During the 1950s and 1960s, the Claremont Diner in Northern New Jersey had an amazing reputation among mid-Atlantic residents. Located on a major street near the town of Verona, the diner was the epitome of New Jersey diners. You could get virtually any dish you could think of. The featured photo shows the place just as I remember it. We lived just minutes from the diner, and I can’t remember a time when my family didn’t go there.
The diner's booths were large enough to swallow a child as small as I was.
As you entered the diner, you passed by glass cases of desserts of ginormous proportion–cakes, pies, and the like. The diner’s booths were large enough to swallow a child as small as I was. On each table were appetizer dishes and a central glass container of “Claremont salad.”* Adults loved this concoction, which consisted of pickled vegetables with a sweet and sour taste, but children did not.
I can’t recall whether the Claremont Diner had a children’s menu. I do remember frequently ordering the hot turkey sandwich, a monster plate of white bread, on which slices of fresh turkey with gravy sat aside mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. I loved the rich taste of the gravy, the softness of the bread, turkey, and potatoes, offset by the tang of the cranberry sauce–the ultimate comfort food. When my younger brother came along, he ordered a hamburger and French fries–good, but no comparison to the hot turkey sandwich, in my opinion.
The Claremont Diner lasted a long time but is now out of business, and civilization is the poorer for it. I miss diners to this day–alas, Denny’s doesn’t cut it.
*There has been much discussion generated about the recipe for Claremont salad. Several versions are on the internet. My partner’s daughters, good Jersey girls, insist that they recipe they have is authentic, and it could be. It contains scary amounts of sugar and vinegar.
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.