Tu-Sa, 7 AM - 2 AM; Su-M, 7 AM - 1 AM
(609) 403-6370 Website Google Maps
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
My cue to stop-in was the full parking lot at lunch time. The Capitol Restaurant (on the site of the old Parkside Diner) reopened a few months ago after being closed for renovations seemingly forever. I’d never seen it very busy: but now evidence of popularity was plain to see. What’s going on? I had to know!
It didn’t take long to figure out: entering the busy front dining room, I was confronted by a signboard posting today’s lunch specials. This day, on a Tuesday, it was a series of deli sandwiches served with soup, veg/fries, and dessert. For about the price you’d expect to pay for the sandwich alone. Now tracking the website, it seems there are always lunch specials, though they vary somewhat from day to day.
On this day, standard soups included Chicken Pasta, Yankee Bean, or Seafood Bisque. But I was in the mood for matzoh ball soup (for an extra $2), a corned-beef reuben with double cole-slaw instead of the default fries and coleslaw, and a slice of carrot cake. $10.95 including the up-charge (August 2016, $8.95 with a “standard” soup).
The matzoh ball was more than adequate… the reuben arrived on first class Jewish rye, and included a tasty full-sour pickle. The cole slaw was home made and not too sweet and not too mayonnaisey. The corned beef was spicy and lean, and sandwich was large: not Carnegie Deli large, but big enough (more than I could eat after the soup). I ended boxing-up half the sandwich and cole slaw, and the slice of cake, which altogether provided an entire second meal.
The slice of cake wasn’t enormous, but I’m of an age where I don’t need the empty calories. The carrot cake itself was pretty good: not as dense as you’d get from a first class bakery, while the icing was mostly butter-creme with only a hint of sour cream. Still, nicely spiced, fresh, and moist: better than I expected. You have a choice of fruit pies or pretty much all of the layer cakes in the somewhat gaudy dessert case you see by the entrance (excepting cheese cake, which I expect is an up-charge, though not listed as such).
But, overall, a bargain.
Looking beyond the specials, this is a classic NJ diner with a full menu. In addition to the lunch specials, there are “early bird” specials. Opening early, staying open late. Unusually, a full bar (24 different beers on tap, if the signs are to be believed). Sister restaurant to the Ewing Diner on Parkway, where the baking is done.
I also have to commend the service. The manager circulated and actually seemed interested in getting feedback. My server was delightful: a charming millennial waitress who was fast, cheerful, and competent. Overall, a nice addition to the local diner scene.