Living in New Jersey, we’ve had to say farewell to so many things that we love. And although we still appreciate living here for all that the state has to offer, who doesn’t miss some of the now defunct places that we used to go to?

For example, Action Park was a death trap — one of the most dangerous water parks in the country but we still miss it!

Those discount stores like Bradlee’s and Caldor and Two Guys certainly weren’t as chic as some of the retail stores that came later, but we still have fond memories of them.

And if you want to go way back in years, how about the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, the haunted mansion in Long Branch, (the whole pier in Long Branch, now that I mention it), the Settlers Inn in Medford, Palisades Amusement Park… the list could go on and on.

But there’s one thing that’s dying in New Jersey that is an absolute travesty. And that is the 24-hour diner.

The Bendix Diner via Google Maps
The Bendix Diner via Google Maps

After all, we are the diner state. We have the most diners of any state in the country. And whether it is the changing culinary landscape, bars closing earlier, or the economy making it difficult to stay open 24 hours, the all-night diner was a true jewel.

Yes, there still are a couple of holdouts across the state that have managed to keep their 24/7 schedules like Pompton Queen in Pompton Plains and Clinton Station Diner. But they are but a few of a dying breed.

And there’s nothing like that feeling of being in a diner in the wee hours of the morning, sometimes even leaving as the sun is coming up.

Everyone remembers sitting in a diner, trying to stay up for whatever reason. Maybe trying to sober up. Maybe eating grilled cheese and fries after a night of drinking. Maybe smoking cigarettes and crying about a boyfriend who dumped you.

Red Hawk Diner Google Maps
Red Hawk Diner Google Maps

Possibly the best meal after a movie date was a diner meal. Some of the best times in my teen and young adult life were spent at two or 3 o’clock in the morning at the Blue Swan Diner on Route 35 in Ocean Township either talking about my latest crush, complaining about my parents being too strict, or just pondering the future with my friends and wondering what it would be like to finally be grown up.

And now I know what that’s like. And one thing I know is that it would be much more fun if I still had a diner near me to go to at 2 o’clock in the morning.

NJ Diners that are open 24/7

Judi’s definitive list of New Jersey’s top 7 best diners

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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