Route 50 Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Seven months ago, the world at large was changing dramatically. Mother Theresa was canonized by the Pope. Clinton and Trump were preparing for their first presidential debate. Scientists declared that there were four species of giraffes, not just one. The earliest known fish hooks were discovered on Okinawa Island, Japan.

And the Route 50 Diner in Ballston Spa opened its doors for the first time.

At the plaza on Doubleday Ave, the Route 50 Diner pays homage to America’s military heroes while serving homemade food in a friendly atmosphere.

We were seated immediately at a booth that was entirely average comfort-wise, then ordered our traditional coffee and water while exploring the menu. The Route 50 Diner serve breakfast and lunch, and we had plenty of options to choose from.

Overtired from a long adventure the previous day and fearing a defrosted soup and salty meat letdown, we grilled the waitress about the menu. Though the breakfast menu was somewhat limited, we perked up when she proudly told us that all sandwich meat is roasted in-house, the soups are homemade, the potatoes are hand-cut in the kitchen, and real eggs are used in the omelettes.

The soups of the day were Veggie or Chicken Florentine, so Matt ordered a bowl of the Florentine, plus a turkey club. I was feeling breakfast-y, so I went with a mushroom Swiss omelette with plain home fries and toast.

While our waitress delivered our order, we tasted the coffee from the fresh pot that had just been made. It was strong, good coffee, with no acidic or burned aftertaste. With nothing added to it, it was a 4 out of 5. The water had a tap-like taste, but was cold and drinkable – we rate it a 3.

While we waited for our food, we took in the atmosphere of the place. Couples, friends, and young families were there for lunch, and it was a very pleasant atmosphere. The military theme, thanking local heroes, resonated throughout the interior and exterior, with the “Wall of Heroes” above the kitchen entrance, and the three large banners on the exterior of the building.

Everything was very clean and well-maintained, which added to the relaxing atmosphere of the place. At the kitchen counter were three stools for patrons to sit at, though it looks like this diner might have previously been a pizza place, since it’s set up more like a restaurant than a diner.

Matt’s soup arrived, and it looked and smelled delicious.

The chicken in the soup was amazing, definitely not in those weird chunks like you get in canned or frozen soup, but shredded, like it was put in there by hand. The veggies were perfectly cooked, the broth was slightly creamy, and all the flavors blended together into what might be the best soup we’ve tasted out of all the diners we’ve visited in the past three years.

YUM, you guys.

 

 

When our food arrived, we dove right in.

Matt had a french fry first, and proclaimed, “This is stupid good.” They were fried perfectly, with lots of crunch on the outside and potato-y goodness on the inside. The Turkey Club was also incredible, “one of the best clubs I’ve ever had,” said Matt. It was flavorful and moist, with delicious bread and perfectly cooked bacon. The only thing lacking was that the bread could have been toasted better.

My omelette was amazing, as it had sauteed mushrooms, which is something I have not yet seen at any diner before. Most diners plop your mushrooms right from a can into your omelette, but not this Ballston Spa haven of deliciousness. The Swiss cheese was lovely, the grilled potatoes were the best I’ve had, and the toast was perfectly cooked. It had a little too much butter, but I can’t complain about that. Everything was outstanding. Needless to say, the food at the Route 50 Diner is a 5. Hands down.

The only thing that we were surprised about was the lack of desserts–typically, in this sort of place, you’d expect some homemade Chocolate Cream Pie or Banana Cream Pie or Napoleons or cakes, and all they had was store bought apple pie and pudding. Hopefully they get some homemade desserts in there soon, to really round out the experience.

Our lovely waitress – attentive, funny, and personable – leads us to give the service a 5 as well. We were taken care of from the moment we set foot in the diner until we left, and the waitress told us she hoped to see us again soon. The prices are average and affordable for a diner, and it’s an excellent place to go with friends and family.

The dinerness of the Route 50 Diner is a 1, as there was no chrome, it didn’t look like an old box car diner, the floor wasn’t in a checkered tile pattern, and I saw no mirrors. It’s still set up like a restaurant, but the atmosphere says diner, and we got a handwritten check at the end. 

Go to the Route 50 Diner next time you find yourself in the Ballston Spa area of upstate New York, and prepare for a great dining experience.

Chuck Wagon Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today we traveled along the Western Turnpike to the land of horses and fields that go on forever. When Spotify started cutting out, we knew we were getting close to the Chuck Wagon Diner. We chose this place for its fabulous name and location — Duanesburg is a lovely country town with rolling hills and plenty of farms.

IMG_20170402_114417

From the outside, it 100% looks like a true, old fashioned American diner should. We stepped inside and were happy to see that the decor honored the style of an old diner. There was a jukebox in the corner, a long counter with smaller jukeboxes on it, chrome accents on the ceiling and above the counter, and an extended dining room in the back. We got there around 11:30am, which seems to be the norm for our lazy Sundays, and the hostess sat us immediately at a booth in the dining room.

