Diners are where communities across the Garden State go to celebrate milestones, form lifetime bonds and take comfort in food. Daily life at the counter or in the booth inspires sentimental recollections that reflect the state’s spirit and history.
Late-night eats fueled Wildwood’s wild rock-and-roll days. An entrepreneur traveled eight thousand miles from India and opened a diner in Shamong. From an impromptu midnight wedding in an Elizabeth lunch wagon to a Vietnam veteran sustained by a heartfelt note from a beloved Mount Holly waitress, these are true tales from the soul of New Jersey.
Author Michael C. Gabriele documents colorful stories from the Diner Capital of the World in Stories from New Jersey Diners: Monuments to Community, a paperback book which will be available on September 23rd through Arcadia Publishing.
The South Jersey diners mentioned in the book are:
- Mustache Bill’s Diner, Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island
- Shamong Diner, Shamong
- Silver Coin Diner, Hammonton
- Forked River Diner, Forked River
- Swedesboro Diner, Swedesboro
- Geets Diner, Williamstown
- Point Diner, Somers Point
- Tuckahoe Family Diner, Tuckahoe
- Surfside West Diner, Wildwood
- Vegas Diner, Wildwood
- Pink Cadillac Diner, Wildwood
- Salem Diner, Salem
The South Jersey diners written about but no longer around are:
- Midway Diner, Hammonton
- Olga’s Diner, Marlton
(to be reopened in a new building on Route 73 soon but by different owners)
- Two diners in Mount Holly
- Various diners in Vineland
- Various diners in Wildwood
- Hy Grade Diner, Pleasantville
This is Michael C. Gabriele’s fourth book on New Jersey history, all published by The History Press. The previous books are (in chronological order): The Golden Age of Bicycle Racing in New Jersey, The History of Diners in New Jersey and New Jersey Folk Revival Music: History and Tradition.
A lifelong Garden State resident, he is a 1975 graduate of Montclair State University and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and author for more than forty years. Gabriele is a member of the board of trustees for the annual New Jersey Folk Festival at Rutgers University and a member of the executive board for the Nutley Historical Society and serves on the advisory board of the Clifton Arts Center.
He writes an occasional diner blog for Jersey Bites and enjoys exploring the diverse regions of the Garden State.
Marilyn is a freelance writer covering the food and drink scene of South Jersey.