Words & Photos Ali Francis

Vintage Eats: 5 Roadside Diners worth the Stop

Jun 28, 2016

Call it nostalgia. Call it an affinity for fried potatoes and breakfasts under 10 bucks. The good ol’ American diner holds a special place in my heart. But on my regular weekend sojourns, I've realized not all are created equal. From the hilarious to the hidden, these five are worth the stop.

01.

Woodstown Diner, Woodstown, New Jersey

A blast from the past and a favorite local hangout. Even more exciting, Woodstown Diner is located right by a little village called Cowtown—worth a visit just to tell your friends you drove through downtown Cowtown (try saying it out loud with a straight face). Your best bet anytime of day is the Chicken Parmesan, followed by any of the homemade cakes.

02.

Phoenicia Diner, Phoenicia, New York

Standing alone on Route 28 like a delicious mirage, Phoenicia Diner is a hotspot for travellers, hikers, and locals alike. Inside you’ll find a mishmash of hipsters taking top down iPhone pictures of their novel eats (guilty), and old men reading the paper while their wives fuss over pecan or pumpkin pie. Literally anything you order will be a treat, but the duck and grits skillet (with a side of home fries) is particularly special.

Inside you’ll find old men reading the paper while their wives fuss over pecan or pumpkin pie.

[The vibe is so familial you’ll feel like you’ve been there a hundred times, and the old-meets-new menu has an admirable local focus (many of the dishes use seasonal ingredients from nearby Catskills and Hudson Valley farms).]
[The vibe is so familial you’ll feel like you’ve been there a hundred times, and the old-meets-new menu has an admirable local focus (many of the dishes use seasonal ingredients from nearby Catskills and Hudson Valley farms).]

Inside you’ll find old men reading the paper while their wives fuss over pecan or pumpkin pie.

03.

Elizaville Diner, Elizaville, New York

This quaint little gem is a pleasant surprise in the middle of nowhere. Nestled in rolling hills, apple orchards, and general upstate beauty, Elizaville Diner is a welcome respite from a long day hiking and exploring the outdoors.

04.

Roscoe Diner, Roscoe, New York

"The World Famous Roscoe Diner” is totally worth a visit (Google’s words, not mine). It’s not much from the outside—but inside, this vintage time capsule is a perfectly preserved rendition of ‘60s dining culture. The open-faced Rueben is a must for lunch, and the German pancakes with applesauce and sour cream are great for breakfast (or a pre/post meal snack).

"The World Famous Roscoe Diner” is totally worth a visit.

[The town itself has around 600 residents, but during its peak, the diner serves up to 1000 meals a day to the hoards of travellers meandering off Route 17.]
[The town itself has around 600 residents, but during its peak, the diner serves up to 1000 meals a day to the hoards of travellers meandering off Route 17.]

"The World Famous Roscoe Diner” is totally worth a visit.

05.

Main Street Restaurant, Tupper Lake, New York

Consistently good food, every time—Main Street Restaurant is the perfect spot if you’re traveling around the Lake Placid area. All the waitresses are notably friendly (like, positively sunny), and the atmosphere is super comfortable. For dinner on a cold night, start with the French onion soup and sweet potato fries, and for the summer months, you can’t beat the grilled salmon Caesar.