PANO_20170402_114225

IMG_20170402_121101

We were handed breakfast and lunch menus, which didn’t have a lot of options to choose from. IMG_20170402_112849

There was a nice little history about the Chuck Wagon Diner on the front of the menu, which was nice to read, as it’s definitely one of the best diner-looking diners we’ve been to in our travels. The prices on the menu were so low we started to question the quality, but we were in it to win it. Besides, we couldn’t have had a worse experience than yesterday’s go-round at the Country View Diner. While we perused the menu, we had the speediest delivery of coffee and water to date. Less than a minute from ordering to receiving–our waiter was great!

IMG_20170402_113655

Unfortunately the coffee and water were not as great. The water tasted like it came out of old pipes, and we ended up rating it a 2 out of 5. The coffee was a 2 as well, since it tasted as old and burnt out as the transmission on an ’87 Corolla.

IMG_20170402_113141

I ordered a mushroom and Swiss omelette, with an English muffin and plain home fried potatoes. I was assured by the waiter that the home fries had no seasonings on them, which (you can already tell from my tone) was completely wrong. Matt ordered a cheese omelette with home fries, a banana muffin, and a side of corned beef hash. It was nice to see the Chuck Wagon embraced cheeses of various nationalities — American, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Cheddar.

IMG_20170402_114811IMG_20170402_114847

The food came out in a little over 10 minutes, which was nice to see since it wasn’t super busy. The omelettes were average, definitely a solid 3 out of 5. The home fried potatoes were very good even though they had some spices on them, and everything else was pretty average as well. Though the corned beef hash was saltier than your ex best friend, the banana muffin was good and the English muffin was perfectly toasted. We’re rating the food a 3 overall. The only thing that made me frown was the fact that there were a few caraway seeds in every food item that had been on the grill. Apparently rye bread had sent its minions out to infiltrate and flavor everything else just a tad. I see you, rye bread. Do NOT come for me.

The service was impeccable at the Chuck Wagon Diner; the waiter refilled our coffees as soon as we ran out and came back a few times throughout the meal to check on things, bringing us whatever we needed in record time. We rarely give a 5 for service, but the Chuck Wagon gets this perfect score. They treat their customers well and are quick to get you whatever you need.

IMG_20170402_121437

We don’t usually comment on the bathrooms at diners we visit, but the Chuck Wagon deserves a special shoutout for being hilarious and thoughtful. In the women’s restroom, there was a legit changing table for infants with a padded top. Not one of those weird plastic ones that fold down from the wall. Above the restrooms was a sign reminding patrons, “Don’t squat with your spurs on,” and in the men’s bathroom was a custom toilet paper holder called the CrapMaster 3000.

IMG_20170402_121357

What a time to be alive.

At the counter were a group of individuals who appeared to be regulars, and one of the older men busted out a harmonica at one point to play “You Are My Sunshine.” It was lovely.

IMG_3704FLOOR

IMG_3701CEILING

Tin ceiling with matching light fixtures over every booth.

The humorous decor spilled over into the dining room, where a funny sign captured our attention before we noticed the babymakin’ pigs.

IMG_20170402_120925

America.

We were given a handwritten check, which really sealed the deal on our dinerness rating of 5.

Our experience at the Chuck Wagon Diner was pleasant and we would definitely stop there again. The service was excellent, the staff was friendly and welcoming, and the booths were clean. There’s ample parking in the front and back, with nice views of Duanesburg all around.

IMG_20170402_114405

Country View Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Far, far away in the land of Rensselaer County lies the small town of Brunswick, New York, home of the Country View Diner. We sought out this diner after passing it years ago on an expedition to get familiar with the area.

IMG_20170401_111922

We sat down at a booth that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a very long time. The fake flowers looked like they were dying, and the vase they were in was sticky and crusty. The booth seats had dried splattered something on them, and if the walls could talk, they would say “Please bleach the slop off our faces.”

IMG_3683

IMG_3681

While waiting for our coffee and water, we took in our environment, which was a mix of mirrored columns with greasy handprints, chrome accents, drab gray formica, and neon ceiling lights reminiscent of The Max, Bayside High’s favorite hangout spot from “Saved by the Bell.”

IMG_20170401_112334

IMG_20170401_112353

IMG_20170401_112133The booths were like sitting on a weird water bed, very floofy and not very supportive. We perused the menu, which had selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner–typical diner fare. The only atypical and confusing piece was the selection of “salads,” which were actually just salad platters. You’d get a bed of lettuce with tomato, cucumber, and chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad or grilled chicken. I asked for a grilled chicken salad with tomato, cucumber, green peppers and a hard boiled egg, with blue cheese dressing on the side. Then I crossed my fingers that I’d get something reminiscent of a salad.

Matt ordered a cup of chili and a turkey club sandwich. While we waited, we tasted the coffee and water, and checked out the condiments on our table. The salt and pepper shakers needed a healthy cleaning.

IMG_20170401_112205

The coffee tasted like it had been around the block a few times in the same coffee pot and had a lingering, unpleasant aftertaste — a solid 2 out of 5 in our book. The water was astonishingly a 4.

