Kearny, NJ 07032
- Cost: $
- Credit Cards: All Major
- Alcohol: Wine/Beer
- Parking: Private Lot
- Take Out: Yes
October 7, 2016
A bustling old school diner true to its name, the Truck Stop Diner is often filled with drivers from the truck depots that dot the Jersey swamplands.
With an aluminum-clad interior built in the early 1940s by Harrison, NJ’s Kullman Car Company, the Arena Diner first opened across from the old Madison Square Garden on the corner of 50th Street and 8th Avenue in New York City. In 1948, the diner was moved to its current location in far south Kearny, next to the Hackensack River Draw Bridge just off Turnpike Exit 15E (Route 1/9 – Business). Since 1989, it has been called the Truck Stop and operated by the Kolokithas family. The entire diner is now enclosed in a red brick exterior. Inside, the narrow diner car shows its age – some of the black and white-lettered menus behind glass over the counter, like the one advertising “franks and beans,” look like they haven’t been touched in decades. No one seems to mind. The stools and booths are all still here, usually occupied, and the kitchen pushes a heck of a lot of food over the pass through.
I visited on a rainy Friday at lunchtime, squeezing my minivan between two 18-wheeler cabs. The servers know their regulars and greet everyone who comes through the door. My grilled cheese and bacon with a side of fries arrived in front of me within three minutes of ordering.
The Truck Stop’s menu features all the Jersey diner standards – eggs, pancakes, salads, burgers, sandwiches, soups, steaks, chops, seafood, desserts – including Jersey favorites like an Italian hot dog and french fries with brown gravy (i.e. disco fries). I’m not sure why the “Montana Sliced Steak” comes with peppers, onions and melted provolone – sounds like a cheesesteak – but, hey, it’s a diner. Throw in the available beer and wine, and you’ve got a full service establishment. It’s not a 24-hour diner, though. The Truck Stop is open 5 am – 10 weekdays, and 6 am – 3 pm Saturday.
For solid diner fare served with a smile in an original classic dining car, pull off the Turnpike and up to the Truck Stop.