Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rolando's Diner

Name: Rolando's Diner
Location: 140 Court St., Binghamton, NY 13901
Phone: (607) 723-9058
Cuisine: Diner
Price: Dirt cheap. Less than $15 for two.

I feel like I'm doing this a lot lately, but sorry, readers, for taking so long between reviews. Life gets in the way sometimes, but fortunately we haven't stopped trying new places in and around the Binghamton area and you can expect some new reviews over the next few days.

Today we finally made it down to Rolando's Diner, a mainstay in Downtown Binghamton since 1971 that is well known for its simple charm and low prices. As diner fans, we were hopeful that Rolando's could deliver a quality breakfast, and off we went to check it out.

Rolando's is located on Court St. in a nice, central location. There's plenty of metered parking located out front and we had no trouble finding a spot. The inside of the restaurant features the classic diner layout of some booths lining both sides of the restaurant with a coffee counter along the left side toward the back. I'd imagine the place has not changed much since it opened forty years ago. Which, in my opinion, is not a bad thing.

When we arrived around 11:15 I was hopeful that I could still order breakfast. I was a little discouraged to find that each table had only lunch menus, but when a waitress came by she asked us if we wanted breakfast menus. Big win. A quick glance at the menu showed the usual wide variety of eggs, bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, omelets, and pancakes in various combinations. We each ordered a cup of coffee, and Megan ordered two eggs with bacon and homefries with toast ($4). I decided to be an absolute glutton and got three pancakes, two eggs over-easy, home fries, sausage, and coffee included for $6.15. A ridiculously good value, I thought, and it would give me a chance to try out the bulk of the breakfast menu at a low price. Plus, I was really hungry. A win-win situation if there ever was one.

Service was really quick and no-nonsense; our breakfasts arrived in less than 10 minutes. And sure enough, both of us were really pleased with what we got. Megan is tough to please in the bacon department, but it was exactly how she wanted it here. The only complaint she had was that the toast was a little crispier than she would've liked, but overall, she said she liked Rolando's about as much as Danny's Diner (one of her favorite area diners).

As for me, I had no complaints with my breakfast at all. It was exactly what I wanted. The pancakes were golden, fluffy, and most importantly, tasty. The syrup served with the pancakes was the crappy corn syrup variety, but hey, for the price, I'm not expecting real maple. The eggs were cooked exactly to order, the sausage was really tasty, and the home fries were among the best I've had in the area.

If there's one disappointing thing about Rolando's, it's that we didn't visit sooner. Its combination of low-key charm, dirt-cheap prices, huge portions, and tasty food really won me over. This is one of the best diners in Binghamton, and if you are a fan of diner fare in general, Rolando's is pretty much a must-visit.

Grade: A-

Rolando's Diner on Urbanspoon


  1. Coincidentally, we went to Rolando's this morning. Here's the write-up.

    We did not share your love of the pancakes (thick, bland, floury), but the home fries were above avg and we'd certainly go back. If you know where to get good corned beef hash, let me know. Everyone around here serves the same canned goop (which I like OK, but ...).


  2. Rex, I didn't realize you guys were doing the diner tour as well! Looks like you only have a few to go, and it appears we're largely in agreement thus far. If you and Sandy have not tried the breakfast up at the Apple Dumpling Cafe by the airport, I'd certainly recommend checking it out. Not a diner, per se, but in the same vein.

    Funny, I did not find Rolando's pancakes to be thick, nor floury. Bland? Maybe a little. I unfortunately have nothing to contribute to your search for legitimate hash. (That sounds a little illicit.)

    To follow up on one of your previous comments...I've been back to China Lake five or more times since my initial visit and have found that you're absolutely correct...easily the best Chinese in town as long as you stick to the "authentic" menu. The Shrimp w/Black Bean Sauce was a top-notch recommendation.



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