IMG_20170401_113211

Around us was a mix of college kids and locals, and though we were there on the early side of lunch (11:30am), the place was not busy at all. Within fifteen minutes of ordering, we got our meals. They brought out Matt’s chili at the same time as his turkey club, and his fries were cold. I had no egg on my salad and there were olives on it, though I didn’t ask for any.

IMG_20170401_114237

IMG_20170401_114255IMG_20170401_114245

 I would like to take this opportunity to propose a call to action to all diners: Olives, like sardines and artichokes, are a very polarizing food. Please do not automatically assume olives are okay. They are Satan’s turds and I don’t want them on my plate.

After I carefully picked all those evil little nuggets off my salad, I noticed the iceberg lettuce was bitter, and looked like it had been partially frozen at one point. The chicken had strange brown spots that I didn’t even bother with, and I couldn’t even eat half the salad. The tomatoes tasted bland, and the cucumbers were incredibly bitter. Matt ate his chili, which was just about okay, and then tasted his fries and turkey club, which were also just okay. We were hungry, which made the turkey club start out positive, but each subsequent bite became more and more disappointing. Overall, the food was a 2.

Our waitress maintained the obviously low standards of the Country View Diner by ignoring us and our empty water glasses, passing by multiple times to take care of the adjacent tables, and the place wasn’t even close to being half full. We ran out of coffee, napkins and water, and had to get her attention before being taken care of. Service at this diner was a 2.

IMG_3685Upon walking in originally, we had seen the “desserts baked on premise” sign and the pastry case at the front, and had initially decided to try some desserts. However, after seeing how much the diner needed to be cleaned and having some terrible tasteless food, we passed on the dessert experience.

IMG_20170401_120255

IMG_20170401_120249

The bill total came to about $28, which was pretty average for a diner meal for us. The dinerness of the Country View Diner was a 3, as the decor was a hybrid of grandma’s living room and a modern diner. As we were leaving, my mood started to get better, until another waitress overstepped her boundaries in a major way. She palmed my head like a basketball, said “I like your hair,” and then ran her hand down the entire length of my hair, which is nearly to my hips at this point. I was too shocked at the violation of my personal bubble to react, and I left the place seeing red.

Needless to say, the Country View Diner is a great place for a bad experience. The Country View Diner will disrespect your taste buds, your personal space and your money.

South Troy Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every now and then, we come across a diamond in the rough.

After stopping at the Troy Riverfront Farmer’s Market this morning and stocking up on gourmet peanut butter, we headed to the nearest diner that Google could direct us to, which was the South Troy Diner.

If it hadn’t been for the giant coffee mug and Diner sign on the exterior, we would have missed it. Located at the intersection of 1st and 4th, The South Troy Diner is one of those places that blends into the surrounding houses and apartment buildings, but is more of a gem than we could have expected. Walking in, all we could smell was the enticing scent of home fried potatoes and fried eggs. I was taken back to memories of Sunday morning breakfasts with my family.

We picked a booth without having to wait and the waitress took our orders for coffee and water. I sat down way too fast (ok fine, I slumped like a bear) into the booth and sank pretty far down, as the seats were not as supportive as they appeared. My crankiness was quickly abated by coffees and water from the waitress, and menus for perusal.

While there were only about three pages of actual breakfast and lunch menu items (SO many menu sponsor ads), the food listed all sounded incredible. Mind you, we were there the morning after St. Paddy’s Day, so there were some mouthwatering Irish-American specials listed on their specials dry erase board. The place was also pretty empty except for a few tables; I assume many people were nursing Guinness and corned beef hangovers this morning.

We’ve had our fill of omelettes in the past month or so, and went in a different direction this weekend. When the world’s nicest and most helpful waitress told us that the turkey on the Turkey Club Sandwich was roasted in-house, Matt knew he had to get it. He also ordered the Ultimate Home Fries, which are deep-fried and covered in sausage, peppers, onions, and nacho cheese. I ordered the Belgian Waffle with blueberries…it’s got fruit so it’s healthy, right?

While we waited for our food, which didn’t take long, we noticed the home style decor, a combined nod to 60s-style diners and your grandma’s classy den.

It took less than 15 minutes to get our food, and as soon as Matt took a bite of his sandwich, he said “This club is a 5!” I tasted the wild blueberries and whipped cream on my Belgian waffle, which I was quick to give a high 4. The only thing that would have made it a 5 was fresh homemade whipped cream, but overall the food was a 5. I haven’t had such a tasty, hearty waffle in such a long time.

Try not to lick your screen.

The coffee, which was one of the better coffees we’ve had, was a strong 3 while black. It was slightly weak in taste, but very smooth, non-acidic, and didn’t have that left-on-the-burner-too-damn-long taste that so many diners have. With the fresh Byrne Dairy creamer and sugar, it was a strong 4. The water was nice as well, a solid 5 out of 5. No lemon needed.

