myself, "If I have ever seen one, THIS is a diner!" The counter seating seems to go on forever. The lighting and spacing and all the rest are everything anyone could ask for in a diner. There are pitchers of ice water at every table, fulfilling the need for refreshment. It's open 24-7, and it is in a sufficiently, well, infested region of Philly to give it that true diner feel. That, and the parking lot make the Melrose worth the trip.

Not that there aren't any negative points. For one thing, there are no jukeboxes at a table, and the music which was piped in bore a striking resemblance to a Muzak version of "Under my Umbrella." Our waitress, while sufficiently rude, still refused to even argue my case for a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich to the cook. She told me, in short, that this thing that I requested was impossible.

Which brings us to the menu. While the Melrose is famous for its pastries, we decided to stick to more conventional fare. However, I was struck at the minute stature of the menu. It was a scant three pages long, and was lacking such items as corn muffins! (and bagels, for what it's worth). I started off my meal with soup and my honest conclusion is that I have no idea what makes the navy bean soup quite so viscous, but it is pretty darn good. Carol commented that she didn't want to order fries because,"They only give you this little bowl." But there was a fellow at a table next to us who had fries, and well, my only question is,'What exactly would Carol consider a large serving?' My meal (lacking the turkey and cheese) consisted primarily of cole slaw (a B), and some of the finest hash browns it has ever been my pleasure to eat. Not greasy, and not even remotely in need of salt. Carol had an egg salad sandwich. Her conclusions: There was a harmonious marriage of the crunchy bread and the egg salad. All in all, a good review. She wanted me to talk about the lettuce, but seriously, this is supposed to be journalism here. We disagreed intensely on the pickle quality. She liked it, but not me. All in all, a pretty good, but severely odd, diner.

Midtown IV Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge
2013 Chestnut St. I was a bit skeptical at first that this place really was a diner. "Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge"? I wondered what sort of cheap trick Cynthia and Steve were trying to pull. Neverthess, upon entering and seeing the counter to our right, the unconscious off-duty security guard to our left, and diner decor all around, I was forced to admit that they may be on to something. The Midtown is open 24-7 and offers take-out and delivery. The menus look like they pre-dated all members of our dining party (Steve, Cynthia, and myself), but nevertheless were fairly expansive and contained reasonable prices.

We sat ourselves, as per the instructions of the sign in front. Cynthia liked this touch, but when I pointed out that you probably had to wait to be seated when it got crowded, she pointed out that this rarely happens. Our waitress was a serious, no-nonsense sort of gal. She brought us our food promptly, gave us a reasonably hard-sell on desert, and got our orders correct. The glimmer in her eye, however, suggested to me that she knew some sort of horrible secret... I ordered a whitefish sandwich, which was okay, but nothing worth writing home about. Steve ordered a feta omelette. To quote Cynthia,"We are worried about the feta. The first few times we got the omelette special, we enjoyed the feta and onion omelette immensely and now we remember back to that one fateful dry feta omelette day." Alas, our fears were not realized as Steve's omelette was delicious (I verified this firsthand). The coffee was good, but we had some disagreement about the iced tea. I contend that the tea had turned, while Steve and Cynthia thought it was merely bad. The potato salad was good, if a bit on the vinegary side.

Some final general comments: It doesn't look like they do anything that resembles baking on premises (everything looked pre-packaged, and my coconut custard pie, was anything but homemade). They didn't even have any more corn muffins! Finally, the mints at the front had no spoon; I mention this because both Cynthia and I noticed it at the time. And you know the last thing people do before paying the bill...

Mil-Lee's Luv-Inn Diner
Rising Sun Ave., Philadelphia. (215) 722-1400. This place bills itself as the sexiest food in town, and while I wouldn't go that far, I will give it the credit of being damn good. First and foremost, the place is open 24-7. However, one thing that bothered me was that the smoking and non-smoking sections were in remarkable proximity to one another. Important note: The cole slaw gets an A(+), to which Lauren Flax (you remember her!) can concur. Good French Onion soup. Really excellent mashed potatoes. I firmly believe that they actually are potatoes and not some watered powder. Lauren also had a black and white milkshake (available also in extra thick, though it costs a bit extra) and it was delicious as was the Boston Cream Pie. Oh, by the way, apparently it's important that they sell Mentos at the front counter.

Silk City Diner
5th and Spring Garden. Let me begin by saying that one of the things that made this diner special is the fact that everyone in it seemed to be acquainted with one of my dining companions, anna "bean" conrad. In and of itself, the diner must be rated as merely good, with nothing truly outstanding about either the decor (typical diner, but, I must admit, gifted with unusually kitchy tables), the food (the menu is a scant two pages), or the hours (it is open late during the week, but only open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday). However, the ambiance of the adjoining club, the laid back clientele, and the extreme air of hipness makes this particular diner something special. As near as I can tell, the entire diner is smoking, but apparently only upon request, making it, on the whole, quite breathable. As for the food, I had soup with red beans and turkey, and I must say, it was very good. Also, I had the chicken salad, which was good, and a side of cole slaw, which was good, but not fantastic (B+). Oh, one final note from me (dave): All you followers of Danielle Rogal will be pleased to know that she works at the Silk City.

