By Sally Deering
New Jerseyans know diners like they know Turnpike exits. They even know the best diners at Turnpike exits. There’s something about a diner’s home-cooked fare and no frills atmosphere that conjures up images of Edward Hopper paintings and memories of 3 am conversations over coffee and pie.
The diner mystique even has a TV following with viewers tuning in to the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” where host Guy Fieri travels the U.S. eating blue plate specials from the menus of greasy spoons. A while back, one of the stops on Fieri’s show was the Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory on Jersey Avenue in Jersey City across from the Jersey City Medical Center. But unlike many of the diners featured on the show, the Brownstone is more upscale and the menu features entrees you’d likely find in New York and at higher prices.
The Brownstone offers diner fare, the eggs, burgers and sandwiches are always on the menu, but it’s definitely more than a diner. It’s a nice, easy-going restaurant that serves great food from traditional recipes that go back to when owners Zoe and Bobby Bournias were kids learning the restaurant business from their parents Irene and Peter who owned M&A diner back in the 1960s and ’70s. They converted it to the Newport Pancake House in the 1980s and when their father Pete was going to sell the business in 2004, Zoe and Bobby decided to leave their careers and run the business with their dad. They renovated and expanded and in 2005 re-named the eatery the Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory, transforming it from a plain-and-simple diner to a family restaurant with a menu that goes far beyond blue plate specials. Continue reading The Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory in Jersey City Takes that Old Diner Fare and Makes it New Again!