Nutley Diner

Visited Sunday, December 9, 2018
Location: 372 Centre Street, Nutley, NJ
Hours: Open 24 hours

After a morning spent out in the remote wilds of New Jersey, braving the fierce elements to locate and cut down the perfect Christmas tree (ok, it was a tree farm and they had goats and served warm cider), nothing hits the spot like a classic diner. We have been eyeing Nutley for a while and decided finally that it was time to pay a visit.



Main Dish

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

We were seated with both a menu and a separate sheet for specials (plus a dessert menu tucked on the side of the table—that should be more common at diners), and I looked first at the specials menu to see if anything was agreeable. For a while I was attached to this interesting hamburger on a grilled cheese sandwich with onions and Russian dressing, but I remembered my last experience with ground beef and decided not to risk it again. This is despite that it would’ve come with a cup of soup, and one of the day’s options was a matzah ball soup that would have been a nice nod to our extensive Jewish readership during this Hanukah season.

No, we needed to bounce back from our subpar experience last week, so I chose the never-fails Buffalo chicken wrap. It came with tomato—which I dislike in general, but I think they are especially inapt in hot dishes. I held the tomatoes and kept the lettuce, which honestly suffers from the same problem: lettuce inside a hot sandwich and cooked in the press is kinda gross.

The wrap had other problems too, including that the Buffalo sauce was a bit less spicy and more vinegary than I prefer. I also would’ve liked the blue cheese to be spread throughout, not included as a dipping sauce on the side, though I think I’ve expressed exactly the opposite opinion before so maybe that’s just the kind of mood I was in.

The bright side is that, as mentioned, the wrap was pressed, which gives the tortilla a nice crunchiness and warmth. The chicken was very nice, breaded and crispy (usually the breading in these things tends to go soggy by the time it hits the table).

Main Dish

Patty Melt

Some say Buddy is still holding those tomatoes to this day.

Now, about me. Imagine, if you will, one of the finest dishes created on this earth: a tuna melt. The toasted, buttery bread, the elegantly melted Swiss cheese cascading over the sides…imagine this. Now slap a giant burger patty on it.

This was SUPER not what I was expecting, but with a name like “patty melt” I now don’t know WHY I wasn’t expecting this. It was even served open-faced! Here’s the thing, ya’ll know I love tuna melts. God knows I love burgers. The strange and blasphemous combination of the two of them though… man, I dunno. I didn’t love it. Every part individually was amazing, the bread was so buttery. The cheese was plentiful and flavorful. The beef patty was cooked perfectly and had the charbroiled lines and everything. But all together? It felt weird. Unnatural. I mean, obviously I ate the entire thing, but I felt weird the whole time.

I’m glad I decided to give this a try, finally, after seeing it on every menu at every diner we’ve been to, but I don’t know…I think next time I’ll stick with either a burger or a tuna melt. The mixture of the two seems too waffle-y. It’s tough to rate this, because like I said, everything by itself was super good, but the dish itself was just ok. I bet Nutley Diner makes a MEAN tuna melt after eating this, stoked to try it next time.


Imagine the bamboozle of fries that look dark enough to be burnt but, in reality, are quite nicely cooked. Really threw me off guard there, Nutley Diner. They had a strong, rich taste and a pretty good crunch but needed a little salt.


I ate a sausage McGriddle earlier that day and honestly, it kept me stuffed for hours. Because I wasn’t that hungry, I decided to opt out of getting fries myself and mooch a few off of Bud’s plate. I think I ate enough to both form an opinion and annoy Buddy in my fry-stealing flurry. They were good! I almost regret not getting my own, but I definitely wouldn’t have had an appetite for dessert had I done so (and I was VERY much looking forward to dessert). They were standard diner-looking fries but had an excellent texture. The generous serving had both crunchy and a few soft fries for me to savor.


Caramel Apple Crumble

Cheesecake and brownie sundaes may be our standards, but I don’t think there’s ever been a time we didn’t enjoy an apple crumble. I propose, here and now, that it should be our default whenever a diner offers it. Dan, please text me your opinion on the matter.

This one was just killer. The pastry came warm, and it had a crunchy, crumbly top and soft, doughy bottom, all topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce. Dan pointed out the only shortcoming: one scoop of ice cream was not nearly enough in proportion, and it absolutely needed whipped cream too. (We should’ve asked for the latter, but also it should be just a standard part of the dish.)


Caramel Apple Crumble

Did you get my text, Bud? If not, it said “no.”

A while ago, Bud and I on a whim stopped into this diner and I think I was feeling sad or something (probably because of something comic book related) and decided a brownie sundae was the only thing that could make me happy. Well, it did. I’ve been riding on that memory for years now. So, obviously, when I proposed we go to Nutley Diner this week, the first (and only) thing on my mind was this sundae. I was literally vibrating with anticipation over the future hot, fudgy, whipped cream-topped delight.

