Name: Plaza Diner
Location: 3605 Vestal Parkway East, Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 770-0012
Cuisine: American Diner
Price: $20 for two
We are on a quest to find the Binghamton area's best diner. We have liked The Spot on Upper Front St. for years because the food is consistently good, cheap, and its location makes it among the easiest for us to get to. Lately we've decided to branch out and try some other options. I'd heard good things about the Plaza Diner on the Vestal Parkway. I have to admit, I was skeptical. I remember when the place was Hooters, after all. But we decided to give it a shot today for lunch. I certainly didn't leave hungry, but was not amazed. Ah well, the quest lives on another day...
Yup, the Plaza Diner takes over the location vacated by Hooters on the Vestal Parkway. It's a good, convenient location not far from the Binghamton University campus. The restaurant is fairly big and has two dining areas, one to the right as you walk in the entrance, and one in another room straight ahead. When we went (12:30 PM on a Sunday) the place was packed to the gills and a bit on the hectic/noisy side. A far cry from the relaxed atmosphere of the Spot Diner, I thought to myself, which manages to be busy but somehow not seem busy. So the ambiance really didn't do anything for me.
The first thing I noticed on the menu was that I couldn't order breakfast!!! 12:30 on a Sunday and I can't get breakfast? Surely you jest. Part of the reason I like diners is that I can often order breakfast whenever I want it. I've gone to The Spot for dinner before and ordered pancakes. Sometimes you have a fever, and the only prescription is more pancakes, you know? Plus, breakfast tends to be cheaper, and if you haven't noticed, I've been eating out a lot lately. Gotta start saving those pennies where I can. Oh well. I ordered the reuben sandwich which came with fries and a bowl of soup. I opted for the French Onion.
This was some pretty good French Onion soup. Cheese was appropriately gooey and the broth was tasty. I have to think it would be pretty tough to screw up French Onion and the Plaza Diner certainly didn't.
The reuben came out shortly thereafter. This thing was massive!
Had to eat this with a fork and knife, it was that difficult to maneuver. Fries were good but the reuben was kind of mediocre. Too much sauerkraut resulted in the sandwich being so soggy I couldn't even pick it up. The pastrami was a little on the tough side. The sauerkraut was pretty good though, had a nice apple-ish sweetness to it. But at the end of the meal my exact reaction was "eh." Average diner fare, nothing more, nothing less.
I don't really know if I can recommend the Plaza Diner or not. If you're in the area and in the mood for diner food, I guess I'd recommend it instead of Friendly's or IHOP. Otherwise, I wasn't overly impressed. I'd go again, but am not in a rush to do so. Perhaps next time I'll go for breakfast. I guess that means I'm going to have to go early. *sigh*