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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.
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.