Diner Critique: Market Diner (Syracuse, N.Y.)

Review | Written and photographed by Nathan Mattise

Directions | Web site | Overall Rating: 3

CNY summers are filled with fresh produce.  There’s the apple picking that dominates towns like Lafayette (perhaps more in the fall), the downtown Farmers’ Markets on Tuesday. an infinite amount of food based festivals and then the granddaddy of them all.. the CNY Regional Market. After a Saturday morning filled with rigorous food shopping, having a diner in close proximity is a necessity. That’s where the Market Diner comes in.

The Market Diner is located near (and possibly overshadowed by) Carousel Mall and Alliance Bank Stadium. It’s the cornerstone of a brick plaza on the road leading to both places. Overall, it’s a really accessible locale and the diner probably picks up plenty of patrons not seeking it out directly as a result.

Inside you’ll find a very spacious diner, one of the larger interior seating areas for any CNY diner (with picture shown, there is an entirely separate, larger area past the wall to the right).  It has all the standard seating choices (booth, countertop, table) and also the added aesthetic of a traditional checkout near the door. The main bit of decor for the diner however is a handpainted mural that adorns the side walls, depicting the interior of the diner in one area and the regional market in the other. Lure has it that it was painted by the diner staff.

When the staff isn’t painting, they do a good job of handling the large seating area. They’re quick with any requests for sides or extra. Regulars will swear by the waitstaff’s ability to prep for them before they’ve even sat down for a minute as well.

Thankfully the food lives up to the other aspects of the Market Diner. Portions are fairly large and very reasonably priced (for instance, a three egg fritata here is only $6.79 and it’s enough food for days). The menu doesn’t offer a ton of unique items (considering with its proximity to this market) but one staple are the pumpkin hot cakes for $4.19. They’re fairly sized and the flavor is just enough pancake, just enough pumpkin. The balance ensures that even the fairweather fan of pumpkin flavor won’t regret daring to the stack on any given morning (particularly with how well the flavor mixes with maple syrup).

The Market Diner doesn’t offer anything flashy or particularly unique, but it handles the basics of a diner incredibly well. The space itself is large but still welcoming. The menu is filled with common fare but it’s cheap, largely portioned and flavorful. The waitstaff is friendly and remembers its regulars. It’s the kind of locale you won’t brag at home about initially, but over time you’ll find yourself visiting again and again.

The Final Tab

Pros: Solid food at cheap prices, free WiFi, large and welcoming interior, regularly-praised waitstaff

Cons: Common food selection, average hours (open ’til 9pm), non-traditional diner aesthetic

Overall:

2-toast1

Three Out Of Five (Basic combo | It’s OK – try it.)

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