Manny’s “New Monmouth Diner” is a Restaurant/Diner, Classic Cars Finer!
By Norman E. Hill Photos by Maralyn D. Hill
On our annual quest to Manhattan, my wife and I stopped at an excellent dining place in New Jersey. Gail Gerson-Witte, Regional Membership Director for the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), was hosting a “Wine and Dine 4 Star Reviews” dinner. We joined her and the rest of her team of reviewers as we visited Manny Konistantinidis’ “New Monmouth Diner, in Middletown, New Jersey. With a theater commitment, we had an early dinner scheduled, which couldn’t have worked out better.
I was stopped, make that stunned, outside the door, by a breathtaking classic car, a black 1942 Packard sedan. Complete with machine gun inside, it was right out of the “Godfather” movie. Once inside and talking with Manny, I discovered he owned over twenty other classic cars.
But the food and portions inside were also noteworthy. Manny’s saying is “Restaurant quality at diner prices” and his food offerings certainly lived up to it. Portions were all very surprisingly large, given his affordable price ranges.
For appetizers, we were offered family style the following, among several others: Fried calamari (prepared, partly by soaking in milk); grilled shrimp scampi; mushroom stuffed with crabmeat; and vino blanco mussels.
Many of us started with matzo ball soup and then Greek salad. My entree was baked pork chops. I especially enjoyed the soup, but the pork chops were very good too. Thanks to Sylvia, one of Gail’s reviewers, I really enjoyed a portion of her entrée, chicken pot pie. Maralyn ordered tortellini with sauteed mushrooms and pimentos. The JohnnyApple Port Chops looked good, as well as did the other various selections. I could have taken tastes, but I had enough of my own.
Alexis, President of the Kid’s Corner of Gail’s reviewers, decided she would focus on breakfast with a cheesy cheese omelette, and buttermilk pancakes. This looked as good for dinner as it would have for breakfast.
Dessert portions were as large as any I can remember. A wide assortment of cakes and cheesecakes were provided. Carrot cake is one of my favorites, and chocolate cake is up on the list also. Manny described his chocolate cheesecake as “To die for” and I would echo his description.
The diner’s menu is extensive. Besides normally expected entrees, there is a “Burger heaven” section, with a long list of burger favorites. In addition to the dessert section mentioned above, milk shakes and ice cream sundaes are also available.
Manny has a good background as a chef and wants to serve the finest. He has succeeded. What’s more, he continually checks on the customers to be sure everything is to their liking–not just our group, but everyone in the Diner.
The next time I go to Manhattan, I know I’ll endeavor to make a short side trip to Manny’s Diner. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
1887 Route 35
Middletown, NJ 07748
732 671 1316
Norman E. Hill, FSA, MAAA, Meber AICPA
Member: International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Member: Society of Professional Journalists