On to Steve... Steve here. Ever wake up in the middle of Philadelphia with no idea where you are and with very little money in your pocket? Well I have. (not often; I'm not too much of a lush) The Silk City diner is the place to be in the AM. First of all the coffee comes quickly. Secondly, the breakfast specials are perfect for the poor and hungry. For two bucks, you can get the express special (two eggs any way, crunchy home fries, juice, coffee, toast), while for only a dollar more you get the faboo 2x2x2 (a a Noah's ark of breakfast favorites: eggs, pancakes, and a meat product of your choice. phat!). Remember, these bargains are for the AM only so get your lazy butts out of bed before noon. If I can do it, you can.

South Street Diner
On South Street in Philadelphia, near second avenue, the south street diner is honestly not very exciting. They have a real vendetta against people getting a large table when their entire group is not arrived. However, they have pretty good food, and a very good jukebox. Also, they have placemats with maps of the Greek Isles.

The Greater Yardley Metropolitan Area

Blue Fountain Diner
On Old Lincoln Highway, near the Oxford Valley mall. I personally have objections to it, especially since it was painted pink, but it still seems to hold some meaning for others. Oh, incidentally, there is also a really good band which owes its name to this. Click here to send your regards Also, a recent news item reports that apparently, there was a mini UN in the basement, as a whole horde of illegal aliens (beknownst to the owners) were found living there.

12/30/97: I happened to go to the BFD after an unsuccessful attempt to see Titanic with Liz Fekete (don't let me know how it turns out!). I hadn't been there in years, and considering the fact that it was a regular high school haunt, I decided that I would use this opportunity to remedy the atrocious excuse for a review that you see above. First, the BFD is open 24 hours, has reasonably friendly service, good prices, and jukeboxes at the booths. The smoke wafts gently throughout the joint, filling one's lungs with that all to familiar feeling of death. This time around I had the iced tea (refreshing!), and the German Chocolate Cake (large and tasty, but a bit dry). Liz had a coffee, which apparently warranted no comment, and a piece of cherry pie, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

But enough of the pure details. The BFD holds a number of memories for me, and, to judge by the crowd there this evening, the current crop of Pennsbury High School students as well. Did you know that I actually received an award from the Lions or the Elks or some group like that in the Mediterranean room (when there was such a thing), when I was in 11th grade? Also, it was the final stop on the great diner tour of the winter of '92 (in which Ty, Brent, Anna, Craig and I went to 10 diners in a night, and swiped a menu at each one). Finally, if you look really closely above the register, you'll see me (sans beard) in my Trentonian article ( though to this day, that was my most shameful moment).

At any rate, this is an okay diner, but ahhh, the memories.

Dallas Diner
On Route 13, near the turnpike. Despite rumors of the really good eclairs, we found that they didn't even have any. Josh, therefore, ordered the Baklavah, which bore a striking resemblance to shredded wheat. Good Coffee, or so they say. Decent corn muffins, but dry.

Dallas Revisited: Truth to be told, I'm not quite sure why I had such a brief entry on the Dallas until now. It's really a class act, and certainly deserves more discussion than this. First, they're open 24-7, and the very environment in which they're steeped simply cries out that "this is a true diner" (eg the plethora of pornography stores, strip clubs, and the PA turnpike entrance not 5 minutes away).

At any rate, I had a chance to visit the Dallas following the wedding of my dear friends, Dan and Amy Tahaney (nee McCaskey), in which I had the honor of serving as an usher. They had some friends visiting from England, James and Angie, so Becca (who graciously accomponied me to the festivities) and I decided to show these fun-loving Brits what America was all about. Well, the verdict is that both Becca and James found their respective restrooms apalling (though to my own eye, they were merely unseemly, not outright offensive), the food was cheap and mind-boggingly plentiful. My dry corn muffin (above) must have been a fluke, because my muffin this night was moist and delicious. Angie had hotcakes, and due to a lack of communication, underestimated their size by an order of magnitude. James had what can only be described as an entire sliced pig between two slices of bread. Apparently it was tasty, though.

In short, the brevity of my initial review was an oversight which I hope won't soon be repeated. The Dallas is a must see for those in a diner goin' mood.

