Chuck Wagon Diner – Princetown, NY
If you go west from my apartment on route 20, there isn’t much before you reach I-88 in Duanesburg. There is a curious little diner on the left about three miles before I-88 called the Chuck Wagon Diner. It’s a 50’s diner car parked in the middle of an open field. I noticed it back in February, and have been itching to stop in to check it out.
When you read the paper mats at the table, which is loaded with advertisements for businesses that are super close by, you can get caught up on the history of the diner. It’s really funny that it used to be a KFC back in the day.
Each of the tables has a fun little jukebox that you can feed a coin and then hear a song. The unit that plays the records is just about in the center of the restaurant. It’s a cute touch that you just don’t see much any more. They told us they just had the main unit repaired, which goes to show how important this little touch is to the experience.
That morning, I ordered steak and scrambled eggs ($10), but there was a bit of a hiccup with regards to actually getting this order filled. At first, after a reasonable amount of time to wait, the waitress came from the kitchen and explained that the steak that was for me was going to take a while because it was too thick. After a few more minutes, a different lady came from the kitchen and asked me to order something else because they had run out of defrosted steaks and they weren’t comfortable cooking a frozen one for me. I admired the honesty, so I went with the ham steak with scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast. Everything except the ham steaks came out first, and then a moment later, the ham steaks came out.
The price of this was significantly lower than the steak and eggs. I believe it was $6.50. The eggs and hash browns really weren’t anything special, but the toast was excellent. They very lightly butter it after toasting, and that combination of cinnamon and raisin and toast with the butter is brilliant. The ham steaks were pretty much what you can buy in the supermarket, but they cook them on the flat top just to warm them through and get some color on them. I enjoyed it.
As I was eating, the cook came from the kitchen and explained that he could have started a frozen steak but he “didn’t want to put his name on that.” Again, I admire the honesty and the fact that they have standards; many diners would just send out whatever they could to fill the order and hope the customer doesn’t notice something isn’t right.
I couldn’t believe how little we spent on breakfast that morning. It was about $13, and Cassie had a sizeable portion of sausage gravy with biscuits.
Behind the counter, they have an old school soda station, and I had to ask if it worked. Sadly, it didn’t, but, even if it did, I’m sure getting something like that serviced or finding the right parts for it would be way more effort than it’s worth.
It’s definitely a nice place with some amicable people, average food, and great prices.