Roadside America

All-American Diner Tour: Lloyd’s Diner in Lowville, New York

Lloyd’s of Lowville is a rare classic diner–an actual train car converted into a restaurant. Opened by Lloyd Rasmussen in 1939 at the juncture of Routes 12 and 26 to serve nearby factory workers, it has been a local favorite ever since. Current owner Blair Sandri bought it in 1985, and it still has its original wood furnishings. It’s so beloved, several of its waitresses have worked there for over 25 years.

The rooftop sign looks a little odd because its neon lights have been removed. They were apparently too expensive to maintain or repair, but their removal is disappointing from an aesthetic point of view.

On my visit, I ordered a grilled bacon and cheese sandwich with a side of potato chips for $5.85. It was tasty and reasonably priced. My soda came in a tiny glass, but refills were regular. My waitress was very friendly. Everyone in the place seemed to know each other, but I didn’t feel left out or snubbed for being a new face.

Lloyd’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but its menu is paired down to two and a quarter pages. Calling it “no frills” would be an understatement. They don’t have any custom items, but they do offer homemade apple cake. They also serve homemade potato and macaroni salad in the summer and chili in the winter. The most expensive items on the menu, including a fried haddock dinner, are only $12.60.

Lloyd’s has a 4.3/5 average out of 25 Google reviews and 3.5/5 average on Yelp. “If you like a classic diner you will love Lloyds,” Yelp-user Chip C. from East Syracuse, New York wrote. “Small town friendly people. Our waitress was awesome and we immediately felt at home. The food was great. If you come don’t be in a hurry. The cooktop is small and they can only cook so much at time. It is so worth the enjoyable and stress free wait. Refills of your coffee and tea are right on time and often. Love this place.”

Everyone seems to like their desert. Google-user CallaHan Roggie wrote: “The staff are very nice and friendly. The [food] is very delicious, especially breakfast. During breakfast hours or a morning coffee break, I recommend ordering a slice of Apple Cake. Ask for it warmed up with whip cream on top and you will think you does died and went to heaven! It is also homemade. Not frozen or shipped in. Hurry though, as it sells out fast.”

Critics don’t like that Lloyd’s lives up to its reputation as a greasy spoon. The food is cheap and not gourmet. “Service is friendly and efficient but the food and coffee were far from being good,” Yelp-user Isabelle L. from Wheeling, Illinois complained. “It simply did the job of feeding us and keeping us satiated until lunch but all the ingredients used felt and tasted really cheap. The food was extremely greasy. I guess you get what you pay for, the food is indeed cheap.”

Lloyd’s Lowville Diner is located at in Lowville, New York. They are open weekdays 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. They are cash only, and do not have an ATM.

Ad for Lloyd’s in the Watertown Daily Times, June 8, 1965

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