Name: Pete's Legacy Diner
Location: 2305 Vestal Road, Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 239-6021
Price: Less than $20 for two
Our diner tour officially got underway with our Saturday morning visit to Pete's Diner in Vestal. To date, we've also reviewed the Plaza Diner and the Spot Diner (and the Apple Dumpling Cafe, which food-wise belongs in the diner category), but we are now making a more conscious effort to visit all the area diners in order to find The Best of the Bunch.
So I guess I should talk a little bit about what my expectations are. Diners are not typically known for great food, though there are exceptions. They are known more for a comfortable atmosphere with equally comfortable, homestyle victuals, snappy waitresses who provide quick and efficient service, and low prices that are perhaps about as low as it would take you to make similar food at home.
What am I looking for? First and foremost, I want good food. It doesn't have to be amazing, but it's gotta be good enough to want to come back. I really like diners that have signature or special items in particular. For some places that may consist of Greek dishes, with others it might be certain breakfast items like corned beef hash, or even desserts. Plus they have to have a reasonable cup of coffee. Again, I do not expect gourmet coffee. As long as it's not undrinkable and watery and has some flavor, I'm OK with it.
Almost as important as the food is the atmosphere. As far as I'm concerned, the more old-timey, the better. I like the diners that make you feel like you're stepping back in time into a bygone era. I do not like diners that try to achieve that vibe in a kitschy way.
Good, quick, friendly service is also important. And the more dirt-cheap the price, the more apt I'll be to return if the food is good, so price will definitely some role in my overall assessment. But these are more secondary concerns. As always, good food is of paramount importance, and since I don't demand great food, atmosphere will take on an added significance in my diner reviews.
Anyway, enough about me and more about Pete's.
Pete's Legacy Diner, to my understanding, pays homage to a certain gentleman named Pete who at one time owned and operated several different diners in the Triple Cities. They serve breakfast and lunch and are not open past 3:00 PM, so if you're going to go, you need to go early. The fare is standard diner food: eggs/bacon/sausage/toast/home fries/pancakes/waffles/omelets for breakfast and sandwiches/burgers/soups for lunch. I looked over the menu fairly extensively and didn't really notice anything too out of the ordinary.
The place is reasonably sized with a dining room partitioned into (I think) 3 sections of about 6-8 tables apiece. The place was quite busy when we went but we got a table right away. I believe that each of the 3 sections was assigned its own waitress. A very smart setup, if I may say so, with an emphasis on efficiency. Our waitress was indeed very snappy and took good care of us. I ordered the 3 egg breakfast which came with home fries and toast. I also ordered a side of bacon and a cup of coffee.
This was a decent plate of food but nothing special. Good wheat toast and the eggs were done appropriately. I did not care for the home fries. They were lacking seasoning or something. The bacon was not good. The pieces were shriveled, greasy, and flabby. I would not order it again.
Megan got the Belgian Waffle per usual. I had a bite. Pretty good. Not the caliber of the waffles she had at Apple Dumpling Cafe last weekend, but still good.
The coffee was pretty good and met my basic expectations. Not too watered down and had some flavor.
The atmosphere was nice and quaint. It's the kind of neighborly place where a lot of the people seem to know each other. Megan said it reminded her somewhat of the Port Jervis Diner in the town where she grew up. It reminded me of some places I had eaten in my younger days as well. In my mind though, it doesn't stand up to the overall atmosphere of the Spot Diner. But it's not bad in that department.
At $13, I thought Pete's was about on par with most diner prices, but I'm looking for something cheaper and better than what they had to offer.
Overall, my experience at Pete's was a nice little Saturday morning outing. Nothing more, nothing less. It met my most basic expectations but did not exceed them in any way. I would definitely go back, but there are similar places I prefer. When the smoke clears, Pete's legacy will be but a footnote in my diner adventures.