All-American Diner Tour: South 30 Diner in Amsterdam, New York

Along a rural stretch of Route 30 south of Amsterdam in Montgomery County, New York, the South 30 Diner appears at the roadside like a tiny farm smokehouse. It is a rustic, country-style diner with a capital “C”. The owners want you to feel like you’re in grandma’s kitchen. Anita (presumably the owner) left a special message on the menu: “As a food artiste, I see the beauty in all from a carrot to a cracker. To create a meal, is to create a work of art, it is not only nourishing but an expression of love.”

On my visit, I ordered a Bird ‘n’ Nest, which is a fried egg cooked in a piece of bread over corn-beef hash and two bacon strips for $6.95. The corn-beef hash is just home fries with pieces of meat sprinkled in. Somehow they managed to come out soft in some places and overcooked in others. I like corn-beef hash you’d get at the grocery store, but dislike potato chunks.

Their menu is simple and printed on two sides of an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper folded in thirds. Breakfast is served all day. In addition to the Bird ‘n’ Nest, they offer several other custom dishes, including the Mykenny, Crazy Papa’s, and Dickie Do. The Mykenny is just 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, 2 eggs, potatoes, and toast for $8.95. They serve homemade sausage.

The South 30 Diner has a 4.5/5 average out of 47 Google reviews and 4.0/5 average on Yelp. Reviews are generally favorable. Google-user Michael Carbone wrote, “This place is everything you want out of a town diner. The owner is always there working tables, happy to talk about her work. You can tell she’s there for the love of cooking food for people. The food itself is delicious, I’ve never gotten the same thing twice and nothing has ever been ‘just okay’. Highly recommend trying it out.”

Google-user Mary Jane agreed, writing, “Food here is great and the place is awesome! Great staff very considerate and friendly and definitely goes above and beyond to make you feel right at home. Cozy place this is!” People generally describe it as “cozy”, “cute”, and “hometown”.

Not everyone had a good experience. Yelp-user Catherine G. from Providence, Rhode Island suggested the owners should hire a chef instead of trying to cook all the food themselves. “There are tons of locals who here, so they have loyal clientele,” she wrote. “I guess that is what kills me the most about this place, because they could easily triple their business if the food wasn’t so god awful”

On my visit, the waitress asked me if I liked the “home cooked food.” Not sure what that means in the context of a restaurant, but I have to grudgingly admit, I agree with Catherine G. I hate to go to a restaurant and pay for food I can just cook myself at home. On top of that, something was wrong with their credit card reader and I ended up having to sign a random piece of paper with the total written on it. Hey, these things can happen, but it doesn’t instill much confidence.

South 30 Diner is located at 5854 State Route 30 at the hinterlands of Amsterdam, New York. Phone: (518) 842-9922. They are open seven days a week 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., except Saturdays and Sundays when they are open until 11 p.m. (Yelp says they’re only open until 3 p.m.–so call ahead) They do accept credit cards.

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