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NFT: Diners in New Jersey

Big Al : 6/28/2020 8:26 am
Is it a trend for diners to close in New Jersey? Here in Hackensack, two near me have closed, the Arena Diner about a year ago, and the New Heritage Diner closing today. For those in this area, what breakfast places would you recommend?
Obligatory Tick Tock Diner reference.  
Britt in VA : 6/28/2020 8:30 am : link
Carry on.
Ridge Diner  
mattnyg05 : 6/28/2020 8:37 am : link
Park Ridge, NJ
Brownstone Diner in Jersey City  
Chris684 : 6/28/2020 9:07 am : link
Best pancakes you’ll ever have.
I think of Diners as a  
ATL_Giants : 6/28/2020 9:18 am : link
NJ institution. But if they're closing I have to think it's because they aren't as profitable as other options. It may have started as a family business, a personal passion of the original owner. But as loyal customers grow old and the next generation of restaurant goers don't see the same charm their parents did... people move on.

There were about 6 diners near my home that my family and friends frequented throughout my childhood and teenage years. Living near Atlanta now, Diners here are more of themed restaurant. part of a larger restaurant group that fits a niche of customers.

Like saying goodbye to drive-in movies in New Jersey, the Diners may be next.
The Arena Diner  
Big Al : 6/28/2020 9:52 am : link
was a nice place for a very simple breakfast but the average age of customers looked to be long time customers in their 60s. Less than a mile down the road is the Chit Chat diner with a more modern menu and younger customers.
Somerset or Circle Diner  
oghwga : 6/28/2020 10:09 am : link
Drunk at 2 am eating eggs and french fries. The 80s we're a great time. Diners were the place to go for whatever you wanted to eat at 2 am. These millennials with their low carb vodka aren't downing pancakes at 3 in the morning.

Most people today seem to think the food is better at pf Chang's or Chili's. Shoot, I could order a grilled cheese, you could have a steak and our dates could eat meatloaf and lobster. Good times.

Get off my lawn.
I'm hard pressed to ascertain the main reasons behind their  
BlueLou'sBack : 6/28/2020 10:46 am : link
demise, but no doubt "Diners" as a subclass of restaurants are a shrinking category, even in NJ and NY.

I think the younger generations' shift to healthier low carbs food is part of it, but then how does one explain away the continued growth of the low value fast food chains featuring burgers, chicken sandwiches, and the ubiquitous fries?

There seems to one or another fast food chain at every corner in America.

The next reason I'd suggest would be the expansion of various ethnic cuisines. As a kid, eating "ethnic" food meant either Chinese or perhaps Italian. Now there's a multitude of ethnic choices including the variety of Asian that spread out from Japanese and Sushi bars in the '70s, and expanded rapidly with Thai food catching on, then Vietnamese and at the same time, not as rapid fire perhaps Indian, which is probably at least 5 different cuisine labeled under a single nationalist banner.

That's not even considering "New American", Vegetarian, or Mexican which were almost non-existent or really poorly represented and distributed two generations ago, when Diners ruled.

But to answer your question in short, yeah Diners are definitely disappearing.

And Diners outside the midlantic region are largely a joke.
I recently read an interesting article somewhere,  
smshmth8690 : 6/28/2020 10:53 am : link
can't remember where. The article was talking about the disappearing NJ Diners. One of the explanations it gave is the proliferation of the huge food service companies like Sysco & US Foods, that service a lot of the diners. The menus are so large that it makes financial sense for the diners to buy prepared foods from the big companies to cut down on labor costs, but also reducing the quality & freshness of the food. I haven't been to a diner in quite a while, so it's not my view, just passing on a thought on the subject that I read.
Not all diners are good...  
EricJ : 6/28/2020 11:01 am : link
and the good ones will be around for a long time....
RE: Ridge Diner  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/28/2020 11:24 am : link
In comment 14925718 mattnyg05 said:
Quote:
Park Ridge, NJ


I go there and it's overrated. Westwood Pancake House is better at least for breakfast.

