Review | Written and photographed by Nathan Mattise
That isn’t even the sign out front of The Roscoe Diner… it’s the sign greeting you as soon as you enter the town of Roscoe. I never heard of the “World Famous” Roscoe Diner before embarking on my dead diner journey, but apparently many others have. The diner has its own Wikipedia entry outlining its brushes with fame. Rudy Guiliani campaigned there and Jets’ CB Darrelle Revis did too (for a contract, not a Senate seat though).
I’ve never come across a diner with such inherent hype and couldn’t pass the opportunity to see for myself. Despite the ESPN Jets’ beatwriter’s take, The Roscoe Diner might not be truly world famous but it’s certainly a worth-wild stop along NY-17.
The Roscoe Diner is the most prominent thing along main street right off the major highway. From the outside it’s very reminiscent of what I’ve come to learn as a New Jersey-style diner (think large, large buildings that can accommodate bus loads, semi fancy interior decor and often Bingo paraphernalia). There’s plenty of parking and as that aforementioned Wiki notes, the town only has a few hundred folks but a diner that serves that many meals daily. Translation: lots of parking, lots of hungry travelers.
Inside it didn’t follow NJ-diner suit however. The decor is a very cool – an ode to the collegiate, school banners from all the Upstate NY schools fly along side the Ivy Leaguers and schools from the larger area (University of Scranton represent!). The seating capacity is huge and I imagine the diner only needs to utilize one section of its space on most days. You can have your choice of booths, tables or countertop without any seating delays.
This waitstaff is a bunch of pros too. Your menu and drink orders are presented within seconds of your arrival, checks need to be brought to the counter. It’s classic diner organization at its finest.
Ultimately no matter how well-reviewed or visually appealing the Roscoe Diner might be, it’ll ultimately be judged on its food. The menu is certainly extensive and breakfast is served at all hours (both big pluses). The amount of travelers also means the diner does takeout quite well with a more concise pie-tin container and no styrofoam to be seen.
I opted for Detroit Grilled Chicken – bacon, American cheese, grilled chicken and the fixings. While the price was a bit high for diner ($7.95), the sandwich certainly delivered. It wasn’t overly greasy, the ingredients might have been simple but they complimented each other well and the entire thing was hearty and flavorful. It’s shocking how many places can’t execute something as simple as a solid grilled chicken sandwich, but the Roscoe Diner has no such trouble.
I’m not sure how many folks come cross-country for it, but certainly plenty of NY state travelers make the Roscoe Diner part of their ritual for going cross-state. Word of mouth for it is high, food is plentiful and welcomed during your travels and the space itself is great despite being in the middle of nowhere. I’m not sure how long I’d want to stay in Roscoe during any vacation, but an hour or so for their diner seems to be what everyone (myself included) recommends.
The Final Tab
Pros: Great space, solid food with generous portions, big and diverse menu
Cons: Diner is out of the way (convenient for NY-17 travelers though), tends to be a bit expensive, not a 24/7 despite its travel reputation (6am-11pm daily)
Four out of Five (Pancakes with sides | Some days you’ll seek it out)