Diner Critique: New York Style Diner (Syracuse, N.Y.)

Review | Written and photographed by Nathan Mattise

Directions | Web site | Overall Rating: 2

Trying to find out what defines a true “New York style” diner is hard. The Wikipedia entry for “Diner” seems to imply an NY Diner would be one that’s oriented toward Greek cuisine.  Syracuse’s own New York Style Diner might offer a gyro every now and then but it’s certainly not their menu focus. My first experience there did uncover two very New York characteristics for the place: a busy crowd and higher prices than their Syracuse counterparts.

I heard good things about the New York Style Diner from reliable sources, so I took my latest issue of SPIN and headed over for a noon breakfast one Saturday. It’s a no frills local restaurant setup on the outside but inside is definitely a bit more diner-esque. There’s plenty of seating of all varieties – booth, table or countertop – and a large specials board is visible on each side of the restaurant.

Considering the place’s name, it’s interesting that they resisted the temptation to decorate the interior with NYC’s local imagery. You won’t find Lady Liberty or any Yankee garb lining the walls. However, the lack of over-decoration does give the place a rather clean look.

As previously stated, this place gets busy. There were some empty seats but the interior is large so it’s easy to get seated even if there’s a healthy crowd. The unfortunate thing about that is large constant crowds can definitely impact the experience.  I overheard a table lamenting a 30-minute wait for their food after being seated (and later a lack of blue cheese available for their lunch option). There seemed to be only two waitresses working the entire room but mine did a pretty good job of checking in often and keeping my coffee hot (only complaint was she offered hot sauce, I accepted… but then didn’t get any hot sauce. Honest mistake that I didn’t remind her about in fairness).

The menu is the most New York thing about the diner. It’s pretty large (offers both breakfast and lunch in addition to specials), it’s slightly more expensive than the average ‘Cuse diner and everything has a NY-flair to its name. I opted for Anna’s Central Park – large white toast with eggs and a breakfast meat grilled into it (with a side of homefries for $5.75).  Originally I was hoping to get corned beef hash involved, but I was told that would cost me $2.25 more (despite a side of hash being only $.10 more than a side of bacon or sausage). In the end I opted for the bacon.

Food was pretty good overall. This particular dish seemed like it could benefit from the toast and bacon being a little crisper and then the use of some condiment (either ketchup or hot sauce) to make it a fork-oriented meal rather than picking up the toast. Naturally, I ate it by picking up the toast. The homefries were very solid no matter how you ate them however – not too greasy but seasoned well and flavor. The portion was also just about perfect so that you didn’t feel overwhelmed but were comfortably full.

The New York Style Diner might not have lived up to the hype I was getting from friends, but it had its perks. The space itself is great for a diner. Their menu is large and varied. However, the crowds could make your visit less than it could be. Maybe drive by the lot first and proceed from there.

The Final Tab

Pros: Nice space, good menu (varied, large), solid food

Cons: Cost, crowds can impact service at times



Two out of Five (Just Eggs | Could’ve been better…)



Filed under Reviews

3 responses to “Diner Critique: New York Style Diner (Syracuse, N.Y.)

  1. Al B. Darned

    With all due respect, it would have been nice to tell us *where* in Syracuse this diner is.

    Also, it seemed the only negative was the cost. Everything else sounded good. Why only a 2/5 rating.

    • 1) Love the commenter name.

      2) Sorry for neglecting to put locale “in” to the text, the directions link at the top is accurate however. I’m not sure what area of Syracuse it’s called, but this place is near Danzer’s (German pub near SU’s South Campus, around exit 1 on 480).

      3) I definitely went back and forth between 2 & 3 but I always try to default to my initial gut instinct (largely because I recognize these are snapshot reviews of one visit, on another visit I could easily see this as a 3). I think what pushed the issue was slight dryness in the food, waitstaff that was a bit backed up due to the traffic. Just be prepared for a busy time from what I hear, this place serves a lot in a given morning.

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