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All-American Diner Tour: The Orange Top Diner in Tuxedo, New York

Along a lonesome highway in the middle of nowhere, in a town that’s seen better days, The Orange Top Diner is a real slice of Americana. It is a country-style diner with limited counter seating but plenty of booths and tables. Diner cartoons hang on the walls and a faded photograph of a family of raccoons rescued from a dumpster hangs over the register.

State Route 17 and Interstate 87 run parallel to Harriman State Park and follow the Ramapo River. East of Tuxedo Lake sits the once prosperous village of Tuxedo. It resembles a ghost town these days, with boarded-up businesses along the highway, but The Orange Top Diner stubbornly hangs on.

The usual diner crowd of old timers drinking coffee was there to greet me on my visit. I ordered the Big Boy Special–two pancakes with one egg and meat for $7.75. They must not have a lot of fat people in town if that’s considered the “big boy,” but it was enough to fill me up. My scrambled egg and bacon was piled on top the pancakes, but the bacon was delicious and the grease didn’t spoil my pancakes like at some other places.

The Orange Top Diner has a typical diner menu. The food is simple and affordable, though dinner items are on the pricey side. Only one breakfast item, steak and eggs, is priced above $10.00. Their signature sandwich special, the “Happy Waitress,” is an open-faced American grilled cheese sandwich topped with bacon and tomato, with French fries, cole slaw, and pickles for $8.25.

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Honored Dead

Cranberry Creek, Cranberry Creek Wildlife Management Area, Alexandria Bay, New York.

All-American Diner Tour: Empire Diner in Monroe, New York

Located at the juncture of Highway 17M and Schunemunk Road across from Airplane Park in northern MonroeEmpire Diner is a mix of classic and modern styles. They have a variety of delicious desserts, including four shelves of cheesecake.

Empire Diner serves breakfast all day and has an entire gluten-free menu. Aside from the usual diner fare, they have a nice selection of appetizers, lunches, and dinners, including fifteen different wraps to choose from.

On my visit, I ordered the Belgian Waffle Deluxe, which came with bacon, ham, and sausage for $10.99. The food was great. Although I don’t generally like ham, I ran nine miles that morning and needed the protein. The menu is a little on the pricey side. My whole meal including tip and a drink came to over $17.00.

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All-American Diner Tour: Flo’s Diner in Canastota, New York

Located along State Route 31 (Lake Road) near Oneida Lake’s southeastern shore, Flo’s is a country-style diner serving up 10-cent coffee to sportsmen, boaters, and tourists visiting nearby Sylvan Beach. You know you’ve arrived when you see a giant rooster statue. Flo’s has a Canastota address, but is actually located five miles north of town.

I’m not a big coffee drinker, so the 10-cent coffee wasn’t a draw for me. I do appreciate the affordable food and fast service. Flo’s offers an “open menu,” meaning you can order anything on the menu at any time. You don’t have to wait to be seated, but it is cash only. They don’t even take debit cards. While you’re eating, you can enjoy a free copy of The Patriot, an independent conspiracy newspaper detailing things like the Rothschild Globalists’ international pedophile ring.

Flo’s has an extensive, traditional diner menu. It’s seven pages long. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are no surprises here, except perhaps for the “Fretta” (frittata?), which they categorize into “Flo’s Slop” w/Meat and “Flo’s Slop” w/Veggies. Mmm.. For lunch, they offer Super Burgers, an 8-ounce hand-shaped ground beef patty. The most expensive item on the menu is a Seafood Platter for $15.75, but that is way outside the average. Most items are below $6. Entrees range from $7.75 to $10.95.

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Museum Village Brings the Past Alive

Established in 1950 by Roscoe William Smith, Museum Village in Monroe, New York is a unique open-air historical museum exploring daily life in the nineteenth century through historical dress and reenactments. Visitors can not only interact with people portraying daily life in the period, but also see an extensive collection of nineteenth century material culture, including tools, carriages, fire engines, and household items. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Roscoe William Smith founded the Orange and Rockland Electric Company and lived to be 99 years old. During his long life, he collected hundreds of artifacts, with a particular interest in historic craft tools and mechanical devices. Finally, his wife told him to do something with this stuff or get rid of it, so Smith created the Museum Village as both a way to exhibit his collection and as a window into the past.

In a way, this reminds me of a more organized and purposeful version of Wisconsin’s House on the Rock, which was also created by an obsessive collector. Smith custom built most of the buildings in Museum Village, but there is one log cabin he purchased for $10 and shipped to the site. He died in 1976, but volunteers and employees have kept his dream alive. Many grew up taking field trips to the museum before later deciding to work there.

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All-American Diner Tour: Mother’s Cupboard in Syracuse, New York

Located on State Route 290 (James Street) near a cemetery and railroad tracks in northeastern Syracuse, New York, Mother’s Cupboard is a greasy spoon serving up giant frittatas and pancakes in the morning and fried fish in the early afternoon.

Think sizzling bacon, fried fish, fried frittatas, french toast and pancakes covered in bacon grease, a chef sweating over a hot grill in front of you while you eat, and you have Mother’s Cupboard in a nutshell. The diner/red shack is famous for appearing on an episode of Travel Channel’s Man vs Food in 2010. If you can finish a full-plate frittata (6-lbs. of eggs, sausage, pepperoni and hash browns), you win a t-shirt and get your photo on the wall.

This diner has a simple and affordable menu, with some interesting surprises. Have you ever wanted to eat outside the box and try peppers and eggs, pepperoni and eggs, or even broccoli and eggs? Now you can, for less than $5. Or just chow down on a full pound of home fries with or without onions for $2.25. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen. They offer 12-inch pancakes as well.

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