9/9/98: I got this commentary from Adam Levbarg. My oh my, how surprised I was to find that my friend Michael Deutsch had emailed me a URL that linked to your review of the Dallas Diner in Levittown, PA. My friends and I discovered the Dallas Diner shortly after obtaining our NJ drivers licenses (at 17, mind you). That extra year of waitin' damn near forced the impulse to cross state lines as often as possible. Anyway, one day in 1991 whilst following random signs to the Burlington Bristol Bridge (a bridge that none of us were convinced existed) we stumbled upon what would to become a beacon of hope for our weary and well-travelled teenage bones-- the Dallas Diner.

We expected nothing extraordinary, but were greeted with the earthy wood tones and down-home friendly Americana feel of the place. After all, we were in Pennsylvania, a state richly steeped in American tradition.. And certainly the city of Dallas is about as all-American as you can get.

Now all this was fine, until we stopped to look at the business card we had procured. A beige card with brown printing-- illustration of a wagon wheel, a cowboy, and a tumbleweed. Rustic Americana at its finest. But in the lower left hand corner of the card, we were shocked and astounded to see the phrase "Your Host: MEHMET ISIK" as plain as day, for all the world to see.

Shortly afterward, we converted our high school homeroom into a Mehmet paradise. Our teacher wanted to organize a field trip to the Dallas Diner (she always called him Machmed for some unknown reason) but sadly the field trip never happened. We became the Mehmites, and each of us were given a name to be used when referring to our newly discovered religion. (I was the Grand High Ruler of the Mehmites, Adamular) Illustrations were made, poetry was written, and all for the sake of one confused immigrant in Pennsylvania. One day we tried actually speaking with the Man, even going so far as to ask for his autograph on a placemat, but sadly he refused (though the poem we wrote was hung behind the register for several months) The poem, incidentally, has been sitting up on my disused website for several years now at

Anyway, that's the gist of my story. I really could go on and on, but I'm sure this is already too much.

Oh, and in case you're wondring, Mehmet called it the Dallas Diner because he just really liked the TV show. I'm serious.

Yours and Mehmet's,
Adam M. Levbarg

Golden Dawn IV
At 5 corners, in Levittown. Except for the fact that they make the whole place smoking at night, it's pretty good. They also have a Ms. Pacman machine, for those of you who are into that sort of thing. I personally recommend the Ban Waf.

Golden Eagle II
300 Bath Rd and Rt. 13, Bristol (pretty darn close to Yardley). My immediate response to this diner was,"Mein Gott! Die Fangarme!." Let's begin with some of the vital stats. First, it's open 24-7, which gives it an immediate leg-up. Secondly, the scale of this place is large: Plenty of seating, big comfy chairs, a large parking lot, and a great big display case in front which features some of the tastiest looking pastry and cakes that I've seen in a long time. The bathrooms are clean, and the menu is extensive and moderately priced. Regrettably, I cannot report very accurately on the food. You see, Amy, Dan, and I had eaten dinner before going to the Golden eagle, and hence, our purchases were somewhat limited. I only had a corn muffin. It was, however, one of the finest muffins I've ever had. Amy was not quite as fond of her french onion soup, but Dan decided to order one of those fancy drinks (yes, they do serve booze), and he loved it! Really, he couldn't stop raving. As he put it,"It brought out the true Irish in me!"

The Great American Diner and Pub
Business Route 1 and 413. Langhorne. The sign outside proudly boasts "Open 24 hours" and "$1.99 Breakfast Specials" (which, by looking at the menu and noting that these are eggs and has browns, I'd have to say that they're not all that special). Anyway, I was somewhat shocked to be driving down Business 1 and see a diner that I'd never encountered before; so much so that I had to stop there for lunch -- which I did. The outside has a somewhat undiner-like feel to it. This is due, no doubt, to the fact that it has been a pasta restaurant, and every other sort of family eatery you can imagine. The inside, too, reflects this feel, and despite occasional hints of neon, I couldn't help but think that but for the 24 hours of being open, and the word "diner" on the sign, this didn't really feel like a diner to me.

I must, in the interests of all, be fair however. The menu was large (about 4 double sided pages), contained all the standard diner favorites, and was reasonably cheap (or as cheap as you can get in Bucks County). My waiter was good, if a bit on the manic depressive side. I felt like buying him something to ease his pain, but I refrained, as he seemed utterly unapproachable. In the end, I ordered Baked Potato soup served in a bread bowl, and a side salad. The salad was fine -- indeed, I think it only worth remarking if the salad is somehow laced with arsenic. The soup was tasty (and you know how I feel about those bread bowls!), but someone went a bit overboard with the upper layer of cheese. The soup was also accompanied, for no explicible reason, with apple cobbler or something like that. I didn't eat much of it however, as a matter of principle. I think that fruit has no place in dessert! In the end, I have to say, "wait and see" with this one. The place was kind of empty, suggesting to me, at least, that the nearby Blue Fountain still dominates the local diner scene. Still, I got my lunch for under $10 including tax and tip, so I guess I can't really criticize it too much.

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