Robyn Lane

Weekdays 10am - 3pm

TOKYO, JAPAN - JANUARY 25: A basket of french fries which will be used for McChoco Potato is seen in the kitchen at a McDonald's Japan branch on January 25, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. The McChoco Potato, McDonald's Japan's special winter menu, french fries covered in chocolate and white chocolate sauces will be available in McDonald's restaurants on January 26, 2016 until around mid February. (Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images)

What makes a great diner? Is it breakfast? Is it the service or favorite server? Is it the vast menu options? Is it the diner’s history? It could be all of the above.

When I lived on Long Island, I did the 7 to the midnight radio show at WBAB, and a few times a week after I got off the air, my friend Andrea and I would go to the Terrace Diner on Sunrise Highway in West Babylon. We loved that place. It had a great menu, the best French fries, and gravy on the Island, and they employed our favorite waitress whom we dubbed “Marge.” I’d rather not explain why we christened her “Marge” because it was kind of an inside joke. Her real name was Dottie, she was somewhere in her 60s, and she was an old-school broad who was as real as they come. Loud, brash, and unintentionally, side-splittingly funny.

Keep in mind that our visits to the diner were after midnight, a time that usually attracts a cast of late-night characters on parade, especially on Friday nights.

One guy who was a frequent visitor was dubbed, “Buckwheat.” Whenever he walked through the door, Andrea and I would burst into hysterics making complete fools of ourselves. He was a stoner with hair sticking straight up like Buckwheat, or more fittingly, Henry Spencer from “Eraserhead,” dressed in an army green jacket, and parachute pants. He would literally order the whole left or right side of the menu.

Then there was a crew who came in from the local gentlemen’s club. They were loud, foul-mouthed 20-something dudes who smelled like what one would imagine a gentlemen’s club smells like. We also loved Achilles, the owner, who loved us in return.

All the reasons listed above are why we loved that diner. Now that I’m a tad older and wiser, I choose my diners for the quality of the food and the service, not the entertaining clientele. My favorite diner will start the list of 8 Diners loved by Ocean County folks.

  • Rainbow Diner - 849 NJ-70, Brick Township, NJ 08724

    This diner knocks it out of the park every time! Our listeners think so too. They voted the Rainbow Diner the best diner on the Jersey Shore which earned the establishment a WRAT Shore Award. I’ve been going to the Rainbow for over 25 years, and no matter what I order, it is always better than I expected. The staff and the service are almost always terrific. If there’s a 45 minute wait, it’ll be worth it.

  • Sand Castle Diner - 634 Atlantic City Blvd, Beachwood, NJ 08722

    Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One - Blue Moon Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael Ray

    New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

    I’ve only been here a few times for breakfast, and it was pretty solid. I usually get an omelette and the hubby is a pancake- French toast guy. No complaints from either of us. They’ve been around since 1988, and people who frequent the place rave about their burgers.They are a huge part of the Beachwood Community and consider so many of their customers part of their family.

    https://www.sandcastledinerbeachwood.com/menu

  • Jackson Diner - 23 S Hope Chapel Rd, Jackson Township, NJ 08527

    If you want to step back in time, then this diner may be for you. Traditional American comfort food & desserts offered in a cheerful, 1950s-style space.

  • Four Seasons Diner - 823 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753

    When Bruce and I have dinner here, I usually order the herb grilled salmon and he orders whatever he’s in the mood for. We’ve had breakfast here a few times and it’s been decent. He loves the lox, eggs, and onions omelette. Every time we’ve eaten here, it’s packed.

     

  • Dockside Diner - 2404 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach, NJ 08008

    I hear the service and food are of supreme quality, I’ve been told the lobster bisque is quite possibly the best on the Island  Their website reads:  We refuse to compromise on quality in our restaurant. That’s why we source our fresh ingredients from local farmers’ markets and vendors to  herbs grown on the premises. No matter what time of year, you can be sure you’re eating the best of the season.

  • Corner Post Diner & Restaurant - 2791 Hooper Ave, Brick Township, NJ 08723

    Here’s Alex’s 5 star Google review: Strangely comfortable. Loved the menus. Quite extensive and reasonably priced while still having something for everybody. I ordered an omelet from their entirely separate omelet menu that was so good I took it home. Also offered potato pancakes as a side option instead which was very exciting. (It’s the little things)

    Hot Breakfast

    owl of apples.

  • OB Diner - 1519 Richmond Ave, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742

    Classic diner loved by the locals. Doug Kelly wrote: The OB diner has been around for many years. The present diner is a new version of one that burned down. The diner has had many owners but it always seems to feel the same. Just a good old place to have a diner meal. The menu has great choices and many. The service is usually good to better than average. Prices are fair. This is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a very late night snack. The perfect place to bring a family to avoid over priced tourist restaurants in town. This should be a definite meal stop while staying in or around Point Pleasant Beach.

  • Lacey Diner - 530 Lacey Rd, Forked River, NJ 08731

    NASCAR Texas Preview

    FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 03: Heath Miles, Speedway Club Executive Chef, prepares a two-pound “No Limits Barbeque Sandwich” at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. The new menu item contains chopped brisket, smoked sausage, pulled pork and barbeque chicken served on an 8-inch bun. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

    Mike from Forked River told me that he loves Ethel, one of the servers here at the Lacey Diner. Plus they serve the greasy fat breakfast sausage that I love so much.  Consistently good food and friendly staff.

    https://www.facebook.com/thelaceydiner/