The service was stellar as well, a definite 5 out of 5. Our waitress made helpful recommendations, was incredibly nice and friendly, and refilled our coffees frequently. As you can see from the photos, there isn’t much chrome, but this friendly, relaxed diner definitely has an old-school feel to it. From the decor to the sounds of the chef scrambling eggs in the kitchen and the friendly waitress, the South Troy Diner is a delicious and low-key experience from start to finish. The dinerness is a 4.

The diner’s interior is much bigger than the exterior suggests, and there is ample parking right behind it. They accept cards and cash as payment, and are family-friendly if you want to bring your munchkins along. For such a hearty, homemade breakfast, the prices are low and the quality is high — perfect for a hot date or a hangover! They’re open 6:30am-2pm and if you’re in the area, you NEED to stop by and get yourself some delicious food.

Have you been to the South Troy Diner? If so, let us know your thoughts on this blog or visit our Facebook page and share your thoughts there. We’d love to hear from you!

Colonie Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today was a sunny, windy, freezing day, perfect for hopping in a car, blasting the heat, and heading down the road to Colonie, NY for the Colonie Diner. Located on the ever-busy Central Ave, Albany, the Colonie Diner has ample parking and looks like your average, run-of-the-mill diner.

We rolled in around 11:30am, though it still felt like 10:30am because of daylight savings time. We were seated in what might be the world’s most comfortable diner booth without having to wait. Seriously, the MOST comfortable booths — so cushy and soft, they looked brand new. It was like a Tempurpedic for just your butt.

As you can see, the interior was designed well and the booths all matched each other. The tables were at the perfect height regardless of how good or terrible your posture is, and even the counter seating looked new and pleasant. We ordered our usual coffee and water, the two ratings we use as our benchmark. One can usually tell what to expect from the food after having tasted the coffee and water.

Here they are, in all their glory, just chillin on the table like two peas in a pod. The “mugs,” if you can call them that, were more like teacups with saucers, and were definitely going to need to be filled more often than if they had been regular mugs. The creamers were nice and cold, which is, sadly, atypical of the majority of diners out there. We looked around to see if there were any waitresses that appeared to be old enough to have worked there since the dawn of time, but no dice. For those of you new to the blog, that’s one of our key points in determining the “diner-ness” of a place, which we’ll get to later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The menu, which was well put together in a logical order, had a wide variety of breakfast options, lunch items, and dinner specials, with a separate page for Senior Dinner Specials. For youngsters, there was an unimaginative kid’s menu, for picky anemic kids who refuse to eat anything except for chicken nuggets or mac and cheese.

I decided to order the Greek yogurt with nuts, honey, and fruit, because I’m trying to eat healthy (thanks for the slow metabolism, God) and a piece of cinnamon toast without butter. As it turns out, our waitress told me that their sad attempt at cinnamon toast was just white toast with butter, cinnamon and sugar on. Totally unacceptable, as I grew up in a household where our cinnamon was SWIRLED in our toast, so I ordered a piece of French Toast instead because how can that be anything other than what it sounds like?

The waitress, who was super nice and seemed to have my best interest in mind, told me that the fruit on top of the yogurt would be canned fruit. Um…no.  Matt ordered a spinach, onion and Swiss omelette with a bagel and homefries. Our coffees were refilled as we waited, and then within 5 minutes my yogurt was brought out. Apparently it was the breakfast version of an appetizer.

The nuts were walnuts and the honey tasted like an average store-bought honey, but it was great nonetheless. Not long after, the manager/owner brought the rest of our meals out, and Matt’s plate looked great. There was just one problem with his…

TOAST instead of a BAGEL?!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Our waitress put in an order for the bagel, while she brought some Frank’s Red Hot out to Matt for his omelette. They also had a selection of French’s ketchup, the usual Smucker’s jelly organizer, and different colored sugar substitute packets.

I asked the waitress for real syrup for my sad-looking French toast, but they only had Smucker’s “Breakfast Syrup,” which is essentially corn syrup, sugar, and maple flavoring. I tried a little but it was awful and made me so, so sad. I also tried the French toast, but it tasted like a restaurant’s grill version of an Eggo Waffle (TM), as if the bread itself was French Toast flavored and they stuck it in a toaster to warm it up.

Confectioner’s sugar can’t cover your LIES

It was terrible so I didn’t eat it, but I was mostly full from the yogurt parfait. Matt’s omelette was good, so we’re rating the food a 3/5. Nothing spectacular, just average. Service is a 4 out of 5, the waitress seemed to be trying her best to do a good job in spite of sluggish management, and she sounded disappointed in their food quality when we were ordering. When we went to pay, however, there were four different people at the register within 90 seconds – first our waitress, then the manager/owner, than a hostess, then some other guy. It was wholly inefficient, and as two 7-tops had just walked in, people started getting confused and parties were seated in the wrong order. Our coffee was a 3, as it had a gritty aftertaste. The water was a 3 as well, nice and cold but average.

The dinerness of the Colonie Diner is a 4 out of 5. Plenty of chrome accents, desserts in a refrigerated display case, and typical diner fare.

Have you been to the Colonie Diner? Would you recommend it? Comment below or visit us on our Facebook page to catch up with us and see where else we’ve been.

