This is another one of those Jersey Diners that has taken on mythical proportions. A place that a diner should be: classy, vintage interior with friendly service cranking out big portions of quality food at fair prices. That’s what I am looking for in this glorious Garden State we live in. While so many places look the part, they fail with their delivery. Even diners that come recommended or manage to get on those “best of” lists have disappointed. Where would Shrewsbury’s Americana Diner fall? My mom loves it. My good friend Roy loves it. The hockey guys love it. Would I? The chance to try it came last month. I had just finished up lecturing at Brookdale. I gave Roy a call, who seems to be around on Thursdays for lunch which is usually at the Kings Arms in Belford. He happened to be in the area and we met at the Americana.
I was hooked from the start. The place looks like what you would expect, and was absolutely packed. I was torn between breakfast and lunch, but when I saw the specials menu, I became much more decisive. They have an option where for an extra $3.50, they include a drink, soup, and dessert. Well, it was a Thursday, which meant I was getting split pea soup anyway. Might as well take the option.
The corned beef and cabbage was staring at me since it was just two days before St. Patrick Day’s. But the Reuben was calling my name too. I went with that while Roy ended up with the classic Irish dish that came served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and celery. He substituted French Fries for the potato, which came on a separate, massive plate on their own. My sandwich too was enormous. Probably a half-pound of corned beef was served open-faced over rye bread. It was then topped with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The Russian dressing was placed on the side.
Thankfully, I exercised some restraint and only ate half of it, bringing the rest home. It was delicious and very tempting to keep going—forging ahead through that belly-busting goodness. But with dessert included, I held back. Roy too enjoyed his meal. The coffee was a mild diner brew and the rice pudding we ordered with our meals was as creamy and thick as I have ever had. The Americana was good—not just for a diner, but in general. Our waitress was super-nice and attentive. You could tell she really enjoyed her job, able to keep a hawk-eye on a multitude of tables during a busy lunch rush and handle it all with grace. I am going to give them 3.5 out of 5 stars. If they were closer, I’d probably be a regular.
The Americana Diner is located at 1160 NJ-35 in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.