Category Archives: Diner

The White Spot

This old school stool seating diner has been around for a long time in the UVA area. My wife and I were in town for a wedding, so I had to try this place. We tried the Double Gus Burger, which is two thin patties, with American cheese and an egg. I’m generally not a huge fan of egg on a burger, but this one really hit home.

Great onions rings and fried hot dog too.

We finished off with a slice of lemon pie too. This joint was exactly what I wanted it to be. Cheap, delicious grub.

THE WHITE SPOT
1407 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Joe Junior

This joint came highly recommended by a food reviewer and meat expert friend of mine, Nick Solares. He has waxed eloquent about the burger here many times!

It’s deceptively simple. Nick ordered it for me: Rare, simply seasoned with just salt, and seared on the plancha, with cheese melted on both sides of the bun.

I have to say, for under $8 (sans fries), this thing rivals many of our city’s great steakhouse burgers. They’re using real quality ground beef, and they certainly know how to cook it. Rare was warm to the touch in the center, but not much bleed out or drips on the plate. Impressive.

And total steal at that price point. Go give it a shot!

JOE JUNIOR
167 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Zafi’s Luncheonette

Zafi’s Luncheonette is a small, old school counter-service diner on the lower east side.

They do have some regular seating, but the counter is the best way to enjoy an old school diner like this. If indoor dining resumes in NYC, you’ll be able to pop a squat there with spacing between stools.

I had their burger, which was meh at best, but the vanilla milk shake made it all worth while. That thing was absolutely perfect.

I’ll be back here to work my way through some of their more traditional diner menu items, like a gyro, club sandwich, chopped steak, etc. Hopefully they will all be better than the burger.

Stay tuned…

ZAFI’S LUNCHEONETTE
500 Grand St
New York, NY 10002

Shari’s Cafe & Pies

This roadside stop in Red Bluff is like an improved mom and pop style Denny’s. We stopped in mainly to try the pies, but we couldn’t resist trying some of the savory items too.

First, the marble rye patty melt:

This was nice, and I liked the idea of it, but after coming off of the perfect patty melt at Pinecrest Diner in SF, we were underwhelmed.

Philly Style Prime Rib Dip

This was okay. Nothing to go nuts over, and a bit light on the meat. The fries and tots were good though.

Now on to the pies.

The butterscotch pie was probably the most well liked at the table. Really great texture and flavor.

I wanted more from the s’mores crunch pie, but ultimately I would house these, slice after slice, with ease.

The strawberry and rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream was perfection. I usually don’t love fruit pies but this one was fucking fantastic.

Definitely stop here if you’re driving by. Stick with the pies!

SHARI’S CAFE & PIES
128 Bell Mill Road
Red Bluff, CA 96080

Pinecrest Diner

I didn’t eat much here other than having a bite of this awesome patty melt that was served on delicious rye bread.

This little spot is a classic American no-frills diner.

Worth checking out, but be warned: they do generate a line outside.

PINECREST DINER
401 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Hudson & Charles Dinette

Hudson & Charles Dinette serves up some nice burgers with thick cut tallow fries! I tried three. In order:

1) Double “Smash” (9/10) – A classic American double with shredded lettuce and pickle.

2) Catalina Stack (8/10) – A double with catalina sauce, lettuce and pickle.

3) Foxy Burger (8/10) – A thick Korean single, with kimchi and spices.

All burgers come with thick cut tallow fries, and the prices range from $14-$23.

The first was near perfect, with a great crispy char and nice toppings. I only dinged it because it really wasn’t a smash, but this is definitely my preferred style of burger.

The other two were great but a bit aggressive on salt levels. The same goes for the fries, but I didn’t mind so much on those. I’ll definitely be back for the double, and also to try some steaks and pies.

I also tried their Korean fried chicken & waffles entree. The sauce is a mildly spicy gochujang base, heavily sprinkled with scallions. The waffle is more like a muffin or biscuit, with sesame and scallions. There was a mix of breast and thigh meat with a great crunchy breading, three pieces per order.

HUDSON & CHARLES DINETTE
522 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014

Jimmy’s Diner

This is a great addition to your fried food rotation. I walked by Jimmy’s Diner before a filming gig and had to try the joint based on looks alone.

Turned out to be a great choice. This “Lucky Schmidt” sandwich was awesome. Fried chicken fingers, melted swiss, bacon, jalapenos, chipotle mayo and pickles on a potato bun. Great crispy fries too. Go give it a shot!

JIMMY’S DINER
577 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Chat n Chew

This local diner is in the vein of the American classic in feel, but with a bit less traditional menu items.

They have a great selection of cocktails, which are part of their happy hour menu as well.

I was impressed with the food. I tried a lot of stuff so here it goes:

Mac & Cheese

Great flavor on this and a nice blend of cheeses.

Asian Grilled Chicken Salad

Loved the sesame balsamic flavors on this.

Korean Wings

These are not batter fried in the traditional Korean style, but they are still sticky, sweet, spicy and crisp.

Fish & Chips

These are perfect. The best I’ve had, actually. The cod is juicy and flakey, and the batter is perfectly golden brown and crisp. They get hit with a dusting of curry too so the flavors are great.

Burger

This 10oz monster is great. Classic style, cheddar, LTO. Comes with fries for $15.

Crab Cake

This was nice and meaty. Also comes with fries and coleslaw.

Flatiron Steak

Lean and flavorful, this baby can be eaten with just a good sear on the outside. 6/10.

Coca-Cola Cake

Wow. They re-reduce the Coke back into a syrup and that gets mixed into a chocolate sponge and topped with crispy chocolate cookie bits, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Really nice.

Give this place a shot! I know I will be back.

CHAT N CHEW
10 E 16th St
New York, NY 10003

Denny’s

I ate a burger at Denny’s this past week for the first time in my life. I was actually kind of impressed with it. The burger meat needed a punch in the flavor department, and the sauce on the burger was too plentiful and too sweet (bourbon sauce), but over all it was pretty decent.

The burger patty itself was loosely packed (a good thing), and it had a great crisp all over. It wasn’t overcooked either. The toppings were layered on in just the right amounts, and there was good cheese coverage.

The cheddar bun was a big surprise. I was expecting it to flake apart and crumble under pressure, but it was fresh, pliable yet soft, and held up to scrutiny.

I’d eat here again, though maybe I’d opt for a standard cheeseburger instead of the bacon bourbon burger, so as to avoid the overly sweet sauce.

DENNY’S
60 Nott Terrace
Schenectady, NY 12308

Clover Grill

When I first went to New Orleans in 2009, my wife and I walked by this little dive diner joint a bunch of times and kept contemplating going in to try a burger. It looks like just the kind of place where you might find something fantastic. A hidden gem, so to speak.

They even claim to have the best burger in the world.

The menu is actually funny to read. Check it out.

You can actually see the hubcaps they use.

So we had to get it.

But look at the menu description for the hot dog.

So we had to get it.

Well, despite all the excitement, these two items didn’t quite deliver. They were just okay. But I do love the atmosphere here – a very small old style diner, open 24 hours.

Even complete with slices of pie. Here’s the ice box key lime pie, which was actually great.

CLOVER GRILL
900 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70116