Duanesburg Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_20170226_110703

This week, we headed south to hit up the Duanesburg Diner, aptly named after the town it’s located in. After a long stretch of highway, this place was easy to find, and the parking lot was spacious.

IMG_20170226_120356

PANO_20170226_120158

Extremely spacious parking lot, a welcome sight for travelers and truckers.IMG_20170226_120054

We walked in and were seated almost immediately, at a booth right next to a window. There were walls covered with photos of patrons over the years, which made the whole place feel very welcoming and family-friendly. It’s a not-so-subtle way of a diner showing their gratitude for their community and friends.

IMG_20170226_110817

IMG_20170226_110859

The waitress gave us our menus, and noted the daily specials on the boards above the counter. The food and beverage was typical of diner fare, for all three meals they serve – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We ordered our usual coffee and water to sip while we perused the menus, which had average prices for a diner, funny clip art, and advertising from local businesses. We place our orders, and while we waited, took a couple photos of the long counter with some of the most unique stools we’ve seen. They were probably just as uncomfortable as the rigid booth we sat in, but that didn’t deter regulars and new patrons from stopping in and enjoying a meal. The booths were roomy and the tables were at the perfect height, which definitely added to the family-friendliness of this diner.

IMG_20170226_110911

IMG_20170226_110941

We tried the water, which tasted ever so slightly like the tap but had a decent flavor otherwise, and give it a 4 out of 5 –no lemon needed! The coffee, a 3 out of 5, left a burnt aftertaste in our mouths, but overall was smooth and dark. The waitress, an attentive ninja, refilled our coffees a couple times without us even noticing. We each ordered an omelette with home fries and wheat toast. It didn’t take too long to get our meals–15 minutes, tops–and we snapped a shot before we dug in.

IMG_20170226_114010

I ordered a mushroom, onion and Swiss omelette (top), and Matt got an omelette with peppers, onions, and Swiss. The food was good, nothing excellent but tasty enough for a high 3 out of 5. The service was great! Definitely a 5 out of 5. We didn’t have to ask for anything more than once and got refills on everything very quickly.

The bill at the end was handwritten, and there was a minimum of $10 for credit cards. At the register, which was oddly placed at the end of the two rows of booth, you could buy Duanesburg Diner merch, like hats, mugs, and t-shirts. We thought for a moment about getting a mug or something, but then we’d have to start getting it at every diner we went to, and our weekly reviews would cost us a hell of a lot more. We also noticed that there were candy bars at the register for sale…not for a cause or a fundraiser, just for funsies.

The Duanesburg Diner boasts great family food for average diner prices in a restaurant setting. The dinerness rating for this place is low, a 2 out of 5. There was hardly any chrome to speak of, and I didn’t have to look at myself in thirty million mirrors on walls and ceilings, like I do at other diners. We had a good experience overall, and would recommend this place if you happen to find yourself on a long stretch of highway in western Schenectady County, New York.

Visit the Duanesburg Diner on Facebook or on their website, and let us know in the comments if you’ve been here before. And don’t forget to visit us on our Facebook page. Like the page, comment, or send us pictures of your diner experiences, or of your pets. Or of your pets’ diner experiences. Next week, we’ll be heading to a new diner!

PANO_20170226_115731

 

 

 

Uncle John’s Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where the mouth of the Mohawk joins the Hudson is the small Upstate NY city Cohoes. Tucked away on Ontario Street is Uncle John’s Diner, where cash is the currency and real food is prepared. Sitting down at Uncle John’s, one might be reminded of the 1997 Tracy Byrd hit, “I’m From The Country:”

Ev’rybody knows ev’rybody,
Ev’rybody calls you ‘friend,’
You don’t need an invitation
Kick off your shoes, come on in.

img_20170218_103752

It was the smallest diner we’ve ever seen. Regular patrons greeted each other, and carried on conversations with each other from one side of the 25-foot-wide room to the other. There were 18 seats total – eight counter stools and five 2-tops. One of the things I noticed immediately, because I am my mother’s daughter, is how clean the ceiling fan was.

img_20170218_105243Uncle John’s does breakfast only, so if you’re looking for lunch, you’re out of luck. We were greeted by a pleasant waitress and not handed menus because, as it turns out, the menu was on chalkboard signs on the walls and above the counter.

The menu was pretty basic, you could get any combination of eggs, American cheese, img_20170218_112705rye/wheat/white toast, bacon, ham, sausage, peppers, onions, or home fried potatoes. Our disappointment at the surprisingly small menu faded when we realized that all of the food at Uncle John’s Diner is served fresh. We saw bags of potatoes behind the counter, plus freshly-diced peppers and onions, and stacks of fresh eggs. They’re a cash-only establishment, so stop at the ATM on your way there, fellow card-only-bringers.

As always, we started out with coffee and water. The coffee was freshly brewed, though watery and bland. We were given a cold Byrne Dairy half and half for creamer, and this is likely the only time I’ve had a fresh creamer at a diner. So coffee is a 3 out of 5, but the creamer (which we’ve never bothered to rate before) was a 5!

