A few weeks ago (January 2, 2017), I insulted the great State of Connecticut because it has so few diners. Then from the depths of memory this story surfaced…
Years ago I was on my way to Connecticut for a reunion of my high school class, accompanied by my husband and my high school BF Marian, who settled in New Jersey like me. We crossed into Connecticut, got on Route 84 and decided it was time for dinner. There’s not much between Danbury and Waterbury. We settled, by default, on the Blue Colony Diner, figuring a diner would have something for everyone. And it did – no problem accommodating the vegetarian in the group.
We knew absolutely nothing about the area, but our waitress, who had the appearance of a diner veteran, warned us that Friday night in Newton was high school football night, and pretty much the whole town was going to show up at the diner when the game ended. Okay.
During our meal, the waitress made a point of asking us to order coffee and dessert promptly. “I’m going to be busy!” People started to come in – recognizable types – a table full of jocks, parents, couples, single sex clusters… We thought things were getting busy, but suddenly the dam broke. Our waitress slapped down the check and yelled “Run for your lives!!” We fled, laughing, and gazed in astonishment at the traffic jam in the parking lot. So we got a good meal, and more fun than we expected. But honestly, I’ve only EVER seen one other diner in Connecticut, and it was pretty weird.
And now for something completely different! A restaurant review!
First, the genre… It’s a diner!
Diners are very important to New Jersey folks like me. I live on Route 30 – diners to the east of me, diners to the west of me! Where did I go the morning after the derecho in 2012, when my power was out and trees were down all over? The local diner, of course. It was mobbed. So few places had electric service. I stood in line with all the people from the east of me, longing for coffee and scrambled eggs. Diners are the cultural glue of South Jersey. By the time I left, I had the information I needed about the storm and our rather dire situation.
I feel a special connection to the Harley Dawn diner. Owners April and David Emmons called me to discuss green design and alternative energy possibilities when they were planning their re-build. (Diners, by and large, are not energy efficient. Some operate in structures that are old and sketchily maintained.) April and David set high standards and labored diligently through design and construction. And what a great eatery they have built! It looks sharp and incorporates excellent energy technology.
But of course, what matters most is the food! It’s great! They advertise “green, local and sustainable”. On that list, “local” is what most appeals to me. For goodness sake, this is the Garden State! I love our farms and farm stands. Like most diners, the menu at Harley Dawn is extensive and covers just about everything. Lots of comfort food.
My husband argues that before I start posting about Harley Dawn, further research is needed. I mean, we only tried two of the many flavors of homemade ice cream! Surely we need to sample the meatloaf? Yes, a few more visits are in order, but I have no reservations about recommending Harley Dawn now. Today! Join me?