BENDIX DINER FTW.

Most of these diners are owned by Greeks whose kids want to be restaurateurs - hence the diners are closing.
RE: The Arena Diner  
djm : 6/28/2020 11:24 am : link
In comment 14925730 Big Al said:
Quote:
was a nice place for a very simple breakfast but the average age of customers looked to be long time customers in their 60s. Less than a mile down the road is the Chit Chat diner with a more modern menu and younger customers.


I can’t believe this is closing. Wife and I used to go there all the time when she was pregnant and we’d be leaving Hackensack hosp or the obgyn in that area. And you’re exactly right we were by far the youngest people eating there and it was never crowded. But I still never envisioned the arena closing down.
Drew- in your area  
CRinCA : 6/28/2020 11:29 am : link
Didn't both the Red Oak and Town & Country Diners both close recently? I spent a lot of time at both back in the early 80's.
Arena Diner closed  
Big Al : 6/28/2020 11:30 am : link
over a year ago with almost no notice. Still just a fenced off lot which was a pile of rubble. Speculation on site’s future? Condo? Expansion of hospital?
What happened to the Pilgrim diner  
xman : 6/28/2020 11:35 am : link
in Verona??
I actually had a legit greek diner right next to me when I lived on  
Zeke's Alibi : 6/28/2020 11:39 am : link
the beach here in Tampa Bay replete with an owner who was always there, coked up, and would rip shots of ouzo with you in back. Deal breaker for me it was closed at 11 and I'm more a go to a diner at 2 am type of guy.

Fast food places are exploding because they are convenient and have cheap options. Diners are significantly more money. Plus the increased competition in the higher grade bar food that seems to be ubiquitous everywhere now and places the specialize in breakfast. It's the age of specialization for small businesses, really the only way they can compete against the big boys. I will say that diner next to me was always packed with the grey hairs around the clock. The local beach demographic trends older so the guy was killing it.
RE: Arena Diner closed  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/28/2020 11:58 am : link
In comment 14925788 Big Al said:
Quote:
over a year ago with almost no notice. Still just a fenced off lot which was a pile of rubble. Speculation on site’s future? Condo? Expansion of hospital?


Could be either - I remember the Forum Diner on Route 4 closed because it was supposed to be the Jeep dealership that is now a 1/4 mile east.
probably were just too many of them  
bluepepper : 6/28/2020 12:08 pm : link
all with very similar fare and let's face it much of it not very good.

Lots of competition these days. Fast food joints like McD's have expanded their hours and menus so they get some of the late nighters. Fast casual like Panera and Chipotle siphon off some of the dinner crowd.

I think we're just seeing a thinning of the ranks and plenty will survive especially since they seem to still dominate breakfast.
RE: RE: Arena Diner closed  
Big Al : 6/28/2020 12:12 pm : link
In comment 14925795 Bobby Humphrey's Earpad said:
Quote:
In comment 14925788 Big Al said:


Quote:


over a year ago with almost no notice. Still just a fenced off lot which was a pile of rubble. Speculation on site’s future? Condo? Expansion of hospital?



Could be either - I remember the Forum Diner on Route 4 closed because it was supposed to be the Jeep dealership that is now a 1/4 mile east.
i think the Forum diner site is where they opened an indoor skydiving facility a couple of years ago.
Convenience stores making a impact  
PA Aggie : 6/28/2020 12:34 pm : link
Here in PA, good diners are a rarity, and I have seen quite a few go under. We don't have the ethnic diversity here, there's a lot of chain restaurants. I think the large convenience stores are gobbling up a lot of the business; larger sandwich selections, a certain amount of hot food, and now a lot out here sell beer. After growing up in North NJ, I can't get myself to buy anything from the convenience stores except gasoline. But a lot of people I know here, eat lunch at them everyday. Blech!
RE: RE: Ridge Diner  
mattnyg05 : 6/28/2020 12:49 pm : link
In comment 14925783 Bobby Humphrey's Earpad said:
Quote:
In comment 14925718 mattnyg05 said:


Quote:


Park Ridge, NJ



I go there and it's overrated. Westwood Pancake House is better at least for breakfast.