The water was perfect, a 5 out of 5–and I knew this before even sipping it.

img_20170218_103953

That’s right y’all, a cold Poland Spring!

We ordered omelettes with peppers and onions, while our buddy Tim got a couple eggs over medium, with bacon, toast, and home fried potatoes. The two waitresses made sure we had coffee refills as often as we wanted, and the chef running the show in the back made our food in about 15 minutes.

img_20170218_110557 img_20170218_110554 img_20170218_110551

The food overall was really good (a 4 out of 5), and we appreciated that everything was cooked fresh and was real. No egg substitute used here! Definitely some of the best potatoes we’ve had in a long time. There aren’t many choices at Uncle John’s Diner, but what they do have, they make well. The atmosphere was nice, and the temperature was comfortable, although the seats were super uncomfortable. Service was prompt, we give it a 4 out of 5. As for the dinerness of the place, it’s a 4 out of 5. There was enough chrome to line a truck bed, and regulars who all knew each other.

img_20170218_110403

img_20170218_112658

img_20170218_105238

edit-img_20170218_105218

Just don’t look up, you’ll think you’re in a dentist’s office for a hot second.

edithrs_img_20170218_112831Uncle John’s Diner is a big fan of the city of Cohoes, with historical photos on the walls and history books about the city propped up against the wall behind the counter. It’s a great stop if you’re in Cohoes before noon on a weekend and want to catch a quick meal. It wasn’t crowded when we stopped in, and we had a good meal at a very low price.

img_20170218_112813

 

img_20170218_103801

If you have been to Uncle John’s Diner or plan to go there, what’s your take? You can comment below or share your thoughts with us on Facebook.

 

Kerrie’s Northway Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Like Lil’ Kim, we been gone for a minute now we’re back with the jump off.

This weekend, we hit up 87 North and ended up on the main drag in Queensbury, NY, about an hour north of Albany. Located on bustling Main Street, Kerrie’s Northway Diner is an unassuming place that has more character and space inside than you’d think.

20160103_123150

20160103_123144

20160103_114759

The unconventional counters looked like repurposed hibachi grills. Come to think of it, we haven’t been out for hibachi or sushi in a while. Maybe that’s what we’ll have tonight.

It was a “seat yourself” situation, so we nabbed a booth by the window, and had some time to take in the ambiance while we waited for our coffees and waters. Half of the interior is all wood everything, which made me feel like we were in a cabin by a lake instead of a diner, and the other half looks like a 1950s diner with black and white checkered floor tiles and pink walls. The booths were rigid like a church pew but more comfortable (no Bibles and my mom wasn’t there telling me to sit up straight), and the Formica tables were at a comfortable height for dining, with plenty of leg room. There was a fridge next to the entrance, which we initially thought was just for decor but was actually functional. The place wasn’t super packed, and a lot of the regulars there were older gentlemen who spoke to each other about their blood sugar levels and who the best heart doctors are in the area.

On the walls of Northway Diner were scattered framed photos, some of family members and some of Marilyn Monroe. Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons played on a radio in the background, and we watched a lumberjack competition on the small TV in the corner for a few minutes while deciding what we wanted for brunch.

20160103_114326

The breakfast part of the menu.

We got our coffee, which was smooth and full bodied, and which we rate a 4 out of 5. The water was alright, not the best we’ve ever had, so we rated it a 3. Maybe it was the water, maybe the cups, but it had a sink taste that always knocks off a rating point or two for us.

20160103_114455

20160103_114531

 

 

 

 

 

I ordered a broccoli, sausage and Swiss cheese omelette with wheat toast, while Matt ordered a jalapeno, cheddar cheese and sausage omelette with a bagel. Buffalo chicken soup was a special of the day, so Matt decided to give it a shot.

20160103_115848

Buffalo chicken soup with the only oyster cracker brand worth eating.

The soup was not that great, as the texture and taste suggested it came from a giant plastic bag–definitely not homemade. It’s a good lesson to learn – always ask your server if the soup is homemade or heated up in a bag. It will save you heartache and pouting.

The rest of our food came out; the homefries were hearty and a cooked on the grill, which was a welcome reprieve from some of the diners we’ve visited that fry the hell out of tiny potato pieces and drown it in salt. The toast was tasty and the bagel was good, it tasted like it had been toasted on a grill, which in this case in not a bad thing. The omelettes were good but could have been fluffier.

20160103_120207

Yep yep yep indeed.

20160103_120158

Overall, we rate the food a 3.5, as it’s a little better than average and pretty filling. The service at this family-owned diner is a 5, as the waitress was friendly and constantly checking to make sure we had everything we needed.

20160103_123058

Kerrie’s Northway Diner is a great place to stop if you’re looking for a local mom-and-pop with good food, friendly service and a small town atmosphere. You get filling food at a good price and it’s not a bad way to spend a weekend morning.

20160103_115723

20160103_114754

20160103_115640

20160103_122640

20160103_123045

Miss Monroe on the left and a wary patron on the right.

