The best and worst: South Jersey Diners

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Being a South Jersey native, I know a thing or two about diners. Leaving the state for a year only gave me a greater appreciation for them. As many of us know, however, not all diners are great. While ambiance, service and location play a big roll it all boils down to the food.

Ponzio’s, located on Route 70 just ten minutes from campus, considers itself a diner. It has an extensive menu and a bakery. Sadly, this is where Ponzio’s diner traits end. The menu is overpriced; the restaurant features a bar; it is not open 24 hours a day. While the quality of their food is above that of the Sage Diner, it is not worth the extra money.

The Cherry Hill Diner, right on Route 38 (also ten minutes from campus), is a respectable diner. They have a huge selection of dishes to choose from, including a full page of daily specials. Dinner entrees come with a small soup or salad and a dessert. Breakfast is served at all times and they are open 24/7.The diner is kept very clean, and each booth has its own jukebox! If you’ve never been to the Cherry Hill Diner, be sure to check it out!

A bit further away holds three of the finest diners: the Marlton Diner, Medport, and the Palace Diner. Each enjoyable for something different, these three are definitely worth the drive!

Anyone who attended Cherokee knows the Marlton Diner very well. A very popular hangout after 2 am, this diner has it all. The interior is very clean and bright. The menu is reasonably priced; the food is always enjoyable. My meal of choice? A chocolate milk shake (no other diner has mastered a milkshake quite like Marlton), and curly fries.

While the Medport’s interior (and exterior) are nothing special, this diner makes up for it in everything else. The servers are funny, the food is good and the portions are huge. Next time you’re in the area, try a waffle with chocolate ice cream and strawberries (their specialty, in my opinion). The Medport is definitely worth a visit.

The Palace Diner, also open 24 hours, brings a new element to the wonderful world of diner-ing: delivery. With an incredible dessert selection, an extensive menu to choose from, and some of the best specials I’ve ever enjoyed (chipotle chicken fingers, yum), the Palace Diner takes the cake on Burlington and Camden counties best diner.

Unfortunately, there is little positive to be said for the Golden Dawn diner in Maple Shade. The interior is filthy, small and dingy. The food portions leave much to be desired, and the quality is lacking. The Golden Dawn closes at 11 pm each evening, which may not be a bad thing. Given my druthers, I will never return here unless forced.

Other diners that have left me feeling less than satisfied include: the Sage Diner (after finding a metal shred in my salad, I haven’t been able to return just yet), the Silver Diner (lacks a large menu and a bit more expensive) and the Phily Diner in Runnemede (notorious for cold food and bad service).

We are known for our traffic and diners, so what not enjoy it? There are plenty of diners in the area, and all of them are worth a shot!

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