BENDIX DINER FTW.

Most of these diners are owned by Greeks whose kids want to be restaurateurs - hence the diners are closing.


Oh it’s definitely overrated. It’s just the closest to my house.
A little bit of a hike from Hackensacj  
SomeFan : 6/28/2020 1:28 pm : link
but Millburn Diner is good as far as diners go though if I'm looking for fast food Millburn Deli is very good.
there's a dive in colchester ct named herman's  
Torrag : 6/28/2020 6:18 pm : link
staff is nice, breakfast, sausage gravy biscuit, egg sandwiches etc are top notch but it's a real shithole. I love it.
in this area, what breakfast places would you recommend?  
blueberry : 6/28/2020 6:21 pm : link
Coach House - Rt 4 E
& Hackensack Ave

River Edge Diner - Kinderkamack Rd - River Edge

Chit Chat Diner - Essex St Lodi

Gotham City Diner Rt 4 E -Fairlawn
When I’m back in NJ, it’s my go-to comfort food  
Dunedin81 : 6/28/2020 6:27 pm : link
The Nautilus in Madison and the Florham Park Diner are the ones I remember from growing up (after my wife and I eloped we had our “reception” at the Nautilus). I understand why the species is in decline, but I miss it.
Jealous of you guys  
TXRabbit : 6/28/2020 6:33 pm : link
Hard-pressed to find a decent diner down here in Texas. We have Waffle House. Yeah.... Waffle House
You don’t really appreciate diners  
Reb8thVA : 6/28/2020 6:37 pm : link
Until you move out of NJ and you can’t find one anymore. Yeah you’ll find places that call themselves diners but they really aren’t. When all you really want is some meat loaf or disco fries and you can’t get them, that is when you appreciate the joy and wonder of the NJ Diner.
RE: in this area, what breakfast places would you recommend?  
Big Al : 6/28/2020 6:53 pm : link
In comment 14925902 blueberry said:
Quote:
Coach House - Rt 4 E
& Hackensack Ave

River Edge Diner - Kinderkamack Rd - River Edge

Chit Chat Diner - Essex St Lodi

Gotham City Diner Rt 4 E -Fairlawn
For breakfast I would also recommend a small place (not a diner) which opened a few years called the Maywood Pancake House. I have found the Chit Chat Diner to be inconsistent.
RE: Jealous of you guys  
Dunedin81 : 6/28/2020 7:21 pm : link
In comment 14925905 TXRabbit said:
Quote:
Hard-pressed to find a decent diner down here in Texas. We have Waffle House. Yeah.... Waffle House


Waffle House is the Denny’s of the South. The food is a little better but the entertainment value is the same.
RE: What happened to the Pilgrim diner  
jestersdead : 6/28/2020 10:08 pm : link
In comment 14925789 xman said:
Quote:
in Verona??

That closed about a year ago. Six Brothers on 46 behind MSU closed a couple weeks ago.
Speaking of Diners  
LTIsTheGreatest : 6/29/2020 1:45 pm : link
Does anyone know the name of the ficticious Pells Diner that was the hangout for the guys in the 1980 movie Diner? I know it was located somewhere in Maryland
RE: Arena Diner closed  
WideRight : 6/29/2020 1:48 pm : link
In comment 14925788 Big Al said:
Quote:
over a year ago with almost no notice. Still just a fenced off lot which was a pile of rubble. Speculation on site’s future? Condo? Expansion of hospital?


A big developer got the property. I forget the details. Not a hospital expansion
No help here  
Bleedin Blue : 6/30/2020 1:01 pm : link
But one of my favorite diners that I’ve been to in NJ was the Summit Diner in Summit. Best corned beef hash I’ve ever had!! Great specials too!!
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