Hot turkey sandwiches at the Claremont Diner by
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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.

Profile photo of Marian Marian
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.

Characterizations: been there


  1. Profile photo of John Zussman John Zussman says:

    A great memory—what could be more retro than a good diner? I don’t think there’s a chain that has captured it—Johnny Rockets got the decor but not the taste—but fortunately a few local places have mastered down-home comfort food.

    I also remember a place where they brought out pickled veggies as soon as you sat down. Like you, we kids didn’t like them much, but as we waited for our orders to arrive, they became more and more appetizing!

    • Profile photo of Marian Marian says:

      Thanks, John, retro but great. Interesting to know the pickled veggies were a factor in the midwest. I do miss those waitresses, the ones with the cigarette and whiskey voices. I didn’t mind if they called me honey!

  2. Profile photo of Suzy Suzy says:

    OMG, Marian, I used to eat at the Claremont Diner too! I wonder if we were ever there at the same time. They didn’t have a children’s menu, I don’t think those were very common back then. And “doggy bags” hadn’t come into vogue yet either, so you were expected to finish what was on your plate.

    • Profile photo of Marian Marian says:

      Suzy, great to know someone else was there–we ate at the Claremont Diner from about 1955 through the 60s. It’s reassuring that I didn’t remember the children’s menu because there wasn’t one. Finishing what was on my plate was the operative word in my family!

  3. Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau says:

    Marian, great memory piece. I remember delis, but not diners. I love the way you describe your experience and your distain for your brother’s choice of burger….so mundane!

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