Great “Greasy Spoons”

From that first cup of coffee to those late-night milkshakes, our favorite local diners are as comforting as ever.

There’s something about diners…especially in these recessionary times when a cup of coffee is the perfect antidote to a late night out, a rainy Sunday with the kids, or a tough week at work. Diners are dependable: they offer quick, hearty comfort food with a side of kitschy charm, including that omnipresent side of coleslaw. And so, with a nod toward nostalgia, we scoured the county for some of our area’s finest.

The smell of eggs and coffee is what hits you when you walk into Croton Colonial Diner (221 S Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson 914-271-8868; open every day 6 am to 1 am). The omelets are cooked to order and they serve java in large mugs so you’re never waiting on a refill. We also love the banana pancakes, with chunks of bananas inside. But what really makes this place worthy is the attentive staff that’s happy to substitute, suggest, or pour you another cup.

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There’s a time-warp feeling at the Dobbs Diner (434 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry 914-674-0850; open 6 am to 11 pm Monday to Thursday; 6 am to midnight Friday and Saturday; 6 am to 10 pm Sunday) with its blue booths on one side, and small counter and “coffee shop” room towards the left. Most folks swear by the salads, particularly the garden salad with fresh veggies and—surprise!—other greens besides iceberg lettuce. The homemade soups are delish. And, for the elderly (there are a lot of seniors here), there’s a wheelchair ramp in the back.

The glowing lights of the Eldorado West Diner (460 S Broadway, Tarrytown 914-332-5838; open 24/7) lure you from your driving reverie. It’s the perfect easy-on/easy-off when you’re headed to the Tappan Zee or coming off of 287. Yes, the fluorescent lighting can be a bit harsh, but with a mammoth menu that lists anything you can think of, how can you complain? Don’t leave without tasting the mile-high rainbow cake. After all, everyone knows the outrageously large cakes and pies spinning in the glass case upfront are the mark of a good diner.

Nautilus Diner (1240 Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck 914-833-1339; open 24/7) is where anyone who’s anyone goes in Larchmont, including the local rabbi and priest who run a talk show from a table in the back once a month. It’s also where a group of area LinkedIn professionals meet on the first Fridays of the month at 7:30 am for networking. It’s that schmooze-fest that makes this diner a neighborhood favorite. Of course we also love the food. Our picks: the matzo ball soup, the tuna melts, and the gigantic chocolate-chip cookies (there are also gratis sprinkle cookies at the register).

Mamaroneck Diner (405 E Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck 914-698-3564; open 24/7) is the only diner that also touts its pizza. And it’s one of the few with outdoor seating. Here, the food is filling, with a nod towards healthier fare and Mediterranean options. And while you could make half the stuff they serve at home, it always tastes 10 times better here. Must-tries: the deep-dish pizza, the burgers, the gyros, and the salads.

It’s always crowded at Mount Kisco Coach Diner (252 E Main St, Mount Kisco 914-666-5676; open 24/7) but we never mind waiting. That’s because a family of four can enjoy a decent meal (with wine or beer) and choose from a variety of entrées from wraps to half-pound burgers to salmon dinners, with confidence that the food won’t disappoint. There’s even an espresso machine that churns out lattes to rival Starbucks. Plus: if it’s good enough for Hillary Clinton, who filmed a commercial here at one of the oversized booths, then it’s good enough for us.

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Classic diner fare and low-key realism are what make Mont Olympus (1 Fort Hill Rd, Yonkers 914-961-4677; open every day 7 am to 2 am) tops in our book. It’s where you’ll find businessmen sitting one booth down from construction workers, who are elbows away from families with children. And everyone likes something different. The salads, burgers, chicken, and seafood entrées are standard favorites, but the diner also specializes in Greek dishes like lamb kebab and chicken souvlaki, and the homemade soups are so big and hearty, they’re a meal in themselves.

Any place with a choice of fries is a winner. And at the Pleasantville Diner (10 Memorial Plz, Pleasantville 914-769-8585; open 6 am to 11 pm Sunday to Thursday and 24 hours Friday and Saturday), there are three kinds: seasoned, sweet potato, and regular, all crispy on the outside, and tender inside. The piping-hot coffee flows continuously, and the smiles are plentiful, too. But the beauty of this place is location, location, location—near the Jacob Burns Film Center, it’s the ideal place to chat over steaming cups of joe before or after a movie.

Star Diner (66½ E Post Rd, White Plains 914-684-8702; open 24/7) is the real deal: a hark-back-to-simpler-times eatery with a smattering of booths and a long line of counter stools at which you can watch your meal being made. What really makes Star shine: the throw-back prices. Try $3.35 for a regular burger and $3.50 for two eggs any style, but bring cash. They don’t accept credit cards.

Larchmont freelancer Jeanne Muchnick grew up in diners in her native Baltimore and admits she’s a huge fan of the movie Diner by fellow “Bawldamorean” Barry Levinson. Her favorite late-night order? Two eggs over easy, whole-wheat toast (dry), and decaf coffee.

And don’t forget….
City Limits (White Plains, 914-686-9000; Stamford, 203-348-7000; open 8 am to 11 pm Sunday to Thursday and 7 am to midnight Friday and Saturday) is in a league of its own: a diner for the gourmand with house-smoked salmon, tuna sandwiches made with yellowfin, and desserts and breads that rival any top bakery.

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