Village Diner – South Orange, NJ

Hello, Diner Nationals!

Warmer weather is slowly starting to return, and with it comes weekend road trips!

This weekend found Robyn and I heading up to the Oranges – East Orange, NJ, specifically. A genealogy client of Robyn’s has family buried in Holy Sepulchre up there, so off we went. The cemetery was large and snow-covered, the graves unfortunately didn’t have markers, and the caretaker closed an hour earlier than expected so our time was cut short. Cold, wet, tired, and a little frustrated, we set off in search of a local diner to soothe our weary souls.

Our destination: Village Diner, just a few miles away in South Orange.

The diner is located in a small strip mall in the heart of the town, so finding it was easy – but be forewarned, all parking in the area is metered.

We went in and were seated immediately in a booth. Our waiter, Hilmer, handed us our menus, took our drink orders – two coffees, natch – and gave us some time to peruse the selections.

After a short time, we made our decisions. Robyn was in the mood for breakfast, so she ordered her usual egg plate. I was in the mood for lunch, so I went with the NY Combo.

(That really is one of the many beauties of eating at a diner – there’s something to fit almost any culinary mood.)

The coffee arrived at just the perfect drinking temperature. While we usually agree on the quality of coffee, this time there was a difference of opinions: Robyn thought it was a tad on the strong side, adding extra sugar to compensate, but I thought the flavor was perfect. Shortly thereafter, Hilmer brought our orders.

The first thing Robyn noticed about her breakfast was that the eggs were cooked exactly the way she likes them: perfectly over medium. The bacon was crispy without being overdone, and the home fries had just the right amount of flavor that was further complimented with the bacon being served on top of it. And her rye toast was toasted and buttered as if she made it herself.

My NY Combo was tasty diner goodness. It consisted of a pastrami and corned beef club with coleslaw and melted Swiss (again with the Swiss cheese) on toasted rye. Both the corned beef and the pastrami were thick-cut and plentiful. There was enough coleslaw to add flavor, but not so much that it blopped out of the sandwich. The cheese was melted perfectly – enough to make it gooey but not enough to make it greasy – and the rye was delicious. I also opted to pay the upcharge to get curly fries instead of regular ones, and that was a good call. They were a bit on the spicy side – a rogue piece of black pepper hit the back of my throat and took my breath away for a second – but they provided a nice complement to the sandwich.

Hilmer dropped the check when he took our plates (which we both cleaned), but offered us more coffee and told us there was no rush. We declined another cup — we’d both already had two, and we had a long drive home – but we appreciated the sentiment all the same.

We both greatly enjoyed Village Diner. The food was good, the coffee was plentiful, the prices were reasonable, and the staff was friendly.

Check them out at their website: Village Diner. Until next time, happy eating!



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