City Diner Offers Tasty Dishes in a Hip Décor with Free Wi-Fi: 24/7
By Sally Deering
A short walk from Exchange Place on the Jersey City Waterfront, City Diner (formerly the Flamingo) offers tasty dishes in a hip décor, key ingredients for success according to its owners Nicholas, “Lefty” and Mike Giakoumatos. The three brothers from Queens, New York, bought the old Flamingo and in three months turned it into a trendy corner bistro. With its contemporary décor, free Wi-Fi and a bar that looks right out of a James Bond film – the only thing ‘diner-esque’ about City Diner is its hours — open 24/7 – and that it serves breakfast all day.
City Diner has its regulars who come from every walk of life, Lefty Giakoumatos says. Nine-to-fivers who work in downtown Jersey City, families, local residents and folks heading to a game in Manhattan and looking for a pre-game dinner keep things hopping and the booths filled. Even at 3 am, the place can be hopping with customers. Mike says just the other night a group of teenagers having a pajama party and clad in their PJs came in for milk shakes.
City Diner’s menu offers traditional diner dishes but with a flair like Firecracker Meatloaf and the Jersey Boys Burger. Several Breakfast Wraps are named after local towns, too, which brings a little neighborhood flavor to downtown Jersey City’s Wall Street vibe.
The menu features Morning Favorites, All Day Breakfast, Appetizers, Salads, Premium Sandwiches, Burgers, Dinner Entrees, Desserts, a Kids’ Menu, and Drinks & Shakes. If you try the Morning Breakfast, you can choose from Eggs Benedict, Jersey Benedict (Taylor Ham), Florentine Eggs Benedict, Corned Beef Hash & Eggs, Huevos Rancheros, Chicken & Waffle, Steak and Eggs, and Loxed & Loaded. ($8.50-$16.95)
The All Day Breakfast includes Specialty Omelettes like the Harvest Market, Little Italy (tomato & Portobello mushroom), Athenian (spinach and feta), Denver, California, Carnegie (pastrami or corned beef & Swiss) and the Super Nova Omelette (smoked lox, onions and capers). ($7.95-$11.95) You can also try the City Omelette where you choose whatever ingredients you like; and Energy Omelettes like the Veggie Power, Powerhouse (turkey, spinach, avocado and Swiss); the Life Omelette (asparagus, grape tomato, broccoli, mushroom and mozzarella), and the Chicken Protein Omelette. ($8.95-$11.95)
Other breakfast items are the Breakfast Wraps & Sandwiches like the Croque Madam Croissant (ham, poached egg and hollandaise sauce served on a toasted croissant), Nutella Berry Croissant
(chocolate-hazelnut spread, cream cheese and sliced strawberries served on a toasted croissant), Ranchito Breakfast Burrito (scrambled eggs, Monterey jack cheddar, sour cream, black beans and pico de gallo) 5-Alarm Wrap (scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, smoky hot sauce, jalapeño and pepperjack cheese), the Jersey City Wrap (scrambled eggs, Taylor ham and American cheese), the Bayonne Wrap (scrambled eggs with bacon, avocado and spinach), and the Hoboken Wrap (scrambled egg whites and grilled chicken). ($5.95-$8.95)
Premium Sandwiches include the Blackened Chicken & Avocado Wrap, Mikey’s Reuben, Firecracker Meatloaf, Southern BBQ Pulled Pork, California Cobb Wrap, Philly Cheesesteak, Classic BLT, Blackened Salmon & Avocado BLT, Turkey Avocado BLT, Grecian Gyro, and the Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad Wrap. ($8.50-$14.95)
Dinner entrees include Calamari & Shrimp, Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Pan Seared Salmon, Fried Chicken Basket, Jumbo Fried Shrimp Basket, Lobster Ravioli, Grown Up Mac N’ Cheese (cavatappi, sharp cheddar and blue cheese), Cowboy Steak (16 oz. bone-in ribeye), Charbroiled Porterhouse Pork Chop, and Chicken Milanese. ($14.95-$29.95)
“Nikos comes up with the ideas for the dishes,” Mike says, crediting his oldest brother with the menu. “He loves to put twists on traditional dishes, like our meatballs. These are not your grandma’s meatballs. We make beef and pork meatballs stuffed with mac & cheese and wrapped in bacon.”
City Diner makes the best wings in Jersey City because they make them from scratch and with fresh, high-quality ingredients, Nicholas says. And the burgers are amazing, too, Mike adds, like the Jersey Boys Burger served with Taylor Ham, egg and cheese. It’s a local favorite. City Diner regular Alex Ballas visiting from Philadelphia says the burgers are terrific and so is the French Onion Soup and Firecracker Meatloaf.
Another unique aspect of City Diner is that it offers two Happy Hours daily, one in the afternoon from 4-7 pm; the other late night at 11 pm. The bar menu features Craft, imported and domestic beers, and sexy cocktails, of course.
“We’re dedicated to providing great customer service and quality food in a positive, home-spun atmosphere,” Nicholas says. “We wanted wanted to give Jersey City what it needed: a great 24-hour diner.”
If you go:
31 Montgomery St, JC