By Sally Deering
Maybe it’s the shiny chrome and Formica counter tops that draws us in or the beauty of the chocolate layer cakes beaming through the pastry fridge window? Then again, it could be the first bite of a juicy cheeseburger, the rich dark coffee or the eggs served just right. New Jersey has some fine restaurants, there’s no doubt, but our kinship with diners is as binding as meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Riverview Diner on River Road in North Bergen has been a go-to spot on the diner directory since Tommy Mavronasios opened the place back in 1982. It became ‘all in the family’ when Mavronasios introduced his daughters, Olga, Cindy and Vivian to the business and then sent them off to college. After graduation, the girls came back to Riverview to share their time managing the restaurant with their dad.
“Dad is boss,” Cindy says on a recent afternoon as she greets and seats a constant flow of customers. “He has high standards and wants everything to be right.”
In August, Tommy Mavronasios decided to give Riverview a more modern look, updating the restaurant’s exterior to fit in with the revitalization of River Road, its new townhouses on the Hudson and shopping centers with big box department stores like Target. Step inside and Riverview’s new interior is diner cool with booths in warm tones of dark wood, burnt orange and bronze. Directly over each table, a drum light casts a warm glow in contrast to the bright light reflecting off the shiny silver chrome accents of the counter lined with orange-upholstered, swiveling stools. A big-screen TV hangs over one section of the fresh-pastry counter and divider that connects to the dining room where tables of four are nestled within rows of booths that face New York and River Road. Everything is new except one thing, Cindy says: “We left the old register.”
Riverview Diner’s menu is vast with traditional fare and a new addition of dishes for those who prefer a more health-conscious choice. The “Breakfast Anytime” menu features Old Fashioned French Toast, Belgian Waffles, Golden Brown Pancakes, Omelets, Bagels, Muffins and Cereal. For lunch, customers can choose from Overstuffed Deli Sandwiches; Char-Broiled Burgers, Pita and Croissant Sandwiches. Dinner features Steaks & Chops, Italian Favorites, Hot Open Sandwich Platters, Broiled, Fried and Stuffed Fish; Cold Salad Platters; and Greek Specialties. There’s even a Children’s Menu. And don’t forget you can have breakfast any time of day. Then there are the desserts – fresh cakes, pies and the classic Rice Pudding to dazzle your taste-buds.
Checking out reviews on the internet, I came across this one from Evelyn K. of West New York who posted on yelp.com: “I always enjoy eating at the Riverview (and) find the food and atmosphere great. Thanks Riverview for having such a pleasant place to eat. Also love the new renovations. Five stars to the Riverview.”
Jonathan L. of New York City also wrote a review on yelp.com: “Huge servings (and) very speedy service. I had a club sandwich with French fries, which I asked be ‘extra crispy’ and they totally got it right. I appreciate that. My friend got a bacon cheddar burger and they piled the bacon on, no skimping here. Also tried my friend’s chocolate milkshake and it was perfectly thick and creamy. It’s just diner food, but when done right, what else do you really need?”
Theresa E. gave the restaurant four stars on menusism.com. “I love this Diner!” Theresa E. says. “The food is very good and fast and the staff is super friendly – they remember you even when you haven’t been there for weeks and that always makes going nice.”
Tommy Mavronasios taught his daughters to keep the standards high at Riverview Diner and he also shared with them how to give personable customer service. Cindy not only greets every customer, she calls many of them by name and even wishes them a “Happy Birthday!”
“I love our regulars,” Cindy says. “We believe it’s important to be a member of the community,”
At Riverview Diner, you’ll always get that warm welcome whether it’s Tommy or one of his daughters greeting you at the door and excellent service by the wait staff.
And the coffee’s pretty great, too.
If you go:
7850 River Road
North Bergen, NJ
Hours: Fri, Sat, 24/7
Sun-Thurs, 6 am-2 am