The Weber Colonial Diner in Audubon, NJ has been closed due to a fire for so long that I couldn’t even find the date of the fire when I googled for it, so I was very excited to see it reopen last week as The Legacy Diner Restaurant. All week long I have driven past it to and from work and the parking lot has been jammed full of cars, so I decided to stop by for a Saturday morning breakfast.
While the layout of the restaurant has not changed, the exterior and interior have been totally remodeled and the parking lot, which snakes its way behind the diner, has been repaved. Stepping inside, the diner has that brand new look and feel, decorated in soft colors like terra cotta and moss green. The chandeliers above each booth give the place a nice touch of art deco.
Since they were very busy, I decided to saunter over to a small counter which seats about 12 people. There were only a couple of stools open. Those already seated were all either waiting for their food or their check. The guy next to me was huffing and puffing and after a few minutes, he turned to me and said, “Plan to be here a long time. It took 45 minutes for me to get my food and I can‘t get my check!” I looked at the other patrons and a guy a few seats down said that he had been waiting longer than that and still didn’t get his creamed chipped beef on toast. I was beginning to feel a little anxious.
As I watched the servers work the room, it became obvious that they all seemed flustered and annoyed. Finally, an older gentleman came up to me and the guy to my right and offered to get us coffee. He poured the coffee and then the guy to my left spoke to him by name, telling him that the guy to his left had been waiting over 45 minutes for his meal. The man flew into the back and returned saying the food was coming. Two minutes later, the food arrived and the guy to my right got up and left. The waitress came over with more coffee and apologized for the wait. Apparently, the computer system was not working yet and there were only three people in the kitchen.
Now I’ve worked in restaurants before and I understand that problems can occur, especially when a restaurant first opens. I came in expecting that there might be some kinks they would need to work out. I was hoping that the problems were all with the computers being down and not with the food. I ordered the number two on the breakfast menu: Two eggs over easy, with home fries, scrapple, and wheat toast, dry. The breakfast specials also include juice and coffee.
I have to admit that the food I saw coming out of the kitchen looked delicious. The creamed chipped beef on toast looked creamy, was chock-full of chipped beef, and was an over-generous portion. The guy woofed it down and I think it was half because it was delicious and half because he waited so long. The eggs benedict looked equally tasty with a thick yellow hollandaise sauce on top. I kept looking back at the gal behind me who ordered it and she ate every last drop. I was beginning to feel less anxious.
Approximately five minutes after ordering, to my delight, my meal arrived. The waitress set it down and smiled, claiming “You’re a lucky guy today. I saw it in the window and didn’t even ask. I just took it.” I love a waitress with a little guts. I’ve been in similar situations when I was a server and I know that slow food impacts your tips negatively.
I looked at my plate. The eggs looked perfectly cooked. The scrapple was also perfectly cooked, crisp but not greasy. Scrapple is a staple in South Jersey, yet so many diners over cook it, making it greasy and giving it a way-too thick coating. The home fries could have been a little more crispy for my tastes but they were not bad. The best part was, even though she was frazzled, she remembered that my toast was dry.
My meal tasted every bit as good as it looked. The guy next to me also seemed to enjoy his meal. I heard him chatting with the others, explaining that this was the third time he had been eating here and all of his meals were excellent. He was hoping that the service would improve because he liked the food so much. And by service, I am sure he meant the wait time as our waitress, although frustrated, was friendly and attentive.
I got my check and was pleasantly surprised by the price. The menu stated $6.75 for my meal but the total was $5.65 with tax. They must have been running a grand-opening special, although I was unaware of any. Actually, $6.75 for all that food was still a great price. I paid the bill and left the gal three bucks.
Will I be back? You bet I will. The Legacy has the potential of becoming a great South Jersey diner. I am betting that they will be able to work out the kinks once their computer is up and running. But times are hard and people aren’t eating out as often as they use to. That makes eating out, even at a diner, a luxury. If they don’t work out the kinks soon, there are too many other good diners to go to where you won’t have to wait 45 minutes for a meal.