breakfast, capital region, coffee, diner, dinner, Eva Mendes, food, food blog, foodie, french fries, Latham, lunch, menu, milkshake, movie, new york, Place Beyond the Pines, restaurant, route 7, Route 7 Diner, schenectady, troy, upstate, upstate ny
In 2011, the actress Eva Mendes played a waitress in Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines,” a really good film that you should see if you haven’t yet. To get into the role, Mendes spent time working as a waitress at the Route 7 Diner on Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham, NY. This past Sunday, we spent time as patrons at the same place.
We walked in and immediately noticed the decor of the place — very classic American diner decor, but with a strange mix of wood paneling and stained glass lamps reminiscent of my grandma’s den.
The booth we sat in was comfy, and the place wasn’t very busy, though it was around 6pm when we went there last Sunday. We perused the menu, which was full of classic diner options like burgers, clubs, melts, appetizers and soups. Their specials were listed on a dry erase board by the door.
The placemat was covered in ads, which you don’t see as much anymore at diners, based on our experiences over the past few months. The silverwear was mix ‘n’ match, like it had been salvaged from different estate sales over the years…which is entirely possible. The place had an elderly vibe, and a little of a musty smell, but we didn’t let that deter us.
At one end of the room we were in was a giant wall of mirrors that perhaps was better suited for a dance studio. It took a lot for me to sit in the booth and not do the “maniac” dance from the movie “Flashdance.”
Our waitress was very nice, though a bit forgetful we came to find out. Matt ordered a coffee and milkshake, but asked for the milkshake to be brought out with his meal. It came too early and melted all over the place, but it still tasted good. I ordered a water with lemon. The water was decent, we’d say a 3, but the coffee wasn’t great, it was a 2. I ordered a turkey club, which is rapidly becoming a favorite item on diner menus, and Matt got a grilled cheese with fries.
The food was, overall, pretty good – we’re rating it a 3. The turkey on the club sandwich was legit turkey, and the fries were golden and crispy with a slight softness on the inside. The grilled cheese was also cooked well and tasted like good old home cookin. I had asked for some extra mayo and more water when the food came, and it took us asking the waitress twice more for her to remember, but it was eventually brought out. We’re rating the service a low 3 for forgetfulness especially since it wasn’t that busy.
After our meal, we gave into the temptation of ordering dessert. I got the chocolate cream pie, and Matt ordered the coconut cream pie. After having desserts at Ambrosia Diner, we weren’t sure if having high expectations was a good idea, but the desserts at Route 7 Diner are pretty good. They’re not baked on premise, and they’re not quite labelled accurately, but they taste good. My chocolate cream pie was more of a chocolate mousse pie with chocolate cookie crust, which I wasn’t a fan of, but I ate most of it anyway. Matt’s coconut cream pie was light and fluffy but definitely couldn’t compare to Ambrosia’s.
And for good measure, here’s a photo of the dessert case:
Route 7 Diner and Restaurant gets a high dinerness rating for its use of mirrors and chrome decoration throughout the place, plus the amount of nostalgia you feel when you walk in — if it doesn’t remind you of your grandma’s house, then it definitely makes you think of some old-timey place you went as a kid. There was a plethora of counter seating, matching tables and booths, and a full bar next to the register, like we’ve seen in many other places. Overall, it was a nice, quiet place to spend an hour on a Sunday evening.