What is it about Jersey diners that make them such perfect spots to meet up with friends and family? Yesterday, Andy and I caught up with my parents at Saddle Brook Diner in Saddle Brook, NJ. Now, neither my parents nor we live near Saddle Brook, but it is about an hour drive for both of us. Jersey diners, well diners in any state, are happy places to get together, eat and chat.
We frequent Red Line Diner in Fishkill, NY, that opened about a year ago. I find that it is always a bubbly place with lots of positive energy due to the good food, friendly staff, but mostly because of the people who dine there. I have noticed that many people who dine there show up in small groups but meet up with others. I love watching as the first group of people are seated and then the rounds of hugs and kisses that begin when the rest of their party arrive. Often there are parents meeting with their children and their grandchildren. I can tell that in many cases they have not seen each other for a while.
For the last year, there have many been times when I unexpectedly begin to cry thinking how I want to meet my family here; but alas no one lives near. I would love to casually get together with Andy’s sisters and their families, or his brother or Mom, but they are in California. I fantasize that I could meet up with my brother and his wife and son, but they are in the DC area.
Then an idea popped into my head about a month ago when I realized that I wanted to see my parents more regularly but the 2+ hour drive each way made it a bit long for a day-visit. We did try the day-trip idea on my dad’s birthday on April 3. Andy and I shared the driving and we celebrated Dad’s birthday at the Americana Diner in Hightstown, NJ. After a wonderful late morning breakfast, we went back to my parent’s house and spent a few hours talking and looking at very early works of my dad’s. It was a wonderful day – and we were pretty tired from the activity and driving 4 hours.
My idea to solve this problem was to find a Jersey diner that was halfway between my parents and us. That would make the drive do-able for both of us and give us a chance to see each other with ease. Plus we get the added enjoyment of trying out any number of good Jersey diners. We began with a visit to Park West Diner in Little Falls, NJ. Because this was our first test of the idea, our excuse (as if we needed one) was that we had to make some returns to Ikea (and we actually did have some items to return). We had such a wonderful time with my parents, and they looked so happy to see us that we determined that this would become a regular outing.
My mom has decided she will try a mushroom omelet at each diner for comparison. My dad always has “two over light”. Andy and I are more variable, but usually French fries are involved. I am putting together a list of mid-point Jersey diners and the fun and food comparisons will continue. This Jersey girl is very happy to set foot in Jersey regularly and at diners to boot! Of course the best part is seeing my dad and my favorite Jersey girl, Mom.