 

 

Glenville Queen

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_3464

 

A beautiful Sunday morning took us down the road to the Glenville Queen today. Technically, it’s not a diner, but there were some time constraints we were worried about today, so we’re counting it. As you can see from the photo, it looks like a diner but is considered a Family Restaurant. As you can also see from the photo, I’m terrible at the panoramic photo taking, since there’s a car that looks like it got stuck in a time warp on the right.

IMG_3451

 

We thought the wait would be long when we walked in, but it turns out the party in front of us was nine people deep, so our table for two was seated immediately. The booths themselves would have been much more comfortable, if it weren’t for the awkwardly-placed iron bars beneath the tables. The bars were meant to prop them up but if you have legs longer than a child’s, you’re going to have a bad time. I somehow managed not to bang my knee on it the entire time I was there, which is a personal achievement because I managed to wreck my knees on everything else. We noted that the decor at Glenville Queen (hereafter referred to as GQ) seemed to be taken from an episode of “The Golden Girls“… I call it Bea Arthur chic. Lots of pastels and flowery patterns, with a dusty rose color that popped up throughout the place in the booth seats, tables, walls and curtains. The ceiling had faux wood beams that looked like a cheap material had been used to cover some aesthetically displeasing steel beams.

20150329_110250

 

So we perused the breakfast menu as George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” played softly in the background (ohhh, that sexy sax). GQ’s breakfast selections were nothing fancy or out of the ordinary. You have the typical breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, omelettes and sides. What you don’t have at GQ are specialty coffees or espresso, so you’re stuck with plain ol’ coffee. Which, when you’re overtired, is totally fine, but not if you have a hankerin’ for some caramel latte action. We ordered coffee and water while we came to a decision on what to have for breakfast.

IMG_3458The coffees were good, with a light mouth feel, bold taste, and no burnt flavor. We’re rating the coffee a 4 out of 5. Imagine if they had lattes? Good lord. Our water, on the other hand, was a low 3 out of 5. There were some extra mineral-type flavors going on, and not in the “I feel healthier after drinking this” kind of way, but the “I hope that machine was cleaned recently” kind of way. Even the lemon in my water could not save it from the odd taste.

After asking our waitress the hard-hitting questions (“What kind of fruit is in the fruit cup?” “Do you have cappuccino?” “Does this tshirt make me look schlubby?”), we ordered our breakfasts. I chose the Belgian waffle with strawberries, banana and whipped cream with a side of bacon; Matt ordered the “He-Man Breakfast,” which was French Toast, bacon, sausage, ham and “country fresh eggs” anyway you like them. He substituted more sausage for the ham, because ham sucks unless it’s a holiday. While we waited, we looked around and noted that many of the patrons were in their Sunday best and were probably regulars. My Sunday best is a tshirt and jeans with slip-on Merrells, because tying shoes is exclusively a weekday-only activity in my world. There were quite a few young families with polite children sitting at tables around us, and some older couples scattered around as well. The wait staff were hustling and working their butts off to keep their patrons happy, and everyone seemed to be enjoying their food.

20150329_100925

Once our food came out, we snapped a few photos and made some quick judgments. It looked like it would taste average.

20150329_102509

 

IMG_345920150329_102514

 

IMG_3460

 

 

Being pretty hungry (we showed up that way, we didn’t have to wait long for the food), we dug in and evaluated the taste. My Belgian waffle tasted off, like it had too much salt in the batter, and the strawberries were a sad dark color like they had been in the sugary syrup for far too long. There wasn’t enough whipped cream to make me giddy, and the bananas–the best part of the meal–were too ripe. I thought the bacon might be good, but it was a little rubbery and far too salty to enjoy, so I skipped that part. Matt’s “country fresh eggs” tasted like they might have never been eggs at any part of their journey. They were tasteless; even salt and pepper couldn’t save them. The French Toast was a little dry, not super flavorful and came with whipped butter and “breakfast syrup” on the side. The sausage links were decent.

20150329_100719

A line on the placemat says “why cook at home?” I can think of a few really good reasons.

20150329_102517

 

20150329_110203Although our breakfasts were a little disappointing, we saw that the desserts are baked on premises by their own baker, and the dessert case looked promising, so Matt decided to give one a try. It was a toss-up between Oreo cheesecake and the coconut cream pie, but he went with the cheesecake after our waitress made that recommendation. The description on the menu sounded fabulous: “We start with our fresh creamy smooth Cheesecake, then gently fold in Oreo Cookies and top it all with Chocolate Fudge Sauce.” And here’s what it looks like:20150329_105310

 

It looks amazing, you guys. But it wasn’t all that great. Matt’s review of the Oreo cheesecake was, “If I was this cheesecake’s father, I would tell it how disappointed in it I am… And then I would be swiftly arrested for eating my child.”

20150329_110257

So we rated the food, overall, a low 3. The service, however, was great, and we’re rating it a 5. Our waitress was fast, polite and helpful with answering our mundane questions.

