DinerPorn

Grazin Diner

Hudson, NY

We were in love with this place from the first moment we saw it—the building is a classic piece of 1940s Americana, complete with a chrome exterior, leather barstools, an old-fashioned soda fountain, and a jukebox. But the food is anything but old fashioned. After snagging the place at an auction, the owner, Chip, completed revitalized it to create a farm-to-table restaurant—a combination of old-school setting and new-school eco-awareness that’s a growing trend in the region.

As Chip shows us around, he explains that most of their food—the burgers, the fries, and even the soda—is made from scratch, in house. The soda syrup, in cola, birch beer, root beer, and cream flavors, is made by Chip himself. The beef comes straight from Grazin’ Angus Acres, a farm about 20 minutes northwest, in Ghent. And we watch as the potatoes are peeled, cut, and fried right before our eyes.

The result is a meal that Chip calls “everything that is diner porn,” and we have to agree. The “Uncle Dude” is the best burger we’ve had yet, topped with jalapeño relish, chipotle mayo, local cheddar, greens, and bacon (if that doesn’t get you salivating, we don’t know what will). The fries are crispy. The birch beer is bubbly and refreshing. And the friendly staff and big, sunny windows overlooking the bustle of downtown Hudson certainly don’t hurt. Old-school-meets-new-school gets another A+.

Gateway Diner

Highland, NY

Frank signals emphatically to one of the servers that table #9 needs service. Dressed in a black leather jacket, he directs the Gateway Diner team—the buzzing busboy, the experienced waitress, the protégé—from the center, where he keeps watch with his number two, the hostess.

If there is one thing the Gateway team has learned from Frank, it’s how to treat customers well. The service here is one-of-a-kind, almost too good to be true. You’re greeted with a smile as you walk in the door.

“More coffee?”

“Sure.”

“More syrup?”

“Sure.”

“Is everything okay?”

Everything was great. Classic pancakes accompanied by fresh strawberries and a dusting of powdered sugar, smothered with New York maple syrup. Mediterranean cuisine that will leave your tastebuds in a flavor coma—succulent lamb gyro, crisp Greek salad and hot, salted french fries.

“See you soon,” Frank says as you walk out the door.

He’s damn right.