Until I saw the caramel apple crumble. It was breathtaking. Despite everything I’ve ever stood for in life (eating chocolate), I told Bud we have to try it. I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t crumble any caramel apple on this day.

Fortunately, the dessert was just as wonderful as I had hoped. The apple was warm. The crumble was aplenty. The ice cream complimented the tartness of the apples perfectly. It was delicious. Was it the best apple-related dessert we’ve had on our diner blog? No. Still, though, this was quite delicious. Like Bud said, I was disappointed that there was only one scoop of ice cream, and not even a whisper of whipped cream to be found. That woulda given this dish a higher rating for sure. The crumble itself was a bit dry, so when you run out of ice cream (which we did, quickly) to scoop with the crust into your crumble-hole, it’s not quite as good, and that’s when I tapped out of finishing the plate.


If our waiter said more than ten words to us, I’d be surprised. But waitering, like love, can be accomplished just as well with silent glances and quiet innuendo, a touch of the hand, a flick of the menu. This man truly spoke my language. He was exactly there whenever we needed him, he came to the table at exactly appropriate intervals, cleared our plates just when we were ready, offered and delivered drink refills promptly, dropped the check at the end with no fuss. Dan was visibly disappointed that he was not the bantering type, but I think that reflects her insecurity and need for validation by the waitstaff. You’re better than that, Dan.



Insecure and needing validation? Not this cool cat *sunglass emoji*

Bud loved this guy. He always respects the strong and silent types. I prefer the strong and talkative types, though. I don’t want waitering to be like love, I don’t want silent glances and innuendo, and I wish you would stop flicking me with that menu you stole, Bud!

While Bud liked our guy’s approach (he didn’t even give us his name), I was a bit turned off. He conveyed his messages using the least amount of words possible, and when the skies opened up and he DID speak (“another refill?”), everything seemed like it was a secret, not to be heard by anyone outside of our safe booth zone. I saw a waitress a few tables down chatting it up with her table and I actually got jealous. Is that weird? Whatever.

Like last week, I feel like a touchscreen tablet could have replaced the service, for the amount of connection we made. Unlike last week, at least this gentleman had a pleasant (but quiet) disposition, and not immense seething anger under the surface like our waitress from Westwood.

Don’t get me wrong, this gentleman was nice and very efficient and clearly a hard worker, but it’s a good thing he works here and not at CHIT CHAT Diner!


A wrap with fries (and pickle and cole slaw) for $11.50 is right within the normal range, so I can’t quibble much with it. The dessert was around $6ish (I forgot to get a pic of the receipt and the dessert menu’s not online)—which, again, feels “alright” in the sense that it’s within the norm, though it certainly can be done cheaper. But hey: unlimited free refills! It’s been a while and I felt like coming upon an oasis in the desert. (An oasis flowing with Diet Coke.)


I feel like the price point of the menu items was right in the middle. Nothing said “WOW what a deal!” nor did anything say “What is this? Highway robbery?” (a phrase I use at least four times a week). The food is maybe a tad pricier than usual by just a BIT, but the serving sizes totally justify the cost.


I’ve always thought Nutley is a nice little town with a cute downtown, and the diner fits right in: it’s a classy and well-maintained place with modern updates without being too sleek and flashy. I loved the Christmas décor. It wasn’t a half-hearted wilted little wreath here and snowglobe there…they had lights and garlands and wrapped presents. Just amazing. Dan and I cut down our first tree today so we were in the spirit. (Our tree is very fat.)


I love our short, fat, tree baby, Bud.

This diner was just lovely. It looked exactly like how a diner should look, but in a good way. Nothing was old and worn. There were no seats with holes in them. Everything was clean and organized. Every employee looked nice and happy. And the Christmas decorations were an unexpected added treat. One thing that I found a bit out of place was their choice of music. They had a country music playlist softly wooing their customers. Though I am a newly turned fan of country music, don’t get me wrong, this diner seemed a bit more of the classic rock type.

Another thing I liked that I feel like I rarely see is that their dessert menu had pictures on it! Every diner should adopt this practice. I was actually swayed from my original dessert choice because the apple crumble looked so amazing in its picture.


Other than a mediocre Buffalo chicken wrap (very important to me), I have no complaints about Nutley Diner and, in fact, liked it very much. I wouldn’t place it in the top echelon of our diner visits so far (a class that, for me, is so far reserved for State Line, Northvale, and Eveready), but it’s definitely better than the average.


This is a great diner and I’m looking forward to going back again (gotta get that brownie). They have a nice and big menu and more desserts than I’m used to seeing at a diner. The Nutley Diner is the Cheesecake Factory of diners. There, I said it. The food is good, the place is clean, and there’s so much variety. I think that’s what I like the most about this place—no matter what you’re in the mood for, they have it. The menu is so big, though, that don’t be surprised if you spy something on the menu that looks even better and get that instead!


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