IMG_3454

Side note, the children’s menu is terrifying. Why does that girl have teeth on the side of her mouth?

There are a lot of great places to go in Upstate New York if you’re looking for a great diner or family restaurant, but we wouldn’t recommend Glenville Queen as one of them. It’s a bit unfair to rate the dinerness, since it’s not actually a diner, but if we had to rate it, it would be a 1. There isn’t much in the way of chrome or mirrors, and there aren’t any checkerboard patterns anywhere, but there is definitely a vintage feel to the place and a few of the wait staff look like they’ve been there for years.

Have you been to the Queen? What did you think? Share your thoughts by commenting on the post below, or follow us on Facebook. Where should we go next?

IMG_3463

 

IMG_3461

 

20150329_11022820150329_110406

IMG_3455

 

Alexi’s Diner

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This past weekend, we found ourselves in East Greenbush, a town named after the mayor’s favorite color and the shrubbery commonly found in the area. (Okay, that part is made up. But we did end up there.) We ignored the giant Cracker Barrel sign by the highway and made our way to Alexi’s Diner, which is on the way to Troy. Alexi’s is on a lovely road and the diner itself is surrounded by trees, with a nice walkway to the entrance. It’s the type of place that looks nice year-round because of impeccable landscaping and excellent location.

20150321_124304

We only had to wait two minutes before the hostess led us to a booth with a window. The booths would have been comfortable, since the backs were nice and high, if not for the oddly-placed button cover smack in the middle of the back.

20150321_115742

Seriously, why?

Our waitress took more than a couple minutes to come to our table; when she did, I asked if they had any coffee flavors, because I was really craving a caramel latte. She informed me that there are no flavors, so I went with a cappuccino. Matt ordered a coffee and a water. The water was a 3, it tasted like the pipe it was pumped through, in that it had a metallic aftertaste. The coffee was a 4–smooth, well-bodied and delicious. The cappuccino was a 5. Despite the lack of flavor syrups at Alexi’s Diner, they know how to make a fabulous cappuccino, with a light dusting of ground cinnamon on top. It was a happy surprise on a chilly, windy day.

IMG_3445

After hearing that the soup of the day was cream of broccoli, we both ordered one. It came out quickly, piping hot:

20150321_115848

I don’t know if I can be trusted to review it, because I’ve been trying to eat less sodium and it tasted way too salty. But Matt said it was great and totally enjoyed his bowl of soup. I could only eat about half of mine… perhaps the reduced sodium intake has made my taste buds more sensitive. There was a lot of actual broccoli in the soup and it didn’t look like it had come from a can, which is a huge win over other soups at other diners we’ve had.20150321_113737

The menus featured traditional diner items, like specialty omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, clubs, melts, appetizers, salads and more. They even have a pizza omelette, which you need to try and tell me how it is because I want to avoid eating all that delicious sodium, and just live vicariously through you. I went with the Belgian waffle with strawberries and whipped cream, because my gluten free lifestyle fell by the wayside last summer with all the wedding cake I had, and Matt ordered a burger with fries. We didn’t have to wait too long after finishing our soups to get our meals. The waffle came out with that typical “breakfast syrup” abomination on the side, but I was too engrossed in the strawberries to care. The waffle was typical restaurant waffle quality–obviously not homemade, but I’ll take it, it’s still delicious and filling.

20150321_121457

20150321_121502

The french fries were a light golden brown, as you can see, and were delicious, with a soft inside. The burger was cooked to order, and tasted like it had actually been on a grill. The burger toppings were fresh and good as well. We neglected to taste the pickle or the cole slaw, because nobody has time for that, but it looked like it was probably just as tasty as the burger itself. This was definitely one of the better diner burgers we’ve encountered, if not the best so far.

20150321_124101The service overall was a 4, slightly above average. Our waters were filled pretty consistently, and we didn’t have to wait long for anything. The food all came out quickly and our inability to decide on what we wanted at the beginning of our visit didn’t deter our waitress from checking on us until we had made up our minds.

We were both too full to get dessert, but here’s a look at the dessert case. Not a huge selection, compared to some of the other places we’ve visited, but they looked good enough to eat. They’re all baked on premise, so I think we need to go back sometime and try out their baked goodies.

20150321_124054

Dinerness of Alexi’s Diner is a 4. (If you’re just joining us, check out the About page for an explanation of “dinerness.”) Chrome and mirrors are ubiquitous, the exterior is modeled in part after a dining car, some of the waitresses look like they’ve been there for a long time, and there is plenty of seating available at the counter. Many of the patrons seemed like they frequented the place, and it drew a lot of young families and couples on Saturday morning.

20150321_124133

20150321_124254

Overall, a nice place to go on a leisurely weekend morning or afternoon. Alexi’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a great selection of food and drink. If you go, let us know what you think! And don’t forget to Like us on facebook or comment on this post directly below. We’re always interested in your suggestions, ideas and reviews.

Oh, and this is our 20th post! We hope you continue to join us on our journey as we explore the diners of Upstate New York and beyond. plentyofcolour_confetti5