10 Best North Jersey Diners

by Peter Candia
north jersey diners

New Jersey is the diner capital of the world. You can add that to the list of things we are the best at, along with bagels and pizza. You can hardly drive more than 10 minutes anywhere within the state without seeing a classic Jersey diner. Bright lights, a ton of stainless steel and a neon sign that reads “Open 24 hours” (though that tends to be a lie these days). Diners are a place to go when you don’t know what you want. Breakfast food, Greek specialties, full dinners, burgers—you name it, and a NJ diner usually has you covered. 

In North Jersey, the concentration of diners increases tenfold. Every other block is seemingly fitted with its own diner and they all have their regulars for good reason. We compiled a list of some of the most iconic spots to make it easier for you. These are 10 of the best diners in North Jersey.

Tops Diner – East Newark, NJ

“Surprise!” said no one. Tops Diner is a crucial part of the network of NJ diners. It is large, serves thousands of people a day and everything, yes, everything, is good. Since the 1920s, Tops has been serving the greater Newark area with diner classics, but it was in the 70s when George Golemis bought the spot and changed it for good. It instantly became one of the country’s best diners. In 2020, Tops was torn down and rebuilt to be bigger and better than it ever was—a challenge in itself. Of course, it was a massive success and Tops Diner is beloved by thousands to this day. Fried chicken, stacked breakfast platters, omelets and plenty of desserts are just some of what makes Tops so great. 


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Chit Chat Diner – Hackensack and West Orange, NJ

Chit Chat Diner is easily one of the go-to spots in North Jersey. The quirky diner, complete with whimsical colors and an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque design, is a favorite amongst New Jerseyans for its wide array of cultural foods. From tacos and Half chickens to Cuban burgers and lomo saltado, there isn’t much you won’t find at Chit Chat Diner. Bonus points: The Hackensack location is open 24 hours. 

Summit Diner – Summit, NJ

When you think of the word diner, an image quite similar to Summit Diner probably comes to mind. Its picture should accompany the dictionary definition, to be honest. This is your classic, small-town, counter-service diner and its design has hardly changed in all of the years it’s been open. Red-backed booths, and wood detailing decorate the inside, while the outside is complete with a green and white facade and a shiny metal roof. The food is as classic as it gets—bringing pancakes, sandwiches and comforting dinners to the table. As far as the atmosphere goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a diner with a better one. 


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Tick Tock Diner – Clifton, NJ

Located right off of Route 3 in Clifton, NJ, Tick Tock has always been a popular diner and while it certainly didn’t need the added fame, its appearance on a 2008 episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives certainly didn’t hurt. Open since 1948, the diner has seen one major renovation in that time, but has kept its art-deco design close to heart. Stop into the red-lit diner—glowing with neon—for pancakes, waffles, burgers and chops—you won’t be disappointed.   


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Allwood Diner – Clifton, NJ

I like to play a game at Allwood Diner, where I order something different each time. I have yet to be disappointed. That’s because everything Allwood dishes out is good—really good. From obvious choices like disco fries and Taylor Ham, egg and cheese to Greek specialties like baked moussaka and gyro platters, Allwood puts their all into everything. And though i prefer to try something new each time I go, when it comes to dessert, there’s only one option: The cheesecake. 


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Arlington Diner – North Arlington, NJ

A large sign, with an arrow pointing down, reads “World Famous Cheesecake.” If the sign was meant to make me crave cheesecake every time I drive past, then mission accomplished. I can hardly drive my car within a mile of Arlington Diner without stopping in for a slice. And while it’s true that Arlington Diner is most famous for their legendary cheesecake, the rest of the menu is far from disappointing. You’ll find all of the diner classics here and then some—burgers, thick-cut onions rings and open-faced sandwiches await. Obviously, dessert is a must. 


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Jackson Hole – Englewood, NJ

If you have the displeasure of being a New York Mets fan like myself, then you might be familiar with Jackson Hole in Flushing, Queens—the over-the-top diner is hard to miss. But, did you know there is another Jackson Hole right here in Englewood, NJ? The menu ranges from omelets to steak platters, but the burgers are where it’s at. The 7-ounce patties are griddled to temperature and served a variety of ways. 

The Colonial Diner – Lyndhurst, NJ

Another diner with a classic facade sits on Orient Way in Lyndhurst, NJ. At night, the old-school building shines with neon red script, reading the diner’s name. Inside you’ll find leather booths and swiveling stools at a retro counter. If you are looking for a true time portal into the past, then The Colonial Diner is your place. 


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Bendix Diner – Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

The Bendix Diner is probably the most uniquely-placed diners in the Garden State. The cable car diner is nestled in between Route 17 North and South—the highway split in two around it. This legendary diner has been seen in plenty of television and film, including “The Many Saints of Newark.” This roadside diner has become a hub for truck drivers passing through, locals and anyone who might be drawn to the allure of the diner’s impeccable and timeless design. The food is up to par, too. Crinkle-cut fries, wraps, club sandwiches and plenty of filling breakfast options can be enjoyed at Bendix Diner.  


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Broadway Diner – Bayonne and Summit, NJ

Broadway Diner claims that they have the World’s best pancakes and want to know what? They might be right. The buttermilk pancakes come golden brown and stacked high, with a variety of toppings and fillings available. Beyond pancakes, Broadway Diner boasts French toast, Black Angus burgers and banana splits. The original is in Bayonne, with an additional Bayonne spot deemed “The Broadway Bistro & Diner” and a Summit, NJ location. 


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About the Author/s

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Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

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Mike July 26, 2023 - 8:03 am

I remover not to click on this digest since you don’t know anything about South Jersey whicybtw is not the Shore

Jimmy Golden July 31, 2023 - 7:18 pm

Andro’s Diner in Newark should be on this list, without a doubt!!!

Brian H. August 1, 2023 - 7:33 am

How did you not include the Tropicana Diner in Elizabeth, NJ?

Bill Snyder August 18, 2023 - 9:31 am

Ever been to South jersey? The digest new jersey digest and it includes only north jersey.

Maureen F. October 31, 2023 - 11:53 pm

The TicToc Diner in Clifton is awful. Last Saturday was a disaster with the Chicken Fingers. Bad meat and bland batter. Eggs Benidict so so, Fish and Chips tastless. Don’t know what happened but service and food went totally down hill from my last visit mid Summer. Won’t be back ever.


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