Miss America Diner in Jersey City offers a slice of Americana
Published: Friday, June 15, 2012, 3:00 AM
Kate Kowsh/The Jersey Journal
Stepping into Jersey City’s Miss America Diner is like biting into a slice of local Americana.
North Bergen resident Christos Stamatis and his wife Georgia have owned and operated the old-fashioned diner, which sits at Culver and West Side avenues in Greenville, since 2005.
“The place was available,” he recalled, while sitting in one of the diner’s vintage-style booths. “I jumped in.”
With its vintage swivel seats and old-style classic luncheon counter, the eatery embodies the retro atmosphere that New Jersey’s diners are famous for, according to Stamatis.
The diner itself dates back more than 70 years, according to Stamatis. “I believe I’m the fifth owner here since that time,” he said. “I’m proud of that. I’m happy, it’s a historic place.”
The original building has since been demolished, and a replica was erected several feet behind the old structure in 1958, according to Stamatis, who said an addition was also added to increase seating in the 1990s.
The diner serves a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner favorites, including pancakes, Belgian waffles, homemade meatloaf, salad platters and burgers.
Stamatis said his customers enjoy the side of history they get with the home-style cooking at Miss America. He added that he receives visits from customers who live as far away as Germany, thanks to the restaurant being listed on a tourist website.
He said he also serves many staff and students from New Jersey City University, whose buildings neighbor the diner on several sides, and also sees his fair share of new customers, thanks to the recent opening of the Social Security Administration office across the street.
A native of Greece, Stamatis is no stranger to the restaurant business. He owned another well-known Bayonne eatery, Constantine’s Restaurant, for eight years, before moving on to Miss America.
Stamatis said he worked as a restaurant cook upon arriving in the United States nearly three decades ago, and saw owning his own restaurant as a natural progression.
“It’s better to work for yourself than to work for someone else,” he said.