Lauren Murphy | Asst. Photo EditorSpice Rack
The breakfast club: Despite unconventional seating process, Mom’s delicious food makes for delightful dining experience
Little can motivate me to leave my bed on a cold morning. But for some truly delicious eggs, no destination that I can drive to easily is too far. That’s why the only reason I got up on Sunday was to get a Jersey sandwich from Mom’s Diner.
I had never been to Mom’s until Saturday morning. That’s right, my roommate and I ate at Mom’s Diner twice in less than 24 hours. We’re not proud, but we’re also not sorry.
In our defense, Mom’s Diner’s Jersey egg sandwich ($5.39) is one of the best breakfast items I’ve had in Syracuse. Like any other egg sandwich, it comes on a roll with cheese and bacon. Nothing new or special, yet I could write sonnets about it. I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly what makes the difference, and I’ve realized it was the minor details that I tasted in every bite.
The roll holding it all together was thick and crisp, but soft inside and melded with the juicy, mini omelet in my sandwich. It was so fluffy and soft; I was amazed when I realized there was gooey cheese oozing from inside. The bacon on top was not as crisp as I usually like it, but the slightly chewy texture was perfect. And what really got my attention was the hash brown patty sitting underneath it all. It was thin and crunchy, but warm with every bite, and added a texture and flavor that would have made the meal mediocre without it.
Before I ate my dream sandwich, I noticed a pile of fist-sized muffins ($2) on the counter. I decided to get a corn muffin because corn muffins are my favorite, if done correctly. If done incorrectly, they’re dry, fall apart at each bite and taste like a pile of crumbs. Thankfully, Mom’s Diner’s muffins were the exact opposite — moist, thick and buttery soft.
Another standout was my roommate’s ham and cheese omelet with breakfast potatoes. Like my sandwich, the omelet was thick, soft and overflowed with melted cheese and an extra kick of tender ham. I have a very high standard for breakfast potatoes, and Mom’s Diner held up rather well. The edges were crisp despite the inside being a tad mushy for me, but with the addition of salt and pepper, the potatoes were quite satisfying.
Beyond the food, Mom’s Diner has a peculiar setup. Seating is a free-for-all, and first-come, first-served is the restaurant’s seating policy. On our first trip to Mom’s Diner, we luckily didn’t have to wait too long before we saw a table clear up and pounced on it. We piled up the previous guests’ dishes and then tried to figure out if anyone was going to come clear off our table.
Mom’s Diner also has some qualities that don’t quite fit the diner title. Unlike a diner, the restaurant is not open 24/7 — not even close. It’s open every day until 2:30 p.m., so it’s often packed and slow. After noticing this on Saturday, we made the wise decision to call in our orders and pick them up, but we ended up waiting for our food for 20 minutes because the place was so hectic. And instead of the gum-chewing, middle-aged waitress one has come to accept and expect in diners, orders are placed at the front counter, which includes coffee and the thirst-quenching water I look forward to at a diner.
But the one thing that I noticed more than anything is that no one really seemed to care much about any of these oddities. The gracious and welcoming staff made everyone comfortable, and Mom’s Diner patrons seemed to enjoy the freedom from restaurant formality. For them, the diner’s unusual setup adds character to the place and, though the wait adds to your appetite, it is always satisfied to the fullest by Mom’s Diner’s delicious food.
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