Classic sign for Wolfe’s Diner, 625 N. U.S. Route 15 in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. Wolfe’s is an O’Mahony-style diner circa 1952.
Danny’s Diner, at 151 Main Street in Binghamton, New York, is a classic Sterling model from 1939. According to Roadfood.com, “Danny’s is very popular today, due in large part, we’re sure, to the efforts of owner Pam, whose personality is a perfect complement to Danny’s. Danny and Pam were once married, and when that marriage ended, Danny’s became Pam’s (in ownership, if not in name).” Guess she didn’t want to take down this glorious sign!
Porky’s Diner (former) 6722 State Route 12E, Three Mile Bay, Jefferson County, New York. Built in 1985, it included a store, diner, gas station, bait shop, and living quarters. Not as old as I thought.
In 2017, I visited over two dozen diners in Upstate New York to indulge my own sense of nostalgia and share my love for diner culture with my readers. These were never meant to be reviews, per se, just a bit of what each diner has to offer. In case you missed it, here are links to the entire series! The diners are organized by city in alphabetical order.
Adams, New York
Located in downtown Adams, New York near Sandy Creek, Gram’s is a modern diner with a contemporary style. According to the Watertown Daily Times, Gram’s has been open for decades, with a handmade, wooden sign above the door (you can see old photos in this article). New owners took over Gram’s in 2013 and updated its decor to give it a fresh new look.
Amsterdam, New York
North of Amsterdam in the Mohawk Valley, nestled among strip malls near the intersection of Route 30 and Log City Road, sits the Amsterdam Diner. This is the latest establishment to go by that name. Apparently there was an older Amsterdam Diner south of town off Exit 27. This establishment used to be called the Olympic Diner, but came under new ownership. It is a modern or Greek-style diner.
South 30 Diner
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.”
Blue Dolphin Diner
Apalachin, New York
The Blue Dolphin Diner, off New York State Route 17 in Apalachin, New York west of Binghamton, is a Greek-style diner with a very unique sign and a dolphin statue visible from the highway. This place is a travelers’ favorite and opened in 1989.
Last year, I visited diners all over New York, from classic dining cars to more modern establishments. There’s something about the unassuming atmosphere, greasy food, and nostalgia that keeps me coming back. I prefer the classic designs, for obvious reasons. There are plenty of Greek-American restaurants that call themselves diners, but there are only a few originals left. Some of my favorites include Mother’s Cupboard in Syracuse, Center Diner in Peekskill, Lloyd’s Diner in Lowville, and of course Red Robin Diner in Johnson City.
Danny’s Diner, at 151 Main Street in Binghamton, New York, is a classic Sterling model from 1939. According to Roadfood.com, “Danny’s is very popular today, due in large part, we’re sure, to the efforts of owner Pam, whose personality is a perfect complement to Danny’s. Danny and Pam were once married, and when that marriage ended, Danny’s became Pam’s (in ownership, if not in name).”
I first came across this old diner at the corner of Main and Broad streets in Johnson City, New York last winter. It was closed then, but looks like it’s reopened. The Red Robin Diner, at 268 Main Street, is a classic Mountain View-style diner that originally opened in neighboring Binghamton in 1950 and moved to its present location in 1959. The 35-ton diner took two hours to move. Chris and Pat Anagnostakos ran the business for 37 years until retirement. I love everything about this place, from the vintage 7-Up sign to the neon lights and chrome exterior.